Laura Arumugam is a content creator known for her stunning travel shots and passion for fitness. On Instagram, her account boasts nearly 75,000 followers even as her traveling has slowed down during the pandemic. We got the chance to chat with her in between her busy schedule to talk everything from modeling to the art of the ‘gram.
Grit Daily: For the uninitiated, what are the few career “hats” that you wear?
Laura Arumugam: My primary profession is modeling, which I’ve pursued now for over 5 years. Some of the more recognizable brands I’ve modeled in campaigns for are MAC, Bobbi Brown, Apple, Surratt, Tiffany’s, and Kiss Cosmetics. I have been featured in magazines such as Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, Paper, and Vogue to name a few. I decided to use my followers I gained throughout my years of modeling to propel my influencer career. I’m still at a primitive stage and am very selective about who I work with. So far my major social media partnership has been with Revolve. Another minor venture for me has been assisting brands with their influencer campaigns. I am affiliated with so many influencers and brands so it naturally made sense to unite the two and execute collaborations.
GD: What was the spark that got you into modeling?
LA: Ah, the “spark” that got me into modeling started when I was around 12 years old. I was a child model and did some print work for Disney and local department stores in Florida. Ever since I could remember I loved anything that would allow me to explore my artistic and creative expression. I felt modeling did just that. I took a break during high school and college, but eventually felt compelled to give modeling another try and moved to NYC to legitimize myself.
GD: You had some interesting entrepreneurial ventures as a youth. Share those.
LA: During my adolescent years I was very zealous. Aside from modeling, I competed in pageants all over the country. As a title holder, I committed to being active in my community. I’d volunteer with animal shelters, read to children, and make public appearances to support different charitable groups. On the weekends my parents would drive me to an acting school a couple hours away in Tampa. Throughout high school I would virtually audition for small TV show and movie roles. Ultimately, spreading myself thin helped me introspectively in understanding the importance of prioritizing.
GD: It seems like you’re constantly traveling. How do you stay organized?
LA: Anyone who knows me knows I am almost always on a plane or in a different city. Realistically, I do try to stay grounded when I can in NYC. Having resided here for six years, I’ve felt the overall taxing effects of the city life. As a result, I can’t help but feel drawn to travel opportunities when they do arise. After each trip, there’s usually a feeling of fatigue or jet lag. Subsequently, I try and recuperate by having a few days to myself to catch up on self care as well as domestic, personal, and work related obligations. I’m constantly optimizing for minimalism so when I pack I only bring things I’ll use and I keep my belongings compartmentalized to avoid any clutter and impediments.
GD: Diet can be tough on the road. What are your tips to stay fit and eat well?
LA: If i’m traveling to a new destination, I always opt to discover the local cuisine and familiarize myself with their culinary traditions. Overall I lean towards ordering cleaner food with less meat, sugar, dairy, chemicals, or preservatives. I often will pack a few safety backup snacks to hold me over for emergencies. Presumably most airports sell packaged fruit and nuts. I tend to purchase grapes, almonds, pistachios, hummus, and raw veggies to keep me fueled through the flight.
I buy coconut water too because it keeps me hydrated yet replenishes me with electrolytes for energy. I try to book hotels with fitness centers in them so I can start my day with a quick workout before I go explore. I have a few short Pilates videos saved to my phone I’ll practice in the room if there’s no gym. If there’s no time to workout, then I try to walk as much as I can, instead of taking Ubers or public transportation to each attraction.
GD: Which brands are you working with next?
LA: It appears coronavirus has significantly impaired the fashion industry over the past few months but as NYC begins to reopen I am optimistic in a gradual resurgence. Many of the influencers, models, designers, and photographers I know have been coming together to support one another. Work has been reduced, but the seldom jobs left have become more creative and inventive. Given the current situation, my influencer career has taken precedence. The next brand I’ll be collaborating with on social media is one another model and friend of mine Manuela Basilio founded — called “Malaia Jewelry.” The word Malaia means freedom, signifying every woman should be free to be whoever they want to be. I personally prefer working with brands like Manuela’s that empower women to feel as if they have no limitations.