Sheena Pradhan is a fashion model, nutritionist and a writer based out
of New York City, United States. Sheena completed her studies in Nutrition and
Food Science from Drexel University and in 2013 went on to form her company
Nutritious Balance. At the age of 24 Sheena participated in her first beauty
Pageant Miss New Jersey USA and in 2015 was crowned Miss East Coast U.S. while perusing
her career in modeling Sheena continues to work as a nutritionist and also
regularly writes for various publications on subjects ranging from culture,
fashion and lifestyle.
IM: Tell us a bit about how you started out
as a model and what influenced you? Sheena: I always wanted to a model,
but as a good Indian girl from a conservative family, I wasn’t allowed to go to
a modeling school or compete in pageants, as I proposed to my parents back in
high school. After I graduated college, I felt like I had lost time because I hadn’t
pursued my deepest dreams. I felt like I hadn’t spent time living life for me.
That was when I signed up for my first pageant, Miss New Jersey USA. I felt
pretty lost and depressed when I signed up for my first pageant. It’s funny,
I’m really thankful for the dark time that I went through when I was 23 because
that was what motivated me to change my life around and start going after my
My dream as a kid was to work in fashion as a buyer. I tried working in
fashion, but found that I didn’t love working for someone else in such a
cutthroat industry. I have found my way back to the industry that I went to
school for, nutrition. I run a nutrition company called Nutritious Balance, and
an image consulting company called, Styled by Sheena. I am also expanding on my career as a model and performer by taking
acting classes. I hope to work on some short films and to do some TV hosting in
the near future.
IM: What do you think is the most exciting thing
about being a model? Sheena: Not knowing where my next
paycheck is coming from. It sounds stressful, but stress is also a type of
excitement. Models don’t make that much money, so every day is a fight to
survive. I love the excitement of always striving to be my best and to land the
next job that comes my way.
IM: Generally, what goes through your mind when
you are modeling in front of the camera? Sheena: Thinking while you are in
front of the camera is not a good thing. You want to look relaxed, and I
usually look angry or pensive when I’m thinking, which isn’t usually what a
photographer is going for. I try to be relaxed and convey emotion through my
eyes and lips.
IM: How would you describe your personal style? Sheena: Edgy, but classic, with
feminine and sensual sensibilities. BCBG Max Azria is my all time favorite
brand. As I do more TV hosting and film work, I’m gravitating towards wearing
fitted suiting dresses and clothes with long lines that elongate my body. I
love nude heels.
IM: What’s the most bold fashion statement you
have ever made? Sheena: I don’t know if I have one
“most bold” fashion statement. I love wearing jumpsuits, dresses, and making my
own accessories. I have some necklaces and purses that I created myself. I love
combining vintage items with well-tailored clothes. I always try to be
overdressed. If I’m the most dressed-up person at a party, I think that is a
IM: Models that you look up to the most? Sheena: I love Twiggy, who was big
in the 1960s. Her work is art. That’s something that I love about modeling, is
that you get to make art through your own image.
IM: Any favorite designers? Sheena: Max and Lubov Azria. They
run BCBG Max Azria and have designers working for them. Lubov Azria is
creative director of the company, and I’ve loved their clothes since I
high school. It is my go-to store. Besides BCBG Max Azria, I tend to
places like Century 21 where you can get great brands for cheap. I’ll
combine good quality staple wardrobe pieces with basics. If I need some
comfy tees and
casual dresses, I go to H&M and Forever21. Most of my dressed up
BCBG Maz Azria. I love AG jeans for denim.
IM: What’s your dream assignment? Sheena: I want to be a Guess girl.
I’ve always loved the aesthetic that Guess has in its commercial and print
campaigns. It’s always more about the models than the clothes. Most fashion
brands, naturally, try to shine the light on their clothes, not the models.
That makes Guess a unique opportunity for models to show off their
personalities and be a face of a brand, not just a model.
IM: What do you think is the best thing about
the New York modeling scene? Sheena: The thing I love about New
York in general, not just about modeling, is that you can be anywhere at any
time. If I have an audition downtown, I can make it downtown and then back to
wherever I have work that day. I network everywhere I go. I meet people that
are as hard working and willing to collaborate as I am. New York is a giant work
space in that way. It’s a great place to start your career. I’m so glad that
I’ve gotten to spend a large chunk of my 20s in New York City.
IM: What’s do you enjoy doing the most when not
working? Sheena: I’m fortunate that I’m
finding ways to incorporate everything that I love into my career. I used to
just model and compete in pageants for fun, now it’s a part of my career. I
used to blog for fun, now it’s a part of my marketing strategy. I used to read
novels for fun, lately I read business and finance books to help grow my
businesses and personal brand.
Some things that I enjoy doing that I don’t blast to all of my social media
accounts is ride my bike, swim, hike, travel, and of course spend time with my
friends and family.
IM: Any useful tips that you have picked up
while modeling? Sheena: Modeling and more
importantly, pageantry, has helped me come out of my shell. Modeling
has become very natural to me, but when I was starting out, I
was very shy. I was taught to be demure and conservative growing up, so
vulnerable and putting myself out there was challenging, but also very
My new challenge is acting. In continuing to grow as a performer, acting is the
logical next step. I’m comfortable as a model now and the only way to continue
to push myself is to get on stage and in front of a camera and learn to play a
Acting requires a different type of vulnerability than modeling and pageants. Learning
how to push myself to be vulnerable is the most challenging part. It’s scary,
but that’s what I love and probably the biggest thing that I’ve learned from
being in this industry.
IM: Finally, tell us a bit about your plans for
the future? Sheena: I’m taking some acting classes
this winter and I want to act in film and TV. I’m not sure exactly what
ahead further into the future. Perhaps I’m destined to be a TV
gal, like Giada, or perhaps I will be the next Penelope Cruz. I don’t
want to pigeonhole myself into just being a food/nutrition TV
personality, so I hope to
keep the nutrition and food separate from my acting career. But I’m
of my energy into my acting career and my nutrition business separately
seeing where things go from here.