Sabita Karki came second in the INTM (India’s Next Top Model) Season 3 held in Mumbai in October 2017. The Indian version of the American television reality show ANTM created by Tyra Banks, it was broadcast by MTV India with Lisa Haydon and Malaika Arora among the judges. Sabita credits Blink Nepal for giving her the opportunity to take part. Her dedication and hard work as a model have obviously paid off. Excerpts from an interview reveal her inner feelings and how she got there.

1. Tell us about your childhood, interest and hobbies.

Back in my childhood days, I used to be a geeky girl who was always engrossed in her books. Apart from that I used to play football with my neighborhood kids. I was a shy kid and loved math. I had no idea about modeling; a few of my relatives who had some idea suggested I should try modeling in the future just because I had good height. But I used to say ‘No’ emphatically. Apart from my course books, I used to take dance classes, I loved dancing and I used to play football and basketball. I like playing the guitar in my free time and I go golfing with my friends on weekends. I also love watching horror movies. It’s either horror or comedy for me these days, and I’m desperately waiting for the “GAME OF THRONES”.

2. Who was Sabita Karki before INTM?

Sabita Karki was a model in Nepal even before INTM. Many people think that I started my modeling career from INTM, but the thing is I have been modeling here since 2013! I had done numerous shows, shoots, was featured in magazines before INTM as well. INTM was the turning point in my modeling career. I’m thankful to the Nepali modeling industry, the people who taught me, who gave me the confidence and experiences to perform well in INTM. Four years of modeling experience in Nepal definitely helped me a lot! And I also got to know that patience is the key! After INTM, I became more confident and I feel more experienced, but as a person I’m still the same Sabita Karki that I used to be!

3. Your first modeling experience? Did you always want to be a model and make a career out of it?

(She laughs!) Every time I remember my first shoot, it makes me laugh! No, I never thought of becoming a model. But during my high school, I got an offer for a photo shoot! I still remember the person who approached me for the shoot telling me that I resembled Sonam Kapoor! That day I went home and looked in the mirror for hours! At first I refused the shoot, but after a few months I said yes. That was the first ever photo shoot of my life! I was nervous like anything. I had to wear a tube dress, a very short one at that! I had never worn a dress like that. I was always covered with clothes from neck to toe. That dress was gorgeous but I was not comfortable in it. I was pulling it down and even the photographer knew I was not comfortable. At that time, I knew nothing about posing for the camera. My heart was racing. Oh god, that moment! Looking back on it, I have definitely come a long way!

4. How did India’s Next Top Model happen? What are your fondest memories from that experience?

INTM happened to me because of “Blink Nepal” the talent management company. I’m thankful to Blink for giving me this big opportunity to take part in INTM. The experience was amazing. Yeah! There were times when I was home sick, I wasn’t feeling it or something like that, but one day when we were on our way to the location for the shoot, (it might sound a bit dramatic but this is what happened): I was looking out of the window; the sun was just rising, the color of the sky was mesmerizing, and I took a deep breath and thought about the whole thing I was going through. Then I thought ‘Maybe I will never get to shoot underwater, or with an exotic reptile; no photographer might ask me to jump and pose in the future!” This is happening right now and I have to enjoy every bit of it! I have to remember it as a happy moment in my life! From that day on, I started feeling it, got more focused and started enjoying whatever I was doing. I made many friends there and even after INTM was over, I went over to their houses to visit them. I went to Pune to meet Summer Jacobs! INTM was a blessing for me as I got to meet and work with Bollywood’s A List personalities. Stunt based tasks were nerve wrecking, but wow, they was amazing!

My fondest memories are the photo shoot with Malaika ma’am; not only did I enjoy directing and shooting with Malaika ma’am, the final photo was the best of the episode. And then I taught a Nepali song “Resham Firiri” to the other contestants! It was so much fun! And also the “Tabela Walk” was my favorite; I loved the whole outfit I was wearing, and the stinky slippery runway! Very challenging, but that’s what we love, challenges!

6. Where do you get your inspiration from?

When I started modeling I had very little idea about modeling. I just wanted to give it a try. But in time I started loving it. If I had a shoot the next day, I used to do my homework the previous day, all the research on the internet! If I had a show coming up, I used to youtube the walk videos of international models and practice my poses watching them. I was also highly inspired by Aastha Pokhrel; I used to follow her journey on Asia’s next top Model, and watching her on that show inspired me to gain more experience as a model in Nepal. I wanted to participate in the top model franchise someday! And Voila, it actually happened! Apart from her, I love Alessandra Ambrosio ( VS model) and follow her work! And I also love Anjali Lama; we have worked together and watching her doing great in India makes me very happy!

8. Do you have any plans other than modeling, for example, becoming an actress or a businesswoman?

Besides modeling, I have been studying CA for a long time now, Ha Ha! I dreamt of becoming a Chartered Accountant but I have currently taken a break from my studies since I have been busy with modeling assignments. But I’m planning to continue and complete my studies. And I plan to start my own business soon.