Epoch Times

Pooja Mor on Modeling Life, New York, and What Keeps Her Grounded

Fashion modeling, as one might imagine, is not for the fainthearted. It is a world where one has to walk the line between open self-expression and mystery, between being a blank canvas and the total embodiment of a brand’s look, and above all else, being fearless with just the right amount of vulnerability.
If one had to create such a creature, it would sound like a tall order. Yet New York-based Indian model Pooja Mor is all that and quite a lot more.
After being scouted—via Instagram—by the folks over at Louis Vuitton, many other major brands followed. She’s walked and posed for Stella McCartney, Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen, Tory Burch, Narciso Rodriguez, Roberto Cavalli, Missoni, Jill Stuart, and Elie Saab. She was not just catapulted to runways and magazine covers, but as a figure of diversity for fashion fans.
If you can really live every second, you will really feel the beauty of life on a much deeper level. Follow your destiny and be grounded in yourself.— Pooja Mor

Soft-spoken, humble, and wise, Mor recounted the quirky twist of fate that thrust her into the limelight and launched her career in a conversation with this Epoch Times reporter in Chelsea, Manhattan.
Fashion model Pooja Mor meditates in Central Park on April 19, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
An Unplanned Miss Ahmedabad
In college, where Mor studied computer engineering, she got involved with a modeling hunt in the city of Ahmedabad called Fresh Face—as an organizer.
But as the crowd became increasingly rowdy, cheering for the contestants, she stepped on stage to curb their enthusiasm so that the event could continue smoothly.
Instead of heeding her request, the venue resounded to the name of Pooja!
It turns out her friend had submitted her name as one of the contestants as a joke.
The judges asked her to showcase her talents and, on the spur of the moment, Mor decided to simply walk, stopping at the end of the stage to do a turn and some “funny” poses.
To cut a long story short, to Mor’s great surprise, she turned out to be the “fresh face” they were looking for and won the contest.
Her first modeling stints, during Fashion Week in Delhi and then in Mumbai, gave her a taste of things to come, although she didn’t foresee that her next job would land her in Bob Hope’s futuristic house in Palm Springs where she modeled the Louis Vuitton Resort collection just last May.
It has been exactly one year since Mor decided to call New York home—or at least, a home away from home. Yet dressed in skinny jeans, a black leather jacket, and comfy lace-up boots, she looks the part of a New Yorker, except that she wears no make up.
“New York is the easiest city to live in because everybody is from everywhere and there’s a common language as well. And there are so many options for everything,” she said, speaking softly.
Fashion model Pooja Mor in Central Park on April 19, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
A day off means going to see Bollywood movies with friends, cooking and eating Indian food, trips to the library, walking in Central Park, and going to Brooklyn to relax and explore outside Manhattan.
She returns to India to de-stress from the crescendo of engagements that culminate around fashion weeks, then comes back again to the energy hub that is New York.
Mor credits her seamless adjustment to the high pressure world of fashion to always maintaining a positive attitude—the rest “flows from that,” she said, including her “runway face.”
“You need to have a lot of confidence to walk in front of so many people and they’re looking at every single inch of you,” she said, punctuating every word. “Even if it’s for 30 seconds, you really feel it. I have good thoughts.”
What also helps is the fact that Mor studied Indian classical dance in the Kathak (storytelling) style from the time she was a child, performing onstage in full costume and makeup.
“People notice that I move differently. I think dancing helped me a lot,” she said.
Mor discussed her career, her advice to models who are starting out, and some philosophies that keep her grounded on a daily basis. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Fashion model Pooja Mor in Central Park on April 19, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Quick Q&A
Epoch Times: What keeps you grounded?
Ms. Mor: I started Falun Dafa two years ago. I always keep some time for myself [in the morning], doing Dafa exercises (meditation) and then Pilates. That time is my time that connects me to myself—to look within. Being born Indian I always did meditation—yoga and meditation, you just do since you’re a kid. My family is so spiritual. That makes me look at life differently.
Epoch Times: Role models?
Ms. Mor: Blake Lively. When I was in India I was inspired when I saw her Gucci campaign, but I also like her style, and the way she carries herself is very beautiful.
Epoch Times: Have you ever been surprised by the way you are captured in a photo?
Ms. Mor: It’s always so amazing to create something so different from what you are, and also to still have the connection of yourself to that.
Epoch Times: What is your beauty routine?
Ms. Mor: I don’t use soap on my face, I just rinse with water and I use coconut oil—it’s great for your skin, andhair as well.
Epoch Times: If you were to be involved with the beauty industry, what kind of products would you be involved with?
Ms. Mor: Ideally, [products for] hair, and any natural, organic skin care. And makeup is amazing—it can give you so many ideas; you can create so much.
Epoch Times: What would you do if modeling didn’t work out?
Ms. Mor: I would continue with my studies but I’m still looking to find out what I’d like to do my post-gradate studies in. I was preparing to do my MBA [Master of Business Administration] after completing my computer engineering degree, but then I started modeling.
Epoch Times: Favorite place to travel apart from your home town in Gujarat?
Ms. Mor: Paris, I love the city. The first time I went there, I felt like I was walking in a dream. I was really touched, by the architecture. Now I’m used to it, but I still remember the first time; I just walked along the river and the whole city looked so much like a dream.
Epoch Times: If you could time travel, which period would you go to?
Fashion model Pooja Mor in Central Park, New York, on April 19, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Ms. Mor: I can answer it but I will answer it according to Indian culture. I would like to go to the time of Satiyug [Satya Yuga]. It is the time when humans were just born, and it was the first period of time. So [in Indian culture] the periods are divided in four Yugas (ages): Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and the last one, Kali Yuga, which is now.
Epoch Times: Why Satiyug?
Ms. Mor: Because I always heard about it in stories. At that time, the culture was so deep. [It was a time when] human and gods were very close, and you could talk to any god you want. People didn’t have much pain or suffering. They used to go to the goddess of color to get more colors. There are many TV series about these stories. And you can also read them in the scriptures.
Epoch Times: What do you hope to communicate to the world through your work?
Ms. Mor What I’ve seen here, is how people are always stressed about what is going to happen. I think if you can just let go of that, and just follow your path, it’s easier. So if you can really live every second, you will really feel the beauty of life on a much deeper level. Follow your destiny and be grounded in yourself.
Epoch Times: What about some of the decisions that models are sometimes asked to make?
Ms. Mor: The most important thing is that you should know what you want to do, and you should also know what you don’t want to do. You make your own decision. Sometimes girls do things under pressure, trying to launch their careers. But if you have the talent, your career is going to go well, any which way. Turning down one thing will not stop you from doing a thousand other things.
Fashion model Pooja Mor in Central Park on April 19, 2016. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

10 Dog Photos of Sheer Greatness and Hilarity for National Dog Day

It’s the National Dog Day everyone! No, it’s not an official holiday, in case you wondered. It was started in 2004 by Pet & Family Lifestyle Expert Colleen Paige to recognize the role of dogs in our lives, as protectors, companions, helpers, and rescuers. It also aims to raise awareness about dogs that need rescuing.
Let’s then, in the spirit of the National Dog Day, enjoy these 10 dog pictures, each captivating in its own right.
It is not quite certain how many dogs there are in the United States. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimated about 70 million dogs were owned in the country in its 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook.
Every year, almost 4 million dogs end up in shelters, according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. More than a million of them are put down.
“All a dog wants to do is love and protect you. That’s all,” Colleen Paige states on her website. “Dogs are amazing, courageous, sensitive, and sentient beings that deserve compassion and respect.”
In almost third of the cases where owners give up a dog, it is because their place doesn’t allow them to keep a dog. Perhaps they moved to a new apartment and the landlord doesn’t want dogs. Or perhaps this is just the most convenient reason people are comfortable giving to surveyers. One in 10 dogs is given up because the owner has a problem with the pet’s behavior.
It costs about $1,300 a year to have a dog, according to Statista.com. So, if you’re up to it, perhaps use today’s occasion to adopt a dog, or donate to a shelter, or at least pet one.

Cute Friendly Swimming Pigs in Bahamas, No Kidding (+ Photos, Videos)

The Bahamas, the Commonwealth nation of hundreds of islands roughly the size of Connecticut and with population of just a bit over Anaheim, is known for its crystal waters and pristine beaches—and its swimming pigs.
It is unclear when the pigs first appeared on Exuma Island or where they come from. There’s talk about a (daring) escape from a shipwreck, or sailors releasing the swine on purpose. In all probability, there were no pigs on this tropical paradise before European settlers came, so their mere presence is the work of human. The intriguing feat of nature, however, is that this population of pigs developed a fine aptitude for swimming.
Water’s good today. (Lisa Larsen/Public Domain/CC0 1.0)
“It’s unreal,” commented Capt. Jerry Lewless of Capt. Jerry Tours in a short documentary called “When Pigs Swim.”
Some two dozen pigs and piglets cruise the pristine waters of Exuma, surviving on what the locals and stream of tourists give them. Yes, unlike squirrels in the Central Park, these animals you’re allowed to feed. And boy, do people take advantage?
“The rest of the tour is really the beauty of Exuma, but the swimming pigs are the drawing card,” said Capt. Raymond Lightbourn of Exuma Water Sports in the documentary.
That’s right. This is possibly one of the world’s most beautiful havens of nature, yet people are coming here to see pigs.
And who can blame them? We’re just so easy to be distracted by the unusual. I mean, what if I told you there’s a photo gallery called “Top 10 Tight Fitting Animals Wearing Jeans” and the first picture is a pug? Ok, here’s the gallery. See?

Kissing in Times Square to Celebrate 70 Years Since V-J Day

Hundreds of couples gathered in Times Square to celebrate the victory over Japan in World War II the same way one of the American sailors did 70 years ago—by a kiss.
The reference is, of course, to the picture by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, taken in Times Square right after President Harry S. Truman announced on August 14, 1945, that Japan had surrendered.
Despite a cheerful atmosphere, today’s recreation wasn’t altogether accurate, since Eisenstaedt remembered the sailor grabbed a woman he didn’t know. This time, participants were specifically encouraged to come with a partner or, at the very least, ask for permission.

Baby Seals: The Cutest Animals in the Midst of Controversy (+ Photos)

Forget about kittens and puppies—baby seals are the epitome of cuteness. Just look at how furry and helpless they look, and those big black eyes …
Moreover, baby seals have also become a symbol of a fight against animal cruelty as they are hunted for their coats.
Canada, the largest seal hunter in the world, allows more than 300,000 seals to be hunted each year (out of a population of estimated 7.4 million).
But the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, that oversees seal hunting, calls it a myth that the “Canadian government allows sealers to harvest seal pups.”
“The harvesting of harp seal pups (whitecoats) and hooded seal pups (bluebacks) is illegal in Canada and has been since 1987,” its website states. “The seals that are harvested are self-reliant, independent animals.”
Yet that is a wording on the very edge of the facts. It is true that hunting white-furred baby seals is forbidden. But the website fails to mention that baby harp seals only remain white until about the age of two weeks. Any baby seal older that that can be legally hunted.
Calling such baby seal “self-reliant” and “independent” is also a controversial statement, though technically correct since the mother abandons a baby seal after just 12 days of feeding.
Yet baby seals older than 12 days are undeniably still puppies and so, yes, Canadian government allows sealers to kill seal pups.
To be sure, after decades of debates and counter measures, it seems baby seals are not hunted in a way any more cruel then other animals, meaning most are killed swiftly.
Still, killing a baby animal however “humanely” is for many simply inconceivable. Some wouldn’t eat lamb meat for the same reason. Though fewer seem concerned about eating chicken—technically still babies when slaughtered at the age of 5 to 14 weeks.

New Staggering Photos of Rocky Fire, California Wildfires

A massive wildfire raging about 100 miles north of San Francisco, dubbed Rocky Fire, consumed 65,000 acres of land already. So far 24 homes fell victim to the blaze and almost 7,000 more structures are threatened, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
More than 3,200 firefighters are battling the flames aided by over 300 engines and 23 aircraft. Still, the wild fire is just 12 percent contained, based on Tuesday morning data, and the authorities estimate it will take another week to subdue.
Yesterday firefighters set up large backfires to cut the spreading inferno from crossing Highway 20, but as the wind shifted, flying ember set up multiple spot fires on the other side of the highway.
“Firefighters are working aggressively to build control lines and sustain perimeter control,” the department stated on its website. “Terrain is steep and rugged with limited access.”
Backfires are supposed to create a strip of burned land in front of the wildfire, so the main fire doesn’t have enough fuel to cross it. But this time the strategy wasn’t quite successful because the backfires failed to consume bigger bushes.
“The bigger brush was not burning, then the wind changed and the big stuff started burning and carried embers across Highway 20,” Cal Fire Capt. Danny DeViso told SFGate, a sister-site of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Wildfires are a rather common occurrence in California, with thousands igniting every year. The largest one, dubbed Cedar, consumed over 270,000 acres of land, over 2,800 structures, and caused 15 deaths in 2003.
Last year over 600,000 acres fell prey to wildfires in California, a similar number to the year before. The fires cause damages amounting to tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Hundreds of millions more are spent every year to combat the flames.