SKIN FOR SKIN
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Last week, an image of a voluptuous, semi-nude woman, with luscious hair covering her vital assets, was splashed in some newspapers. The first response may be sympathy for animals as the words 'Save Tiger' and 'Save Peacock', inked sloppily on the model's arms and back, stare at you. But the very next instant, you notice the messy grammar as well as the tackiness of the image.
However Kavita Radheshyam, a small-time actor from Mumbai, who posed for these pictures, didn't find anything awry with them. In fact, she "felt confident that people would empathise with animals" and become aware about the dwindling numbers of tigers. Her assumption wasn't entirely off the mark. When Radheshyam sent her pictures to International Organisation for Animal Protection (OIPA), a UN-affiliated animal welfare group, they promptly signed her on as brand ambassador. "After I finished my photo-shoot in the buff, I wrote to various animal groups, asking them if they were interested in my photos. Only OIPA showed interest," gushes the 26-year-old.
She is not the only one who has, in the last few months, sought a short cut to fame through exposing. After Kingfisher Calendar girl Poonam Pandey "offered" to strip to the nude for Team India if they won the Cricket World Cup, Peta approached her for an animals rights campaign. She didn't respond to them. But Peta seems to know how to fire their shots. Take the instance of 24-year-old Mumbai-based actress Liza Malik who was suddenly in the news after a bookie allegedly harassed her to fix a match during the IPL 4 season. She had apparently become friendly with a cricketer during Dancing Queen, a dance show on Colors, and the bookie wanted to exploit her closeness to some players. She was ruffled enough for Peta to notice. They approached her for a series of pictures against the use of real leather in cricket balls. They needed someone who would shed her clothes. She needed a way to whitewash her tarnished reputation through a "good deed". She signed up and was soon seen posing with a huge cut out of a white leather ball, covering her strategically. "Animal love" had little to do with her decision.