When you witness the beginning of something special you feel like you are a part of it. I remember a few years back I had the pleasure of observing close friend Sahil Salathia mature from the threshold of fashion to one of the most in-demand models. His career has grown in leaps and bounds, having landed major campaigns like Pantaloons, Airtel, Radisson Hotel, Idea Cellular, Grasim, Cadbury, McDonalds, Tata Docomo, Ponds, Reebok and Samsung; and commercials like iBall, Citibank and Fastrack. Then again, he hails from the same country that has produced frontrunners such as Milind Soman and John Abraham… greatness is to be expected!
"Honestly, it just happened… not that I harboured dreams of being a model,” he grins. "When I was studying B.Tech in Information Technology in Chandigarh, I was in Delhi for a weekend; there I was spotted by a fashion photographer and advised to participate in Kingfisher Model Hunt. I was not keen but since it involved a brand like Kingfisher, I did end up participating and won it that year. That is how my journey began and I never looked back. While I was working on graduation, I started taking up modeling assignments on the side." Sahil Salathia's rise represents a return to a clear-cut era when men worked on their appearance and focused on their career instead of networking. "Modeling involves a lot of travelling and there are no two ways about it… I have travelled to exotic destinations. I shot the Grasim campaign in Ladakh. The crew was there for a week. It was a lovely experience, shooting in the middle of the ranges with almost no oxygen and how could I forget, such cold weather! I had a blast in Dubai when I was there for a Supermax show for Vikram Phadnis and Bangkok is like a second home since I have been there several times: twice for television commercials for Samsung laptops and once for a had a month-long schedule for MTV India. I remember travelling to Pondicherry for an advertising film for the Guinness Book of World Records. I was living there on a week's schedule! The list goes on… be it Goa, Udaipur, Manali, Kerala and Chennai. I think the best part of being a professional model is that you get to travel to exotic places with an amazing crew!"
It is great, but it is certainly not the life this model hailing from Jammu ever expected for himself! "I am a software engineer but I do not intend to fall back on my degree. My journey has been fantabulous as a model and the growth has been immense! What I like the most is that every day is a new day and every day I get to meet new people who are talent-houses! The recognition I have received makes me humble. I aspire to grow as an intelligent actor sometime in the future as I am inclined towards serious cinema but that shall happen only after I enrol myself into one of the good acting schools! Sigh… that shall happen only when I put modeling on the back burner and there is no time to even think about doing that since it keeps me occupied all of the time!"
— Jasmeen Dugal