How Singapore Model Diya Prabhakar Is Breaking Barriers In The Fashion Industry
Diya Prabhakar, the 20-year-old curly-haired Singaporean beauty has quickly become a popular name in the international fashion circuit
Meet Diya Prabhakar. The 20-year-old Singaporean model who has quickly become a popular name in the international fashion circuit.
She was first noticed last year when she walked for acclaimed Nepalese-American fashion designer, Prabal Gurung, at his spring-summer 2019 runway at New York Fashion Week. Given her talent, the famous designer also cast Prabhakar in his autumn-winter 2018 ad campaign. Here, she shared the stage with four other fresh faces from China, Nepal, South Korea, and Thailand.
And aside from walking for Prabal Gurung, she also walked for Christian Siriano’s spring-summer 2019 show during Paris Fashion Week; marking a significant milestone for a budding, new model.
Additionally, the Singapore-based model also modelled for edgy designers like Marine Serre and Manish Arora in Paris. And, walked the spring-summer 2019 show for design houses such as Supima and Custo.
It's safe to say Prabhakar's story seems like that of an overnight sensation. But, in fact, it has taken her four years to establish a solid portfolio.
Discovery Of A Rising Star: Diya Prabhakar
Prabhakar's rise to international fame is a notable achievement. But it took a while before she reached here, especially since she was first discovered at 14 (in 2014), when she was working as a part-time model in 2014.
“I was in India for my year-end school holidays and went to see a fashion show. Somebody spotted me there and asked if I was interested in walking for a show. I jumped at this offer, and from the first time I walked the ramp, I just knew this is what I’d always wanted to do,” says Singapore-based Prabhakar in an interview with Femina India.
Being cast as the face of a bridal campaign by Anita Dongre in 2015 also helped put her on the map. It was no easy feat, considering that she was just a teenager.
She was later scouted to join in the popular The New Paper New Face modelling competition. And, was lauded as one of the fresh faces to watch since winning it in 2014. After the victory, Prabhakar leveraged the opportunity to establish her modelling career.
That experience further solidified her interest in the fashion industry, as she took breaks in between school and exams to participate in fashion weeks in India, as well as appeared across magazines like Grazia China, Marie Claire UK and Vogue India.
Prabhakar seriously considered doing this full-time only after finishing her A-levels, working with Anima Creative Management agency in India, which handles all her professional commitments.
After spending the past four years gradually accumulating modelling accolades under her belt, designers and publications from across Singapore, India, and London are beginning to recognise her talent.
After finishing school last year, Prabhakar has finally relocated to London (from Singapore) to pursue her modelling career.
The Future Is Bright For Diya Prabhakar
Having carved a niche for herself already, Prabhakar's future looks ever-so-bright.
Slowing gaining an international appeal, she's been featured in magazines such as Tank, Grazia China, Marie Claire UK, and Singapore’s very own Harper’s BAZAAR.
Additionally, her other accomplishments to date include being represented by some of the biggest international modelling agencies. This including Storm in London and The Industry Model Management in New York.
To top it all, walking the runway in New York for Bibhu Mohapatra, and her more recent showings at Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung‘s spring/summer 2019 shows, are signs of a blossoming modelling career to come.
As she continues to build her modelling legacy, Prabhakar reveals the name that inspire her. And supermodel Gisele Bundchen's name appears on top.
“One thing I really want is to have a family and kids, and time to spend with them. I love Gisele because not only is she a top model, but she is able to balance both family and work. That is what I aspire to,” she said in an interview with South China Morning Post.
Breaking Boundaries With Inclusivity
She is also looking to break boundaries and introduce diversity to runways and magazines.
“I would love to make a mark in fashion in Milan, Paris, New York or London, and enjoy the ride along the way,” said Prabhakar. This, she said two years ago in the November 2016 issue of Harpers Bazaar Singapore.
“The industry is slowly changing and is becoming more accepting of different colours, skin tones and models from different parts of the world,” she added in her interview with South China Morning Post.
She acknowledges the existing barriers in the industry, especially as casting a woman of colour can feel like a token gesture. “Even if a designer likes more than one girl [of colour], there is only one spot [on the campaign],” she says.
“At this point in time, I don’t really have a choice, but I wish I could stand up and say this is not fair. I do appreciate that things are changing,” adds Prabhakar.
The opportunity to work with Prabal Gurung represents a significant step forward. That's because he is an outspoken voice for diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry.
“It is so inspiring to see someone who is so successful have an opinion and a voice for the people,” she says. “When I grow up, I want to have a voice that people will want to listen to.”
Watch this video to see her views on education for all.