Be it Mumbai or Milan, Bardeep Dhiman has blazed a trail in fashion since the day he diversified from engineering to modeling. There isn't a handful of models who could aspire to be India's answer to supermodel David Gandy, but this young man with clean-cut appearance and fit physique, has entered the league with focus, hard work and a realist positive attitude. In conversation with him.
''I hail from a family of engineers; my father was a civil engineer, one of my brothers is a computer science engineer and other, electrical. Following tradition, I took electronics and communication engineering. I had a secure career ahead of me but I had no real interest in the field! It was during these days that modeling piqued my interest. I was passionate about fitness and attracted appreciation so friends motivated me to give modeling a shot. That is when I began visualising myself as a model… I remember I used to see photographs of top models and stand in front of the mirror, thinking, 'I'm not bad' [grinning]. One fine day, I decided to shift base from Ludhiana to Delhi to try and make it in this industry. That's how I was discovered by Karma Models. Since then, 9 To 5 profession wasn't an option; there was no looking back'' he reminisces.
''Whatever I've achieved in this journey is memorable and somehow I got things when the time was right and I was ready for it. Nothing came by chance or happened suddenly. I believe in the process of the universe. Be it walking the ramp at Lakmé Fashion Week or India Fashion Week; television commercials, campaigns for Hyundai and Raymonds; for designers Rohit Bal, Raghavendra Rathore, Anushree Reddy, Siddhartha Tytler, Gaurav Gupta and brands Peter England and FBB; editorials for GQ, Maxim and Rob Report; cover of Outlook Splurge and Man… this was all a dream for me some day and it became reality when I was ready for it.'' The gravitational pull of travel aside, Bardeep's style game has been influenced by his experience overseas. ''Modelling in Milan and Paris taught me so much! Every thing about the business is taken seriously and fashion weeks are larger than life, with a much bigger production. All models have to go for casting; there are protocols for everything and it is well managed and properly planned. Models take their job very seriously as competition is real tough. In fact, the models are always on their toes, exploring different facets of themselves, getting to know the profession better, being presentable at any given time, well spoken, knowledgeable and in sync with the evolving trends…''
His self confidence, humility and straightforwardness is admirable. ''I work real hard towards a better version of myself. I truly believe in a healthy lifestyle which means eating right, regular exercise and proper sleep cycle. My brothers had keen interest in cricket but couldn't pursue it due to a situation in the family and being eldest got responsibilities way ahead of time. It's from them I imbibed that being healthy is most important. My routine is regular, nothing extraordinary. I try to eat as a requirement for body energy and not for pleasure, drink plenty of water and keep myself active. Different physical activities and learning new things piques my curiosity so i keep myself busy.''
But more than just being ridiculously good-looking, Bardeep Dhiman plays a significant part in altering the way people in general view fashion models. ''Modeling is not just about looks or being fit; it's a serious profession like any other and demands hard work. One has to be an all-rounder. A model who has reached a certain level is well educated and knowledgeable. Dumb people can't survive in this industry, trust me. There are many things a good model focuses on like camera technicalities and body language; you are always learning. Of course, I''m proactive in any project I take on; I make the ambience friendly, check that the clothes are falling perfectly on my body, fix small details, make my work shine and worthwhile. These are small things but it matters a lot in the long run. Secondly, models must avoid alcohol and drugs; of course we have exposure to glamour in the best parties but modeling is a tough job; you have to be in shape 24*7 taking care of your health, your skin and your well being. Good models take it damn seriously!''
And then he gets serious. ''Honestly, I'm living in the present, taking each day of this pandemic as it comes and making the most of time on hand. Improving my skill set, trying to reach my full potential. I love what I do and expanding my horizon in this field is what I aspire towards. I had plans of going back to Europe this year but due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown it was interrupted. Lockdown has had huge repercussions on the industry; many fashion stores are shut and people do not want to spend money on non- essentials but it will all fall into place someday. I'm sure when this pandemic is over, our careers will kickstart, reaching new heights.''
Observing him at India Couture Week last night, I saw a striking, versatile male model who would be just as confident striding down the runways of world fashion capitals. That's where we'll see him shortly, I'm quite sure. That is his destiny… when the time is right.
— JASMEEN DUGAL