What would typically be an uphill battle in a saturated industry is compounded for male models. Unless, you are exceptional. Shahnawaz Alam stepped into the industry with a print campaign co-starring none other than Priyanka Chopra and that ricocheted his career right then. Having admired his presence on the runway, positive attitude, sheer hard work and perseverance, I buzzed the supermodel. Over to him.
''Jas, I wasn't aware of my appeal at all, to be honest. I was just a regular guy who aspired to be a model one day and began working on myself. I followed International models on social media and took cues from their style, physique and body language. From there, I got a lot of help and eventually began modelling during college in Kolkata where I was raised. At that time it was just fun! I never thought I would one day be a professional model! I moved to Mumbai when I was recruited in Jet Airways and that's how it all started… I could have continued as a flight attendant but I got bored because my routine was monotonous. I've always wanted to do something related to Fashion so this time I began pursuing modelling seriously. My first print campaign was Nikon with Priyanka Chopra; it was the first shoot of my life and I was working with a celebrity… that was a major morale booster!!
The best piece of advice given to me was that in this industry, we must try to build healthy relationships with people; don't be arrogant, be humble and at the same time maintain your dignity. If you can synchronise this, you'll be successful. So, whatever I am today, is because I follow these simple ethics. It brought me so far and hopefully will take me ahead. My biggest achievement would be to work with all the leading designers in the nation and walk for all key fashion weeks. Memorable experiences till date include shooting with Priyanka Chopra for Nikon and Kangana Ranaut for Vogue India. I'm also proud to have been interviewed in Filmfare. Among recent assignments is a campaign for Arjun Khanna and lookbook for Prathamesh and Gyanesh.
That said, competition is fierce so it adds up to what a model brings to the table. We are all good looking so what differentiates us is our qualities. It could be dancing, martial arts, singing or acting. You have to be creative in order to be irreplaceable. So I decided to learn these creative arts, and of course, I'm passionate about gymming. It's an integral part of my daily routine. I workout seven days a week and take a break when I'm working or travelling. I modify workouts whenever possible: weight training five days a week, taekwondo thrice, Bollywood dance class twice a week, Latin dance class thrice and boxing twice a week. This keeps me busy and is the reason I'm fit. I don't believe in dieting, though. I've always been a foodie and have a sweet tooth so if you follow me on Instagram you'll mostly see stories about food, particularly sweets. I try to balance this by eating clean and at the right time, drinking a lot of water, sleeping seven hours a day and avoiding late nights. I also take multivitamins so my body is not deficient of vital minerals and vitamins.
Looking at the future, I'd like to see more menswear shows in India so that we male models get more work and better remuneration. There are so many male models and not enough work. If we have more mens' weeks it would be helpful for all of us. That said, as a model, I'm aware I have a limited shelf life but I'm content with the way my career is shaping up. I'm also looking forward to diversifying into related fields like acting although given the current scenario, which is really sad due to the global pandemic, I can't plan anything. Once this lockdown is over, I'll focus on acting and hopefully will make a breakthrough.''
— JASMEEN DUGAL