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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 3:

She is sultry, seductive and street smart. Meet Mayuri Das, the 25-year-old belle from Rourkela in Odisha who has made heads turn in the glamour world with her first reality show on national television. Though she was evicted from the game in the show, Mayuri has managed to catch the attention of many in the modelling world.

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In an exclusive chat with Odisha Sun Times, Mayuri talks about her days of struggle, comments on her complexion and the trend of casting couch:

On her Odia roots:

Born and bred in Rourkela, I am a hardcore Odia at heart. I left Odisha eight years ago for studies and then eventually began modelling, but I do visit home once a year. My mother still lives in Odisha, as she is working in the tourism department. And living here in Mumbai, I badly crave for Odia dishes like pakhaala, mustard prawn and mutton kassa the most. I miss the Rath Yatra in Rourkela, especially the part where the chariots would roll by our home with the ambience resounding with bells, cymbals and dhols. No trip home is complete without a visit to the Lord Jagannath temple in Puri.

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On making it to a reality show on national television:

It has not been easy. I have been a model for as long as I can remember and one day, a friend of mine suggested the idea of auditioning for Splitsvilla on MTV. I went ahead and got selected. I gave a tough competition to one of the strongest contestants on the show. Though I could not win, my journey was commendable on the show. This is a major step for me and I am determined to make the most of this opportunity.

On the controversial comment on her complexion by a co-contestant:

That comment was completely uncalled for. I did not break down because of that remark, but because someone had the audacity to comment like that on national television. I am used to people in this industry favouring fair-skinned girls. No matter how well you are dressed or how sharp and striking your features are, if you are not fair, you are not lovely. That is the mindset. However, I am proud to be dark. Foreigners lay on beaches or pay for sessions in the salon to get tanned. I have a natural tan and I am proud of it. It does not make me any less beautiful. I shall not be shamed by it.

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On the ongoing casting couch phenomenon in Ollywood:

It is tough out here. But one needs to stick to goals and principles. I have been approached by people here in Mumbai many a time in a subtle way to indulge in such activities. But I have always put my foot down. I am just not that person and I make sure that I put it across directly and blatantly. One cannot go about giving mixed signals and later crying wolf! It is better to just focus on your goals, let your work do all the talking for itself and not be insecure.

To Odia girls who are striving for a place in the modelling world:

Yes, there are shortcuts in every field you choose to work in. But there is no shortcut to success. It took me eight years to find a foothold and it does not mean my struggle has ended. I still go for auditions every single day. The struggle is inevitable and no one has it easy. Some will undermine you, others will try to take advantage of your situation, but one needs to to stay patient, determined and dedicated.

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