A little while back I did a Q&A with the beaut Neelam Gill, which was pretty exciting – this girl be killing it. The Coventry-born 19-year-old has already made an epic move in her career when she became Burberry’s first ever Indian model, joining names such as Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss. We talk about her most memorable runway show thus far, favourite Tupac lyrics and not being afraid of dancing for a dare.
Who is the most inspiring person you’ve met throughout your career so far and why?
Christopher Bailey. He was the first person to believe in me and without his continual support I genuinely believe none of this would have been possible!
You have completed your A-levels and I’ve heard you’re also interested in fashion from the journalism perspective. Is a degree something you’d do in the future?
Possibly! During school, my dream was to work for a fashion magazine. But now I have a few other avenues I want to branch into when I’m done with modelling – for example acting and opening my own businesses.
You’re the first South Asian face Burberry has had. Has it been a struggle to get here?
I wouldn’t say I have struggled being a South Asian in the fashion world; I feel like the industry has welcomed me with open arms. Various photographers, designers and casting directors always say how the industry has needed an Indian model for years. But I do deal with racism on a daily basis from the world in general, which is sad considering the day and age we live in. However, I try and raise awareness about it on my Twitter and Instagram because I can’t turn a blind eye to discrimination and racism.
Bravo girl. Can you share some tips on how you keep yourself looking so healthy and fit?
Working out is difficult when I’m busy shooting all week, especially when I have to travel! But I try to exercise three times a week and I have personal trainers wherever I am. When I’m in London I train with Russell Bateman who runs The SBC and when I go back to Coventry I have a kickboxing instructor called Pindi Madahar – they both help me to stay in shape!
What’s your favourite album of all time and why?
2Pac – All Eyez On Me.
Who’s your favourite artist at the moment?
Favourite lyric of all time?
‘First off, fuck your bitch and the clique you claim, Westside when we ride come equipped with game, you claim to be a player but I fucked your wife.’
Bold choice! Favourite model of all time?
Got any stories to share with us from behind the scenes of a fashion show?
I knew I’d got the Burberry show three months before the actual show, so on the day I was super excited and couldn’t wait to get on the runway because I just didn’t believe it was real! I still remember how I felt in that exact moment. When I got off the runway everyone was celebrating backstage and I took a picture with Christopher then gave him a hug and I felt so sad because I’d been waiting for that day for months, and it was over so quickly. But Christopher told me not to be sad and that it was only the beginning – and he was right, so that is probably my favourite backstage memory compared to the hectic ones!
What’s your favourite thing about yourself?
Tell us of your most embarrassing moment to date…
I never really get embarrassed because in my friendship group I’m the ’embarrassing’ one that makes everyone else feel awkward! I will always complete a dare and my friends always tell me to do stupid stuff in public like dance in the middle of Piccadilly Circus or go up to a stranger and pretend we went to school together.
LOL. What’s been your favourite shoot so far and why?
It’s so hard to choose one because I genuinely love my job! Definitely the Burberry campaign because everyone there is family, and working with Mario Testino is always fun. I also loved shooting with Carine Roitfeld in New York because she is one of my fashion icons and I love the creativity behind her shoots! Plus we were dancing on set to YG featuring Drake – ‘Who Do You Love’, which is always cool [laughs].
Where do you hope to be next year?
I want to continue making history, making my loved ones proud and making enough money to buy my parents a huge house, because they deserve it all.