Born and bred in Dubai, with his roots in Srinagar, Aarsh Khan graduated in architecture though he nurtured a dream of making it big in modeling. The rough- and- tough young footballer and academic held onto this dream and tentatively embarked on his journey as a hobby, after which he decided to pursue what made him happy… and destiny took over. Over to him.
''Born and bought up in Dubai, as a child I was fascinated with experimenting with new looks. I used to collect magazine cutouts and try to replicate the look. I remember how dressing up for Halloween used to be the most exciting thing … and then my whole cartoon network phase… following which I shifted to Fashion TV. When I was in seventh grade I was spotted by a weekly fashion newspaper in Dubai; they wanted to take a photograph of me for one of their fashion columns. That feature in the newspaper motivated me to consider pursuing a career in modelling…
Back from Dubai to my hometown, Srinagar, for high school, i later ending up in Delhi to pursue a degree in Architecture. Although I got involved in modelling as a hobby little did I know that my childhood fascination would make me consider modelling as full time profession!! Had I not been a model, I may have been an actor, a football player, an artist or maybe an architect. In fact, I think I would have tried all of these career options as I love to take up new challenges in life. That said, I am a professional model today but I never thought of myself as handsome and charming! I was a rough- tough kind of guy in school… captain of the football team… I loved it so much I didn't care about my looks! In high school I got a lot of attention from the whole school and realised that I do have charisma!! So I worked on developing an individual style. I believe that style is a form of self-expression and also a means of communication. The way we dress gives everyone around us the first impression on who we are so I always dress the best I can as it makes me feel good and as its said — the first impression is the last impression.
Competition is fierce and staying fit is an integral part of the profession but fitness comes easy for me as it's not something I force myself to do; it's a part of my lifestyle! I love going to the gym everyday! In fact it's the best part of my day. I love to eat clean and cook my own protein- rich meals in the morning, which consists of lean chicken, fish, eggs, vegetables and brown rice. After a few minutes stretching and a dose of black coffee, I hit the gym for two hours — it starts with a warm-up or cardio followed by an hour of weight training and then HIIT and functional training. Honestly I don’t know how the time flies when I'm in the gym. On the day of a shoot, of course, I wake up earlier than usual, hit the gym and prepare my meals so I'm ready for an amazing time!
Speaking of work, I think the best career advice was given to me by my father when I was struggling with formal education and the work I loved. It was then he said, 'the best career is the one in which you're using the skills you enjoy and when you actually come back home from a very exhausting day at work but still have a smile on your face as you enjoyed that exhausting day, spending it doing the things you love and learning new things that interest you. That's what you should be doing in life.' He has been my strongest support and always gave me the liberty to choose what I wanted to do; when I told him that I wanted to pursue modeling even though I was working on a degree in Architecture, he only said, 'it is you who has to live each day with the decision you make so do what you love and everything else will fall into place.' So i put my heart and soul into modeling. I believe that any project you undertake is a way for you to know yourself better, to hone your skills. I would say, we should take on as many projects as we can and give our hundred per cent, so that that tomorrow when we look at our work, we realise that there was no project that did not add up to our value. I also believe that in a world that can seem mundane, we must opt for projects that are versatile, lets us experiment and takes us out of our comfort zone; only then can a person grow and thrive. So, my methodology is to go for quantity, secured firmly in place with quality and versatility. Now that's a winning combination!!
With so many problems plaguing us these days i.e. climate change, plastic pollution, deforestation, loss of coral reefs and biodiversity, water scarcity, just to name a few, I think the fashion industry can do a lot to save the planet and the way to do that is sustainable fashion. It is considerate of humanity and the environment, reducing the environmental impact wherever possible. The goal is to have a system which works without leaving a negative footprint. Fashion is one of the biggest industries of the world, and when we take a step, people notice and people follow. That's why it becomes our responsibility to employ fame to sensitise people about thing that make a huge difference to our planet. You can start with simple things, like recycling of old material, reusing the same clothes on different occasions, and reducing consumption of material that is not planet- friendly. I believe if we are determined, we can achieve great things and this time it's for our own home, the earth. Looking at the future post- Corona Virus- I think that everything and everyone is really uncertain right now. I'm positive that as soon as things get better, we all will find ourselves back, doing the things we love… harder than ever before. I will continue doing what I love the most as soon as the pandemic leaves us… and I hope I get some good projects. Till then I'm busy experimenting with new stuff that keeps me happy and helps me grow as a person and as a performer.''
— Jasmeen Dugal