Ojas Malla is on a roll. 6’3, he has a presence on the catwalk, done editorial for Forbes and The Man, campaigns with Blackberrys, Triumph Motorcycles and Magnifique Luxury Salon and commercials for Puma, Jabong and Vogue Prive, among other work. In conversation with him.
Why modelling when you could have settled in for a more stable career, I ask? ''I do have a corporate career but I started modelling when I was in college. I'm very ambitious and inquisitive thus, I wanted to do something bigger and better than anything I had known. I was always creative and passionate about being in front of the camera. The uncertainty is a blessing in disguise in this industry!! What makes me a good model? I have quite a hench body frame which is distinctive yet unusual in an industry full of petite models. Secondly, thanks to my Kashmiri genetics, I can pull off an Afghani or East European look easily. Lastly, I have good communication skills and am a good conversationalist..''
Do you feel there's rivalry from other models? How do you deal with it, I wonder? ''I'm a people's person and hence am amicable with fellow models. I feel that there could be more envy as opposed to rivalry. though. but I can only take responsibility for my actions; there are good and bad individuals in every industry!'' Is there a way to be creative in this field, I pursue relentlessly? ''Absolutely! Why not? Especially at Shoots. It might look easy but coming up different poses on queue, is not. It's tough extempore to improvise while posing, showing the garment and giving good expressions. Also, you have to adapt to a different persona for each shoot! In fact, my dressing sense has evolved since. This evolution has been due to coming of age and it has gotten easier for me to pull off different attires. That said, we all have our own style and way of dressing. So we must stick to it as we won't be able to pull off styles that are simply not ours!''
Finally I ask him to share some advice for new models. ''Be yourself! Don't strive to be another version of yourself or be like somebody else. Be comfortable in your own skin! Work on yourself day in and day out but don't be too harsh on yourself; take it easy. It is crucial to follow your gut! The work opportunity you think is right for you is meant for you. Don't force yourself to do something you don't desire. Remember, you'll encounter all kinds of people so it's important to conduct yourself with dignity! Lastly, due to the intense competition in Fashion, you'll have to start as a freelance model; it'll take time for you to get signed by an agency. Both worlds have pros and cons. Freelance work is scattered and hard to get but the salary you earn will be mostly your own. Whereas, under an agency's umbrella, you'll get notified about auditions and castings but they'll get a cut of the earnings. It's however advisable to stay under an agency's radar'' he advises thoughtfully.
— JASMEEN DUGAL