From Walk-in To Vogue India: Saffron Vadher Talks Model Life

When top model on the rise Saffron Vadher landed the cover of Vogue India, it was personal. With family from India and England, it was more than a milestone in her career. Just two years ago, she was working at a pizza chain, and now, she has been shot by photographers like Patrick Demarchelier, Martin Parr and Annie Leibovitz. It hasn't always been easy - as a child, Saffron had leukemia. Having begun acting as a teen, she walked into the agency at Elite London during walk-in hours and auditioned to join the board. Today, her magazine roster includes names like American and British Vogue, Vanity Fair France and Allure, and she is fast becoming a fashion week favourite. 

How does it feel to be on the cover of Vogue India?

It's an absolute dream, I still can't believe it!!

How did you become a model?

A lot of my friends used to always suggest it to me that I try it and I was already doing acting, singing and dancing so it kind of all went part and parcel with that. So, I went into the Elite London agency myself for a walk-in and the agency were so supportive and welcoming that it made me even more excited about everything! I actually could not believe it when they said yes. I left the agency not quite thinking that they had said yes, and it was only when I got the contract that I fully realised I was actually getting signed!

At Elite Model Look we say your differences make our world – what makes you different?

I think my heritage makes me different. My dad's side of the family is Gujarati, but he was born in Nairobi, Kenya. My mum's family is English. Being from two cultures is something that I am so thankful for. Learning about two different religions and two different beliefs has been one of my favourite things growing up. I would say it makes me very open minded to other cultures and makes me more relatable.

Modelling and the fashion industry seems to be increasingly diverse – do you think it’s going in a good direction?

I think it is going in such an amazing direction! I love that people are beginning to embrace the change.

Did you ever think you would book a job like the Vogue India cover?

Never! It came up on my Facebook memories recently that this time 2 years ago I was working at Domino's Pizza! It's so crazy. I used to love it though, we had such a laugh. I used to put on the delivery driver's helmet and pretend to go do the delivery. It's good to have done those kind of jobs! It makes me appreciate what modelling has given me, it's a crazy world but you could get used to it if you hadn't done a minimum wage job - that's hard! I miss the free pizzas though!

Tell us about yourself – what’s your passion outside the industry?

I am very passionate about cooking. I love cooking old family recipes and trying out new recipes myself.

What – or who – gets you through fashion week?

My friends, and my model mates like Anna Hagood, Harriet Longhurst, Danielle Sandhu and Sara Grace to name a few! I have the most amazing friends around me who keep me sane and also my agency is very encouraging throughout. I also love travelling and visiting new places so that is very nice too! 

What’s the best book you ever read?

One of my all-time favourite fiction books I have ever read is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I am a sucker for love story!

You had leukemia as a child, which must have been incredibly difficult. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

I got diagnosed just before my 4th birthday so if I am honest, I do not remember to much about it. One thing I do remember about it was the constant injections at the beginning of my treatment and every time I left the house when I was younger I was scared that I was going for more injections. I think it has made me very phobic of needles, I still cry and pull my arm away even now when I know I am getting my blood taken. I do remember having to start first school having to wear a hat to hide the fact I had lost my hair during chemotherapy and to stop me being bullied by the other children in my class. I also remember being spoiled with everything Barbie! I ended up having 207 Barbie Dolls, my dad's garage had Barbie painted on every single wall and was turned into my Barbie playroom. I even got the chance to meet 'real' life Barbie at the premier of the new Barbie movie! 

If you could give a $1m to charity – who would you give it to and why?

I would, without a doubt, like to give back to the organisations which supported me and my family when I had leukaemia, like the Leukaemia Research team, Make a Wish Foundation, Great Ormand Street Hospital and Northwick Park Hospital.

Who are you closest to?

My mum, she is my best friend and I tell her everything.

What’s the weirdest thing about being a model that you didn’t expect?

How last minute everything can be! One minute you're sitting on your sofa watching TV, the next thing you’re in a cab on the way to the airport!

What is your top model beauty secret?

Sleep and water! It really is the answer to most problems! I try and sleep as much as I can when I can. I try and sleep about 10 hours a night. I don't drink any fizzy drinks or juices and mainly drink water.

What’s the best advice you ever got?

Never blame anyone but yourself.

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