Ashutosh Malik caved in to societal pressure of a stable career in construction and gave up his passion for modelling. Until life gave wings to his dreams with synchronicity — a gym mate introduced him to a top designer… and there was no looking back. In conversation with the young man who is gracing the billboards, the campaigns and the catwalk.
''Everyone, at some point in their life, aspires to be an actor or model and I was no different. I pursued modelling during college, but after I completed education, societal pressure of a stable career took over; sadly, I caved in and gave up my passion. I worked hard for a couple of years only to realise that though I was successful at my construction business, I wasn't happy; that's when I hit the gym to work on my body! Coincidently, a gym mate connected me to his friend who was a top designer and… I got the show! Though I wasn't paid for it since I was new and from a business background, I was grateful for this opportunity to walk the ramp again. Moreover it was at this show that some casting agents spotted me and advised me to give professional modelling a shot. That fired me up! Though I couldn't dedicate my complete time to it, I worked flexible hours and gave time to my business and my passion!
Personally speaking, initial failure didn't dishearten me; each rejection was an experience. I worked on becoming a better model and today too I'm learning and evolving. I set new goals everyday! I take a lot of pride in my achievements and I feel humility and perseverance makes me a good model. That said, to achieve something, we all have to go through hardship, physically and mentally; staying fit is part of the job. What young models don't understand is, bulking up and pumping iron doesn't equate to fitness!! A fashion model is required to be of a certain physique; not too muscular and not too lean. And yeah one should have stamina to shoot long hours and yet maintain a physique! So I work on myself constantly. In fact I keep things simple like a high protein, low carb diet. I limit workout to an hour, designating twenty minutes to cardio, twenty minutes to weights and twenty mins to abs. Apart from the body, a model has to work on his appearance, personal hygiene and clothing; these things are as important as physique and height!
Professionally, I’m happy with the way my career is shaping. And I have fond memories which I'd love share! My biggest campaign was for Anita Dongre! Just a month before the shoot, I was down with illness and low on confidence; this campaign turned things around! While shooting in Jaisalmer, I picked up a local kid to improvise! It meant the world to him and after the shoot, folk dancers and kids gathered around for selfies; it was the most amazing feeling!! Stuff dreams are made of… just giving them moments of joy meant so much! It made me proud to be a model. Another fond memory — in college I dreamt of walking for Manish Malhotra someday; though I laughed at the thought then, when the moment arrived, I remember pinching myself before taking the ramp alongside Deepika Padukone!! God has been kind.
So it's no wonder 'contentment' is the word for me. There is so much to learn, so much to achieve; it's a short life and you should make the most of opportunities. There is a saying in Fashion, 'one day you are in, the next day you can be out.' I live by it and am as enthusiastic about each assignment like it's my first and as content like it's my last and surprisingly I always get another one. A simple career mantra — do whatever makes you happy and give it your heart and soul. Results will follow! And I would love to share some nuggets for freshers — modelling provides livelihood to many but it's short lived. I make houses for a living and modelling is the air I breathe; I cannot live without either!!"
— JASMEEN DUGAL