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How to become a successful model

Last updated on: September 12, 2013 13:38 IST

How to become a successful model

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Four male models on their first breaks, their struggles, their learnings and what it takes to become a successful model.

Krishna Chaturvedi: Be confident, be normal, walk straight

Which part of India do you belong to?

I come from Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. I am a BCom graduate from Delhi University.

Was it difficult for you to enter modelling?

Since I was a teenager I knew I wanted to be a model. As a young boy I was always fascinated by supermodels. I always followed who won the Grasim and Gladrag competitions and wanted to be a model.

How long have you been into modelling?

It is almost more than two years now.

What was your first break into modelling?

I got my first chance to do modelling through Men’s Fashion Week in Delhi for Van Huesen.

Designers you have walked the ramp for?

I have walked for Varun Bahl, Rohit Gandhi, Rahul Khanna and Rohit Bal.

Your first ramp experience...

I was so nervous when I walked the ramp for the first time but all these designers are so good that they cheer you up, motivate you and give you the courage and calm to do it.

I was very conscious when I walked the ramp for the first time. The first thing going on in my mind was to just walk naturally as told by these designers. Because when you are on ramp you think a lot and you try very hard to try different things but that doesn’t work.

5 most important dos for male models when they walk the ramp...

Be confident, be normal, walk straight, maintain your poise when you pose for photographers and have a pleasing expression on your face.

Mantras that make a model successful...

  • Be confident and stop worrying about competition because these days every guy has a good physique, good muscles but I don’t think gymming too much helps models make a mark for themselves.
  • It’s all about having a right body frame.
  • Have a god jaw line. Don’t be too lean or too bulky.
  • Be different when it comes to your attitude and not looks
  • If you have the right attitude modelling is for you

Fitness mantras

  • I do mix martial arts. I don’t do strenuous workouts; I gym only three days in a week
  • I also love free style workouts like functional exercises. Being an athlete in my college days helped me a lot
  • I love Tae Kwon Do

Male and female model you admire the most...

Tony Luke is my very good friend but I admire him a lot as a model. I love the way he has shaped his career. I think he is one of the best male models in India.

Female models... actually there are so many I can name... I love all female models. Actually it is a very difficult question but if I have to name names it should be Carol Gracias and Noyonika Chatterjee. I met her in Delhi once and she was very sweet to me and down to earth.

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Image: Krishna Chaturvedi
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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Sunny Kamble: I face discrimination because of my dark skin but it doesn’t matter

Which part of India do you belong to?

I am 23, and I was born and raised in Mumbai. I did my BCom from Bhawan’s College, Andheri, a Mumbai suburb.

Were you a good student in school and college?

Not very good. I was not even an average student, but somehow I managed to finish my graduation.

Why did you choose modelling as a career?

I was inspired by my brother who was also a model but is now a photographer. He used to model as a collegian and being a teenager seeing my brother’s physique and the glamour world that he was a part of drew me to modelling. But it was only when I was 20 I thought of seriously getting into the modelling  career.

Your first break...

I did my first shoot with Vikram Bawa for an editorial shot for Femina. It was a very big thing for me as I was then still in college and got a chance to work with Vikram Bawa.

First ramp experience

My first biggest break was Lakme Fashion Week. I auditioned for Lakme Fashion Week for 4 times. I knew it would be like a big career break if I managed to get an assignment for LFW.

I used to drain myself out working on my physique, looks and poise to get selected in the audition. Finally, fifth time proved lucky for me and I made it on the ramp.

How did you cope with failure?

When you fail, you put in more efforts t better the next time. Each of my four failures helped me make more improvements. I would learn from my mistakes, iron those out and look forward to my next audition.

It is disheartening but if you focus your aggression and focus in right direction success follows you. That’s what I did.

Did you ever feel like quitting modelling?

It happens sometimes. You feel very low when there is not much work happening your way. But as I said earlier these things shouldn’t bother you. You need to channelize your energies to motivate yourself when you are sitting idle and get surrounded by negative thoughts.

Your first ramp walk...

It was for Krishna Mehta at LFW in 2009 or 2010. I don’t remember it exactly. The experience was out of the world. It is one of the best shows I have done till date. It was unbelievable, almost a surreal experience.

I was wearing an Indian outfit, with smoky eyes and I got very good reviews and compliments for my look and outfit.

I had lot of butterflies in my stomach during my debut. It was my first show but the feeling that you get when you enter the ramp is very difficult to describe.

I was a teeny bit nervous but it went off as soon as I began walking the ramp.

Krishna Mehta, one of the warmest designers I have come across, helped a lot by allaying my nerves.

Basics of being a good model

  • Never overdress
  • Don’t try too hard
  • Let your attitude take over your nerves
  • Don’t let what other people say or talk about you, bother you when you are on the ramp
  • Always take all kinds of feedback from people, learn from what people say about your weaknesses

Does the fashion world discriminate against dark skin? Did you feel any discrimination because of it and how did you cope with it?

Like people everywhere, we have people who don’t like dark skin and there are people who love you because of your dark complexion. Fashion industry is no different.

At a personal level, I face a hell lot of discrimination when it comes to my dark skin but that doesn’t make me feel sad. It further strengthens me. This happens mostly when I audition for commercials. The casting directors are pretty harsh. They look at your dark skin and they are like you do not fit the character.

But then I know modelling is not about skin colour. It’s about the person you are, your style and your attitude. Whether dark, fair or wheatish, you are a good model if you are a good model; there should not be any colour discrimination. But the world is not yet an uptopia.

I have been modelling since last five years and I have learnt to cope up with it. I tell myself not to bother about such minor things in life. Besides, there are lot of designers, fellow models who love to work with me and that is what encourages me more than the discriminations that depresses me.

Fitness regime

  • I used to be a hardcore workout freak. I used to gym for more than two hours everyday but that made me very bulky. But for the ramp frame I had to cut down on my heft
  • Now, I follow a basic workout, like working on just toning up one body part a day and a little bit of cardio
  • Finally, I eat clean, do normal workout for 4 to 5 days a week and do not indulge in oily foods

But you smoke? Is that healthy?

No, it does affect my stamina. I have cut down a lot. I want to quit but it is pretty difficult. But I am trying.

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Image: Sunny Kamble
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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Freddy Daruwala: I had been rejected more than 100 times and here I am giving an interview to you

Which part of India do you belong to?

I belong to western region of India. I am from Gujarat, Surat to be precise.

How did you break into modelling?

I did Mr India World in 2007 which I won and after that I was flooded with offers from all the big companies. Gradually, I established myself as a fashion model and now aspire to work in films.

Tell us about your days of struggle as a model before you won the Mr India World...

When you are in a small town there is not lot of exposure, so you have to keep yourself aware of what’s happening in the world outside. Internet and newspapers play a big role as a source of information that you need.

I’d like to avoid the word struggle because there is nothing like struggle. There is something called as beginner’s stage. Any new business or job or profession has a beginner’s stage when you learn a lot of new things, you groom yourself and begin to do a lot of things for the first time.

I have learnt a lot of things from people, by observing them, by networking with them. At that stage you should always look out for your weaknesses, work on them and improve them.

At the beginner’s stage I too auditioned a lot of times, was rejected for my weaknesses but I worked upon them and you see me here today.

I can’t even tell you the number of times I faced rejection. Rejections bring disappointments with them.

How do you deal with dejection and disappointment?

Failure is always a part of your journey. First accept your failures and when you do that start improving upon your weaknesses.

Lessons learnt from rejections

  • I was first rejected for being very lanky. We can’t do with people who look so weak and lean. That taught me to work upon my body and I built a very good physique
  • Then I was rejected for my attitude on the ramp and then I worked on my attitude and expressions and perfected them to the need of designers
  • Now I have reached a stage where I want to work in films. Now people are saying ‘tumhari acting main itna dum nahi hai’ (you are not a good actor). So I improved upon that. Now, people are saying you need to work on your Hindi diction, so I am trying to improve upon those weaknesses
  • It is very, very important to listen to what people have to say about your weaknesses and take action to iron those out
  • Take criticisms positively and work on your weaknesses is the biggest lesson I have learnt from more than 100 rejections I have faced in life till now
  • It is human nature to make mistakes but to learn from them is what helps you reach your goals

Must dos for male models when on ramp...

  • A model should be very, very, very composed from within when on ramp. Your outfits, howsoever smart or zany will never hide the turmoil undergoing inside you. If you are conscious, it shows on ramp, your nervousness, your fears get reflected on the ramp
  • It is important for a model to meditate and work on his composure and balance when faced with these kinds of emotions and when he enters the ramp he looks cheerful and confident
  • Be very balanced and focused on the ramp. Be physically fit, don’t get scared, listen to what show directors have to say because every designer has a way of showing off her/his creation
  • Always believe that you are different from other models and that is the reason you are there. You should carry that style, confidence and panache when you walk the ramp. Otherwise, body toh sabki ban jati hai (everybody else has got a great body).  Only few models are able to show off their personalities on the ramp and that is the reason why there are so many ‘good models’ and so few ‘very good models’
  • In this industry being good is equal to being bad in this competitive world. If you are good, you are a nobody, but if you are the best you are somebody. Now, it depends what you want to be

Your success mantras...

Always be eager to learn. Even today I get scolded by show directors and I listen to their criticisms patiently so that I don’t repeat those mistakes again.

I always try to keep alive my sense of learning so that I do what the show director or the designer expects of me.

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Image: Freddy Daruwala
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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Robbie Mairh: You are a superstar. Live like a star, die like a star

Which part of India do you belong to?

I belong to Haryana. I am from Rewari, a very small town there. I have been modelling for past 7 years and I have done some great work for Valentino and Burberry in London.

In India I have been faced for Levi’s and Monte Carlo.

Your first break...

You will find it a little filmi. When I was 20 or so I was very restless and didn’t know what to do with my life. So, I went and stayed in Rishikesh for seven months, lived like a hippie, had grown a big beard and long hair.

I had earlier done my graduation from Venkateswara College in Delhi and later through distance learning from Delhi University. Later did my diploma in travel and tourism and worked in the hospitality industry for a year or so. But I was not enjoying what I was doing. During that period I travelled extensively through Uttaranchal; I was completely lost in my life. I had no clue what I was doing. But travelling like a hippie gave me a high.

One day I met a photographer in Rishikesh who was shooting for a foreign company. Looking at my long hair and beard he mistook me for a foreigner and asked me if I could become a part of backdrop where a lot of foreigner girls were modelling. Later, he realised that I was actually an Indian.

He was taken aghast when I spoke with him in Hindi and told him that I am a Rajput from Rewari, Haryana.

He advised me to come to Delhi and see if he could help me with getting modelling assignments. When I met him he offered me an assignment for The Times of India.

He liked my pictures and then he his best advice was he asked me not to stay in Delhi and go to Bombay. Six months after this suggestion I was in Mumbai in 2006.

Your first ramp experience...

I still get goosebumps when I think about it. I get the same feeling even today when I begin to enter the ramp. My passion for modelling and fashion has not decreased at all: Whether I am a model for Troy Costa or in house model for Manish Malhotra or Rohit Bal or Arjun Khanna or for Valentino.

For me walking the ramp is an amazing experience.

Definitely, I was nervous when I walked for the first time on the ramp. The first step you take on the ramp and you forget your goosebumps as you are faced with scores of flashbulbs, photographers and audience all eyeing you from their own vantage positions.

My first walk on the ramp was for Tuscan Verve, one of the biggest brands in India in 2010.

5 things male models must do while on the ramp

  • First and foremost: Believe in yourself
  • Don’t pay undue attention to people’s empty talks: You are walking the ramp because you have been chosen. Justify your presence on the ramp. Just be confident and give it a wholehearted go. Get out on the ramp and soak in the atmosphere
  • Feel that you are the best model in town and every eye is focussed on you
  • A lot of young people come to me and ask: Can I become a model? That is one question I don’t understand. If you have such doubts how can you become a model in the first place?
  • I ask such people: What do you think about yourself? I tell them just one thing: Feel like a superstar, believe in your stardom and the whole world will be at your feet
  • Don’t have second thoughts about your ability. There are so many people there to make you look good, to make you feel good. Just go out and have fun. You are a start. You are a superstar. Live like a star, die like a star

Fitness regime

Being a huge bhakt (follower) of Shiva I do lot of meditation. I believe in Him.


Image: Robbie Mairh
Photographs: Rajsh Karkera/Rediff.com

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