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  Life   More Features  23 Jan 2018  The runway boys

The runway boys

THE ASIAN AGE. | SHWETA WATSON
Published : Jan 23, 2018, 12:18 am IST
Updated : Jan 23, 2018, 12:18 am IST

More and more young men are entering the world of modelling today, although the balance is still skewed in favour of women.

Ajit Shukla
 Ajit Shukla

When one talks of models, most people automatically think of female ones. However, there are several male models, who often walk the ramp for famous designers, do ad shoots, catalogue and magazine shoots, and are faces of well-known brands too. 

While there have been male models in the past, it’s only recently that they are getting more opportunities and recognition.

Interestingly, a lot of young men are also choosing to enter the modelling industry now. Earlier, male modelling was often looked down upon and men were paid less and had fewer opportunities when compared to women. 

Hyderabad-based model Akshay Neelakantam bagged the prestigious Dellywood Mr India 2017 title, and has over 15,000 Instagram followers who get inspired by his transformational posts. Apart from taking up almost two designer shoots every week, working with the likes of Shilpa Reddy, and giving motivational speeches, Akshay also walks the ramp at almost all the fashion shows in Hyderabad, including the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour.

Akshay NeelakantamAkshay Neelakantam

“I started modelling five years ago, but took it seriously only when I applied for Mr India 2017 and won. The opportunities for male models are increasing. Though a lot of designers still choose to design majorly for women, the scenario is definitely improving. Not only am I getting better quality modelling assignments, I am also getting opportunities in Tollywood,” says Akshay, who pursued an MBA before becoming a model. “A lot of my followers get inspired looking at how fit I am, and that’s what I want to keep doing.”

Ajit Shukla is another Hyderabad-based model, who works with several huge brands. “I sign up for almost two to three ads every month. I am getting opportunities even from Mumbai as male models here are fitter, hardworking and disciplined. There are not many fashion shows happening in Hyderabad, but there are several ad and designer shoots,” he says.

Fashion choreographer and model Shaik Rafi from Empire Model Management says that any good show at a fashion week typically has just four to five male models and 16 to 17 female models. “The problem is that the demand is low, and the supply is high. Every month, several men enter the industry with the hope of becoming top models. But there isn’t much work for them out there. Designer women’s wear still rules the market, while men’s wear falls in the niche segment. As a result, designers release collections mainly for women. This results in more shows for female models, and fewer for men.” He adds, “An accomplished male model is paid Rs 10,000 for each show, while others get anywhere between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,000.”

Model Harshit Maheshwari says that 2017 was a great year for male models and the future looks bright. “I take up two to three shoots every month and walk the ramp often. Yes, the opportunities are definitely improving for male models, but it is also important for men to be extremely fit, mentally and physically,” he says.

Rahul BokadiaRahul Bokadia

Model Rahul Bokadia says that the film industry is a better option. “Male models do get fashion shows, print and ad shoots, but for how long? Acting is a safer option. I am working on a Telugu movie too. Sometimes I get five modelling assignments, sometimes just one. Female models still have better scope,” he opines. Meanwhile, model Anand Pillai says that with an increase in male models, the accomplished ones are losing out on opportunities. “Young models do shows for free, so designers sometimes hire them. Right now, there are a lot of male models, but not as many opportunities,” he adds. 

Meanwhile, model grooming expert Joseph Sunder says, “Male models work harder than female models as they need to be extremely fit. But, not only get paid less but they also do not have many opportunities. Things are changing now and I am starting a fashion show exclusively for men called the Men’s Fashion Week.”

Tags: rahul bokadia, shaik rafi, akshay neelakantam