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The Miss India Finalist Teaching Dentistry In Otago

Photo: Medhika Priya Singhal/Instagram

A Kiwi-Indian woman from Dehradun is breaking barriers by embracing multiple career goals and carving out a niche for herself in New Zealand. 

Medhika Priya Singhal has not only made a mark in the field of dentistry but has also made significant strides in the world of modeling.

Medhika teaches dentistry at University of Otago, having shifted base from Auckland in 2023. She earned her bachelors in dental surgery back in India when in 2014, her mother suggested she enter Femina Miss India.

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                                                                  Photo: Medhika Priya Singhal/Instagram

“My mother and I are big fans of Sushmita Sen (former Miss Universe) and she’d say how the actress and I shared the same features, so I should give it a go too,” recalls Medhika.

She applied for the beauty pageant, but faced rejection. She believes being fair-skinned is generally preferred for Indian beauty standards. “From that moment on, it became my dream to get selected, not my mother’s,” she says.

Medhika researched more about the process of the competition until she tried again the following year, and was selected. Despite facing stereotypes, particularly regarding her dusky complexion in India, Singhal was one of the finalists in The Miss India Femina competition in 2015.



                                                         Photo: Medhika Priya Singhal/Instagram

“Once your name is in the ring as a contestant in India’s biggest beauty pageant, a country with over a billion people, the public have no choice but to agree with it,” she adds.

Her modelling career took off and she started getting collaborations with renowned brands. She has graced the ramps and campaigns for OYO, Amazon, Anamika Khanna, and Galaxy Mars Chocolate.

She also clinched the Top 3 position in the 2015 Kingfisher Supermodels 3 competition, aired on NDTV Goodtimes, further solidifying her presence in the fashion world.

“Although it pays well, having to audition and then waiting for callbacks takes a lot of time. I couldn’t sit around at home all day.”

After months of runways, gigs and commercials in India, while also working as a dentist, Singhal flew to New Zealand in 2017, pursuing postgraduate study in public health at the Auckland University of Technology. She is now also studying for her final exams before she’s able to practice dentistry in New Zealand.

                                                      Photo: Medhika Priya Singhal/Instagram

Her talent transcended borders, proven by her participation in the New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) for three consecutive years, from 2017 to 2019. Her portfolio boasts of an array of collaborations with designers like  Tanya Carlson, Trelise Cooper, Juliette Hogan, and Twenty-Seven Names, among many others.

Her portfolio led her to also venture into the beauty and cosmetics world with brands like Aleph Beauty, Thin Lizzy, and Farmers, showcasing her ability to embody diverse beauty standards and trends.

“It was a big difference to how I used to be treated when I was younger in India. Now my whole world was turned upside down,” she says.

Beyond her endeavours in India and New Zealand, Medhika has also made her mark on the Australian fashion landscape. When asked for tips for aspiring brown-skinned models, she says, “I’d say you’re in the right country to start. 

                                                        Photo: Medhika Priya Singhal/Instagram

“It’s very easy to get into modelling here, and it’s important to know that age, complexion and body shape is no bar. There are many modelling agencies that adore all skin tones, all shapes and sizes, so you will feel welcome and accepted.”

From her humble beginnings as a beauty pageant finalist to her success on the global fashion stage, Medhika inspires aspiring talents, redefining standards of beauty and excellence in the industry.



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