Fashion world: Make hay while the sun shines

Kakoli Sengupta

Joy knows no bounds for Jayshree. Her hard work has finally paid off. She is shifting to New York, where she has been spotted by a production house.

After winning Miss Talented at the Femina Miss India Contest 1996, she took to the modelling world. But today she has no qualms about leaving the world of glitz and glamour for greener pastures.

A film making course she chanced upon, made her shift to a completely new trajectory. Today, she thanks her good fortune for doing so and reveals some bitter truths about the glossy world of modelling.

“The world of modelling is very shallow; it all depends on how you look, how you speak and not what you speak. It is a very claustrophobic profession; you give out things which you don’t realize in order to get material things. I have seen this industry from a close view I know what it takes to be a top model,” she tells us.

Jayshree is not the only one who looks for new avenues in life. The uncertainty and ambiguity has forced many others to follow the suit. With cut-throat competition on the ramp, short-lived career and shrinking pay cheques, more and more models are either allured to other professions or are saving enough for the rainy day.

“Modelling is a profession which is not going to last forever, so one should have a back up plan in mind” says ace model Jesse Randhawa.

“I have always invested my money at good places which give me good returns” she adds. Apart from a successful modelling career, Jesse is also an actor and a professional dancer, a profession she kept as a back up of her career.

Similarly Pia Trivedi, model and anchor reveals, “Saving has always been a rule with me, most of my salary goes into saving.”

The thumb rule of any industry is demand and supply. In the world of modelling where the supply is more than its demand, climbing the ladder of success is increasingly getting difficult. Further, the advent of models from abroad (especially Latin America and East Europe) has made things worse. Most of them charge a rate lesser than their Indian counterparts and often have no hang ups.

Even fame seems to shy away from the models, as the actors from tinsel town steal away the limelight on and off the ramp. Apparently, the scenario is worse for male models. Most of them keep a back up plan for themselves. Sahil Shroff, a popular face on the ramp as well as in commercials, has already started working on his digital security business project, a venture he can always fall back upon.

He advises “Any professional model has to have a plan B. Till the time you reach a certain level, do not leave academics unless you are working a lot in this industry,” he says. Sahil has a master’s degree in applied informatics and is arguably well educated.

However, insecurity and uncertainty are not the only factors that lead models to explore new routes. Sapna Kumar and Michele’s Zoo, a bar at the Garden of 5 Senses in the outskirts of Delhi was an adventure to explore something new. “Well, you have something to keep your mind stimulated,” says Sapna on her venture.

Though even senior models walk with panache on the ramp, the short span of stardom on the runway cannot be overlooked.

Taking a look at the super models who once captured the fancy of the shutterbugs, we find that most of them have either turned to Bollywood or have branched out to creative ventures of their own.

Model, emcee, grooming expert and choreographer Meher Bhasin argues, “Who says the career is short-lived? It provides you with options” Her colleague Lisa Verma too quit modelling to become a fashion choreographer. “I thought people had got bored with my face so let me do something else,” she says.
Once Ben Stiller said in ‘Zoolander’ - “I`m pretty sure there`s a lot more to life than being really, really good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.”

Models seem to take this advice to heart these days.