(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Fri 31 Mar 2023, 6:49 PM
In the year 2013, Shah Rukh Khan had mentioned in an interview that the next generation of stars will not be from the films. His words were: ''Social media and the accessibility of this medium to so many is going to create very many stars. Only film stars are not going to be stars, only television acting stars are not going to be stars''. Cut to 2023, we have witnessed the phenomena of influencers unfolding in front of us.
Being a well-known social media influencer certainly has its own perks. They may not have replaced the entertainment and film icons yet, but they've certainly invaded their zone. They have racked up brand deals, they are participating in reality shows, designers are opting for them to be showstoppers and they are being embraced by film industry as well. Prajakta Koli, Kusha Kapila and Anubhav Singh Bassi are few of the prominent content creators who have landed themselves a big Bollywood break.
Another name that is creating waves is Erica Fernandes. She is one of the most followed television actresses on Instagram with millions of followers on her social media. Recently, she was featured in a new music video titled Ishq Hua and her OTT debut is about to take place with a web series on Amazon Prime.
Erica was in Dubai recently to walk as the showstopper for the fashion house Miniaar by Tinaz Bodhanwala in collaboration with SkinAura. wknd. caught up with Erica to know more about her upcoming series, her fashion choices and some useful tips for a strong social media engagement. Edited excerpts from an interview:
There is this constant debate if celebrities should be walking the ramp as showstoppers What is your take on that?
I have been on both sides of the rope. While I was modelling, I have walked behind a showstopper and have also been a showstopper myself for many designers. A few months ago, at the Mexico Fashion Show held at Expo2020, I was one of the models again. I do not categorise the work I am getting. A showstopper definitely sounds more prominent, but I will never say no to an opportunity to walk as a model if the brand and the designs are good. The level of respect and dignity do not change based on where you are appearing as. Earlier, when having celebrities as showstoppers became a common trend, it was believed that their presence on the ramp displayed a designer's lack of confidence in his creations. I think that it is a bit far-fetched. A designer wants his collection to reach as far and wide as possible, and the celebrity walking for him or her could help him in achieving that vision. Also, audiences do anticipate that there will be showstoppers, especially at fashion weeks.
Your song Ishq Hua that released last month has done quite well. You think measuring success of a song through 'number of views' is fair?
I am so happy that it came out in the Valentine season. It has been viewed over five million times already. Fortunately or unfortunately, statistical data, like number of views and following, have become barometers of success for a song or even for a star. This may not be entirely correct but it at least sheds some light on the performance. I was starring with Suraj Jumani and we both played childhood sweethearts who lose touch as they grow up until they meet again after many years. It just takes one meeting for them to start from where they left off. Love is the most beautiful emotion one can experience, and this was just an ode to that feeling. That was the intention and numbers just followed.
What is the biggest challenge that models face in the current times?
Unfortunately, the concept of shelf life is still very much active. You will hardly see opportunities being given to models who are beyond a certain age and body type. Having said that, some designers do encourage a diverse set of models for their collection but those can be counted on your fingers.
Can you spill beans on your upcoming web series on Amazon?
The shoot is finished, so has the post-production work. The platform will be announcing the project and release date by the end of this month. Streaming is the new mode of entertainment, and I am happy to contribute to this.
You have over seven million followers across the platforms. Is social media a source of pressure or pleasure?
It certainly puts me through a lot of pressure. We work non-stop and at varied schedules. Sharing a lot of private information is not something I am comfortable with. Which is why you will see that most of my posts are work-related, such as shoots, BTS, shows or travel etc. My fans and followers invest so much of their time and energy on me and, in return, I feel obliged to give them something more, some little insights that they can cherish. Also, it's a good way to connect with your fans as you get direct feedback, which wasn't the case before. So, it has both pros and cons.
Sadiq is a Dubai-based entertainment journalist