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Confessions and Ambitions from the Runway


Richa Chaudhary encounters the good, the bad and the bizarre from the world of male modeldom with super model Sahil Salathia
RICHA CHAUDHARY | Issue Dated: August 17, 2013, New Delhi
Tags : Male models | Mr India | Sahil Salathia | Bolloywood | Fashion | Mr Asia 2012 |

Over the years the modelling industry has changed quite a bit. Especially when it comes to male models. They have always had it harder than their female counterparts.

It isn't that they lack talent. It actually is about focus. Female models get focus quite easily compared to the males. Think about Miss India. I am sure you can think of more than a few who won the competition. Now what about Mr. India? I am sure the Anil Kapoor starring film comes to your mind more readily than a model. Those who do become Mr. India gets only a small amount of publicity and then they disappear.

Their are more pressing issues. The life of a female model has been well documented and examined. Her problems such as anorexia have been spoken about quite a lot and dealt with quite a degree of success.

However, the problems of male models are much harder to solve. From using large-scale steroids to working out like crazy, young models these days have a lot of confusion on the best way to look gorgeous in from on the camera.

Heavy intensive training more often than not does heavy damage to the physique of the model. Especially in India where there is not much oversight from the government in body building products, equipments or methods. More of less it is up to the trainer who decides what regimen the model will follow. And in the absence of good literature, and a quick-gain mentality, the models take up ridiculous strategies such as smoking to kill hunger and lose weight.

The male modelling industry has likewise seen a ton of positive progressions. The passage of presumed and dependable agencies on top of the developing corporatisation of the industry, has implied today's models are better secured and better paid over their partners in the '90s. Yet the dangers of the calling remain. Male models protest secretly that savage rivalry, long days without work, and an unspoken inclination for female models have made their vocation way tricky.

However, in this bleak scenario, there are a few who have fought the clean fight and have a shining
future. What follows is an interview with one such model.

In a world that is built more around people's opinions than objective facts and statistics, how do you deal with your insecurities, people's judgment and criticisms?
Honestly, I don't take people's judgment and criticisms to heart. If it's coming from a person who knows what he is saying according to me,then, it's obviously fine because it's for my own betterment. And as far as insecurity is concerned,I believe we all have something special and unique and I anyways,never try and compete with anybody else, I always try and out-do myself. So, this helps me in being sane and makes me a more secure person in my own right!

To the world outside, there's this notion about designers both straight and gay exploiting and getting exploited by models, especially male models... What is the real truth behind the scenes?
I come from a very respectable family in Jammu and Kashmir, my dad is an inspector general in the police and my mom is a homemaker and she does extensive amount of social service. So,with a background like that which I am very proud of, I've a certain approach when it comes to people which is a very no nonsense vibe! Hence, I have never been exploited by anybody in my journey, it's been very professional and clean. Plus, my work has always been handled by one of the biggest talent management companies in Bombay called Toabh talents, I mean, I've always had a manager who handles my work. So, everything is extremely professional and it's never about discussing work over a drink.

Being cynical, what if all this does not plan out exactly how you want it to in the glam world of fashion and bollywood? What would be your Plan B?
I was doing my engineering degree in information technology when modelling happened on it's own. I never wanted to be a model but it came with it's own full fledged plan,so, I have always been God's special child and I think heaven has a plan for me! Plus, Plan B and plan C are not supposed to be discussed till you see me finish my Plan A which shall stick with me till my death bed.

Mr. Asia 2012. Please share that experience.
That was an experience of a lifetime! To get an opportunity to represent India at an international platform of that stature is completely a blessing! There were 28 countries participating right from Turkey to China! I finished as a finalist which was great! I ended up learning so much about different cultures from the models from all 28 countries. my roommate was from Singapore and I actually ended up visiting him and his girlfriend for my birthday recently. So, I did form a global friendship circuit if I may say so. I was in Macao and Hong Kong for the pageant and met so many different people at about 40 events I had to attend over there. We had to promote some of the biggest brands in China as it was in our contract. Dai-ga-ho is the way they greet people in china, so, I would say 'daigaho' and they would say 'namaste'. It's so refreshing to know that people know so much about our culture and the film industry we have over here. They would ask me about Aishwarya Rai and Aamir Khan. They are all big fans of Three Idiots, the Chinese translation of the movie of course.  

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017