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Ujjwala Raut is one of India's first successful international supermodels. Born in Mumbai to a middle-class family in Dahisar, she was one of 5 daughters of a senior policeman. (Pics/ Ujjwala Raut Instagram)
On her fond memories of childhood, Ujjwala Raut says that she had a strict middle-class upbringing. Ujjwala Raut's father (in picture) was an assistant commissioner of police. She had four other sisters and she said they always had to fight to get what they wanted because whatever they wanted, the answer was no.
Ujjwala Raut won 'Femina Look of the Year' at the Femina Miss India 1996 contest and was just a 17-year-old commerce student at the time. She was among the top fifteen in the 1996 Elite Model Look contest in Nice, France.
Ujjwala Raut was interested in modelling and fashion since her childhood. She started giving auditions when she was still studying in school. Finally, she was selected for Miss India.
Ujjwala Raut has never looked back after Miss India. She is one of the few Asian faces to make it big in the Paris and New York fashion circles.
Ujjwala Raut is touted to be India's most successful overseas supermodel. She walked the runway for Yves Saint-Laurent, Roberto Cavalli, Hugo Boss, Cynthia Rowley, Diane von Furstenberg, Dolce & Gabbana, Betsey Johnson, Gucci, Givenchy, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, and Emilio Pucci, Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
Ujjwala Raut has also posed for advertisements of Dolce & Gabbana, Gap, H&M, Pianegonda, Roberto Cavalli, and Yves Saint-Laurent.
Ujjwala Raut has graced the covers of fashion glossies like Vogue and L'Official. She also appeared on the Wendy Pepper fashion show at Bryant Park for Project Runway and was the first Indian to appear as the face of Yves Saint Laurent.
On working with high-end brands, in the same interview, Ujjwala Raut revealed that she hadn't even heard the names of the designers she was walking for in the beginning.
Ujjwala Raut's elder sister saw a pamphlet while reading a newspaper on a train journey. The pamphlet was a call out for a model contest. She took that paper and handed it over to Ujjwala and encouraged her to apply for the contest. That's how Ujjwala Raut began her career that even she didn't know would take her to great heights.
At the age of 23, Ujjwala Raut had already hit the ramp for Tom Ford. In an interview with a fashion magazine, Ujjwala had said that one day, she was called to audition for Tom Ford, and she was one of the 15 girls who was picked by his team. She thought that had made it but as she started celebrating, her agent called her and said she should tone it down because it meant nothing and that Tom Ford was known for dropping girls even on the day of the show. She suddenly got a call a few weeks later from her agent saying Tom Ford wanted to see her. She was told that the designer had decided to drop a girl and that she was to take over from her.
Ujjwala Raut' is the elder sister of model Sonali Raut. Sonali had participated in Bigg Boss 8.
In India, Ujjwala Raut created a stir by walking for every designer from Wendell Rodricks to Tarun Tahiliani. On the ramp, she wore everything from a lehenga to a gown.
When Ujjwala Raut turned 26, she married British model-turned-entrepreneur Craig Maxwell Sterry on June 19, 2004. Their daughter Ksha was born 18 months later. In January 2009, Ujjwala Raut filed for divorce in Mumbai.
Ujjwala Raut and Craig Maxwell Sterry married at David Bowie's Manhattan penthouse dressed in Yves Saint Laurent couture. The pair met on a blind date in France. Initially, they talked about eloping, but eventually decided to get married and Raut became pregnant soon later on.
Ujjwala Raut and her husband moved to Goa and had property in Alconda. She decided to resume her work as a model. Sterry who, because he was married to an Indian, was granted a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card and permitted to live in India, stayed in Goa with their daughter Ksha while Ujjwala Raut jetted back and forth.
According to reports, things took a turn for the worst when, after a series of incidents when Ujjwala Raut brought home expensive gifts from men, the two fought. Apparently, both Sterry and Raut accused the other of launching an unprovoked attack. After 5 years of marriage, Ujjwala Raut filed for divorce, claiming that both she and Ksha were frightened of Sterry.
Sterry said he has not seen his daughter for a long time and had launched his own lawsuit, stating because the couple were married in the US, Indian courts were not able to rule on their divorce.
The Home Ministry withdrew the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card issued to Craig Maxwell Sterry and he was served a deportation notice by the Goa police. The filmmaker was asked to leave the country within 72 hours. He had accused Ujjwala of 'stabbing' him and their child. Sterry, who produced 'The Bunker' starring Jason Flemming and John Carlite, gave up his career and shifted to India in 2005 after Ujjwala delivered a baby girl.
After going through a bitter custody battle, Ujjwala Raut admits that her daughter Ksha is her support system. Ksha means 'earth' and she also means the world to her. Ujjwala had enrolled Ksha for gymnastics, martial arts and swimming.
Ujjwala Raut's lifestyle is extremely luxurious. She is known to have commanded USD 15,000 a day for shoots.
Ujjwala Raut is great friends with Preity Zinta, Sussanne Khan and Surily Goel. She captioned the photo as, 'Great girls, wonderful food & fab conversation is all we need....'
Ujjwala Raut is often seen partying with her girl gang.
In pic: With Nandita Mahtani and Sussanne Khan
Ujjwala Raut with Amruta Fadnavis, she captioned the image as, ' Women are really special so let's celebrate & cherish it!! #womenempowerment #womenachievers #proudmaharashtrians
Ujjwala Raut wished her 'jaan' Preity Zinta in this adorable post... 'Happy Birthday Jaan @realpz #birthdaygirl #friendsforever #happiness #peace'
Ujjwala Raut with Sushmita Sen. Ujjwala captioned, 'Sports day + mommies= winning! #mountliteraschool'