Divyam Bidhuri had a meteoric rise from tall, thin acne- prone schoolboy to a teen sensation whose unique look — long hair, angular features and confident walk — will catapult him into the upper echelons of Fashion. Over to him.
''My passion for modeling began at a very early age. I clearly remember when I was in the fifth grade, I watched a few fashion shows on FTV, and man was I awestruck by the tall, stunning models with their phenomenal cat walk. Yes, I was fascinated but not sure about considering modeling as a career path. Few months later on my first day in the sixth grade, my maths teacher told me I should give modeling because I was 'tall and skinny'. That was the point I took a decision to pursue modelling; coming from a mathematics teacher, there must've been something to it right? Observing the different people in the profession I got increasingly engulfed by its potential. and began working on myself. From getting myself trained by the best mentors in the field at fifteen to modeling at sixteen, it wasn't the most easy situation to handle as a student!! Well, I began getting attention at seventeen and there was no looking back since. I was determined to be a professional full- time model. Who would I have been if not a model? Since my school days, I've been artistically inclined i.e. sketching, painting and any form of artistic self expression. So keeping that in mind and my taste for infrastructural creativity, I would have been an interior designer, if not a model.
It wasn't an easy path. I had to build myself from the ground up. Struggling with acne at a young age had its consequences. Imagine a tall dorky fellow with an acne problem… you know school kids aren't the most empathetic with comments!! So yes, my appeal today is an aura of hard work, strength and perseverance. What I take pride in now was something I used to be insecure of and that's how we all grow. I also work on developing my personal style. I wear what I like. Be it leather or velvet, Nineties Versace or Eighties shoulder pads, it's all a part of my repertoire. And, of course, I work on my body and diet. I just try to eat healthy most of the time, avoiding junk food. At times, I take a break from dieting as I'm a foodie. Who doesn't like a good pizza, right? I workout whenever I have time, which can be from daily or weekly. But I follow a balanced disciplined diet before fashion weeks!! That said, I am grateful to Aparna Bahl Bedi who shaped my career with her advice. She came to me at Blenders Pride Fashion Tour and told me in front of all models there, ''You've got so much talent! You're young, you're gorgeous and your walk is just my favourite! You're truly made for the International market! Do not forget that not everybody is going love you here and not everybody's going to love the way you work but don't let it affect you because you are perfect just the way you are.' That struck a chord and since then I don't let people's negative opinions about me get me down! Today, my goal is to walk for International fashion weeks and I have been receiving projects and offers from Paris, New York and Milan, but for now, I want to focus on my personal development. So, when I hit the international ground, it's calm waters. My mother agency, Inega Management, is working on it. I do not have collaborations coming up right now, but keep yourself updated, because you never know *wink*.
I always choose good projects over a number of average gigs. Sure, when you're new you take every opportunity that comes your way but when you have created a niche, work on your style and create your brand. There are a lot of ways to get work done here, so every step we take should be towards building an exclusive brand. For example, I was chosen to walk for the finale at India Fashion Week. It was themed 'Saree' so most models were female, except two. Gautam Kalra chose me for a stunning outfit by Little Shilpa with a headgear. Since it was my first time walking with head gear and an avant garde outfit, I was thrilled yet nervous. Before the show, my friend Nikita Sahay assured me, 'You got this! You've got it inside you to slay the ramp that's why you're here'! I got a lot of attention during that show because it's rare to see androgynous looks and I'm so honoured to have been picked for it. I would also like to add here that a male model asked me if I was walking for the finale. When I replied that I was, he said, 'I'd never do that. Who would want to walk in a saree?' That boosted my confidence because that's how we change the world, don't we? My point of view is simple. As a 'model' whatever garment is given to us, it's our job and responsibility to make it look good.
Today I feel successful. For me, success is being proud where you are and wanting to grow more. From being selected for Elite Model Look at sixteen to walking for Manish Malhotra at eighteen, the fifth grade kid who longed for his dreams to come true would for sure be proud of who he is seven years later. That is success. That said, I feel like there are less opportunities for new male models in terms of getting noticed by the right people. There should be male auditions for fashion weeks to increase inclusivity. Also, we should get paid on time; be it male or female, models' payments take weeks to arrive. Third, I wish we could kill the stigma about modelling as a career! It's tricky. The harsh truth of modelling is it's short-lived. But, once you step into the world of fashion, its dynamics make you adaptive. Yes, at some point I'll have to diversify into acting or influencer and I'm also working on my degree.
The future is uncertain due to the outbreak of the pandemic and lockdown. Work will not begin for a few months. This is necessary because safety of the people is a priority, right? We should use this time for personal reflection and building ourselves Work out, follow a proper diet, do yoga and meditation; all of this act as detoxifying agents. This pandemic has brought us together in ways beyond us and has clicked the reset button for nature. As much as I'm waiting for people to get cured and healthy, I'm exited how we all clicked the reset button. It's a crucial time for humanity, not just models, businessmen or engineers. We all have been living for money and success; now is the time to live for ourselves and our families… support our government with the right steps and acting responsibly. We will all come out of this, and I’m sure, the next fashion week is going to be pushing all gears.''
— JASMEEN DUGAL