The New Paper
Aug 23, 2015
She is hardworking, 1.76m-tall and busty, but Ms Manju Rajendran couldn't land many jobs when she started out in her early 20s.
But she didn't give up even as she inched into her 30s, usually a difficult age for aspiring models. Ms Rajendran, now 37, was working as a hostess to entertain guests at a magazine event when she was spotted by the director of an Italian lighting company.
"He asked me if I was interested in being the model for the company - for their brochures and their invites for their events. I agreed and it turned out to be a great decision. There was one event I did for the company where I modelled for the invites, hosted and helped organise it," she says.
That one assignment, which subsequently saw her spend a lot of time travelling to and from Italy, earned her $10,000.
Ms Rajendran, a model, is also represented by Mr Chung's agency. Mr Chung says of Ms Rajendran's draw with international clients:
"While it is rare to see Indian models make it overseas, her selling points are her height, her 36F breasts and the fact that she is photogenic."
Ms Rajendran would earn an average of $6,000 monthly when she travelled to China, Hong Kong, Germany and Italy, for both modelling and hosting jobs. On those trips, she showed her other talent of being able to memorise scripts in Cantonese, Chinese and Italian.
Mr Chung, who used to represent Ms Rajendran full-time, says: "When I first took her to Hong Kong in 2003 to do a hosting job, she had just started her career in the industry. She spent the entire night in her hotel room just to memorise and practise her script till the wee hours of the morning."
He says it is her work attitude that attracts his international clientele.
"She has no problem wearing all types of outfits for her performance, including the sexiest lingerie and swimwear, not to mention the usual bridal and casual wear that most models stick to," he says.
Now, Ms Rajendran says she is letting her modelling career take a back seat as she is more picky with job offers.
"Now, I focus on hosting jobs and training new models on how to walk, sit and groom themselves. I had to do this to tone down my hectic schedule. It is because I travelled so much that I now suffer from a sleeping disorder," she says.
"That's why I decided to stop modelling full-time and really pick the jobs I do," she adds.
The models she teaches are part of a class Mr Chung organises.
She says: "I have worked really hard to be where I am. My motto was always, 'Never give up'."