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IN CONVERSATION WITH SHAFAN SAMDANI SHEIKH

— EXPLOSIVE FASHION

A simple story of a schoolboy from Bikaner who nursed a dream of seeing himself on television one day… and worked towards it with tunnel-vision focus. CUT TO 2020. Dancer. Model. Actor. Flight Attendant. YouTuber. Shafan Samdani Sheikh is living the dream. Over to him.

 

''As a child, I found normal boring. I knew I would never be the guy who works 9 to 5. Watching Hrithik Roshan on television, and copying his dance moves, gave me so much happiness. And, just like that, dance grew into a passion. Right from my schooldays I loved reading actors' biographies so it could guide me to enter the industry. Somehow I just knew I would work in this industry. It wasn't easy though. I belong to a middle class family from Bikaner where it was expected I would become a doctor or engineer. People judge you and your choices but I decided to ignore negativity and focus on my dreams. I grew up seeing my elder brothers modelling. They inspired me to look stylish and I began observing how they pose in shoots and campaigns even though I wanted to make it on my own. I never asked my family for money so they couldn't blame me if I didn't make it. With that in mind I began earning at fifteen — I was a dance instructor in summer camps, weddings, and later, at a school. One day I hearer that there was an audition for Asia's biggest live dance show at Kingdom Of Dreams, Gurgaon. I decided to give it a shot, cleared all six rounds and got selected as front line dancer. It was a great achievement for me because it meant I would be working with some of India's top dancers. It was also a source of income and a reason for me to move to Delhi.

 

When I moved to Delhi from Rajasthan, I used to go for modeling auditions and wait hours in the queue. It made me real nervous seeing models flaunting six pack abs. And when one gets rejection it feels bad. I used to get emotional if I wasn't selected. But I believed 'No matter what, I will never give up'. I become serious about my workout and gradually fitness became a passion. I worked real hard on my physique and when I saw the results I was inspired to work harder! That said, I never had a mentor and the best piece of advice I received was from a film… I decided to become a flight attendant after seeing Ranbir Kapoor travelling the world in 'Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani'. I too aspired to travel the world and get paid… and I am living that dream today as flight attendant at Air India. People often ask me how I balance my diverse careers — modeling, aviation, dancing, reality television. I tell them that there is a voracious hunger in me to explore my potential. I challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone because life is short and I want to do everything I dreamt of so I don't have any regrets later. It was my dream right from childhood to see myself on television, and both dancing and modelling helped me to get reality show, Mtv Love School Season 4. And you know what? I feel so proud when I do such things on my own merit. I know how much hard work I've put in and I'm still doing it. I believe when your hard work and prayers of your family come together… it becomes magic.

 

Dance, I love the most. It gives me so much happiness. I'm not a trained dancer or a great one but I dance with my heart. Modelling inspires me to look good, go to the gym regularly, wear stylish clothes. And I chose aviation because I love travelling and meeting new people. I’m an extrovert and it's easy for me to make friends. With the reality show I achieved one of my childhood dreams… to see myself on television. Because I didn't have a mentor, I wasn't aware how this industry works. When I entered the sets of Mtv Love School it was a whole new world. There were cameras all around, throughout. We were not allowed to use mobile phones and there was no contact with people outside the sets. Imagine a life without mobile phones in this lockdown?! It's a horrible thought, right? The contestants didn't like me much because I was different. I always stood up for myself and took a stand about something i felt strongly about so almost all the contestants disliked me. It was also frustrating that all of them were prepared and did anything to get publicity. I, however, cannot be fake. I am who I am. I'm straightforward and I think this is what viewers loved about me. I was real. My most cherished moment in the show was the dance episode; when I performed I got a standing ovation from people on the sets. Be it judges, contestants, cameraman or crew. I then summoned the courage to ask my mentor VJ Anusha to dance with me and she did. That went viral! It is one of my most cherished moments in my journey…

 

From experience, there are some things which I wish would change in the industry — people are always looking for shortcuts to fame. They don't want to work hard, eventually start feeling helpless and give up. But, there is a lot of work in Fashion and entertainment. If you have potential you will get work. Don't lose hope!! I also wish people with potential should get encouragement rather than people with a strong background and less talent. Nepotism… That said, I believe we all are going through a bad phase due to the outbreak of the pandemic. I’ve never seen airports empty or imagined that flights would get grounded worldwide. It is unreal! We have taken so many things for granted and today we are learning its value. I believe that as soon as this is over, we will all work harder than ever. Because now we know the value of each and every thing. For me, it's an unstable financial period as modelling and aviation have ground to a halt. Insha allah I will get good projects after this pandemic and things will return to normalcy. As of now I'm spending time with family and trying to interact with more people which I don't do usually because of my hectic schedule…''
 

Shafan Samdani Sheikh
 
Shafan Samdani Sheikh
Shafan Samdani Sheikh
 
10-MAY-2020
 
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