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Lavanya Bahuguna


Indian Supermodel Merrylin Boro Unapologetically On The Industry’s Racism And Building Her Personal Brand

  • IWB Post
  •  July 20, 2019

Merrylin Boro is a 26-year-old feisty model. With her unique, unconventional looks, she is signed by designers who want to narrate strong stories behind their collections. Her face is powerful and those freckles only add to the drama. However, everything wasn’t a cakewalk for her when she started her career. While her short hair and Eastern features were dissed, the ‘baby fat’ on her body was called ugly. “I was that happy 18-year-old new kid on the block who was too carefree to worry about others’ opinion,” she begins her story.

Nothing about her body ever worried Merrylin. She always had her reality simplified. This attitude bagged her some of the most amazing career deals that went on to set benchmarks for aspiring North-Eastern models, who often have to pass the racist casting filtration to earn a job.

MERRYLIN on Instagram: “polaroids from a min ago when my hair was shorter 😩 👩🏽 @tenlhagyal @alittlefly_ #electricdreamer ⚡️”

3,922 Likes, 28 Comments – MERRYLIN (@merrylinboro) on Instagram: “polaroids from a min ago when my hair was shorter 😩 👩🏽 @tenlhagyal @alittlefly_ #electricdreamer ⚡️”

“I grew up ‘all over the pace’ with both my parents from mixed ethnicities. While my father is an Anglo-Indian from Northeastern India, my mother belongs to the Bodo tribe from Assam. That very much explains my surname, as well. My cheery attitude comes from the way my parenting was done. I never heard the word ‘No’ as a child. I was free to scribble on the walls, play in the garden, get dirty, choose my friends – and later, the career. No questions asked, whatsoever. My childhood instilled confidence in me, even today I have a go-for-it attitude,” Merrylin tells us during a phone interview.

She moved with family to Delhi at 14 and settled all by herself at about 19. Her first stint was a mere coincidence when her BFF suggested her to apply for “Airtel Grid Girls” for Zoom Channel after spotting a random newspaper ad. Though it wasn’t about modeling, Merrylin was excited to get selected and be a part of the reality show.

Her professional modeling career started right after and in no time, she could be seen posing for magazines like Elle, Vogue, Grazia, Marie Claire, etc. However, her biggest stepping stone was when she got a call from Lakme Fashion Week. “I was super happy because I was getting paid for what I truly enjoyed doing,” shares Merrylin.

The 26-year-old says her fellow models often get body-shamed for not looking the way their agents expect them to be. “This can be heart-breaking as a starter.”

“Before I gained fame, I had to listen to brutal things about my body. Letting someone else judge you demonstrates your weakness in front of others. I used to hear statements like, ‘Your face doesn’t look Indian,’ ‘Your hair is too short for a girl,’ ‘You don’t look feminine enough,’ ‘You are just 5 ft 8 inches,’ and was shamelessly asked to come back once I achieve these stereotypical bodily features. During such situations, I would simply reject the offer. In no way was I going to put down my self-esteem and earn money. What kept me going were the stories of my idols Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum, and Kate Moss who, irrespective of what their skin colour and height were, made it big in the fashion world,” says a proud Merrylin.

If I ever wear a sari it’be This! 🤩 For @norblacknorwhite 📸 @aksharma_ #electricdreamer ⚡️

3,480 Likes, 23 Comments – MERRYLIN (@merrylinboro) on Instagram: “If I ever wear a sari it’be This! 🤩 For @norblacknorwhite 📸 @aksharma_ #electricdreamer ⚡️”

Meanwhile, if you are wondering that models don’t get enough credit for their work, take a look at Merrylin’s Instagram page. You will see this supermodel’s striking face representing your favourite fashion brands and designers from around the globe. “I treat myself as a brand. You polish yourself every day and it isn’t just one’s outer appearance that I’m talking. You tell yourself that you can do better and that you’re worthy. It took me years of self-love and self-improvement to position myself as India’s supermodel. So, I make sure I get the credit,” she affirms.

Probably this is one of the reasons why she doesn’t want to give in to a common belief that a model’s career only lasts till she is 27. “Rubbish! I’m going to strut down the runway at 60. Watch me win the crown and crowd,” she declares.

MERRYLIN on Instagram: “Feeling cagey ⛓🔑 🔐 @adidasoriginals unlock my prophere #fromtheinside #Prophere #adidasoriginals #giftedbyadidas #electricdreamer ⚡”

2,321 Likes, 8 Comments – MERRYLIN (@merrylinboro) on Instagram: “Feeling cagey ⛓🔑 🔐 @adidasoriginals unlock my prophere #fromtheinside #Prophere #adidasoriginals…”

Before we ended our chit-chat, she remembers a fun BTS moment from Budweiser’s ad campaign at an old heritage Haweli. She shares, “The entire set was a party ground and the fifty models were asked to just enjoy the carnival while the photographer kept shooting us. We were dressed in pretty shimmering clothes and were making merry with one another over drinks and super loud music. That went on for two days straight and while we were physically tired, we wanted more of it. Because who doesn’t like a party on work-day?”

Merrylin is someone who truly enjoys her work. Whether it is jumping into a pool in a below-zero weather or becoming a surreal character, she loves it all. “Modeling isn’t just about looking good or owing a chic wardrobe, something I used to believe as an amateur. Instead, it is about achieving that perfect shot or walk your client wishes for. Consider yourself a blank canvas when you are on the sets or runway and learn to mold yourself into various characters. Embrace the charisma of your role so you can reflect the same in the lens,” she signs off.

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