As I sat out to learn more about men’s fashion in Pakistan and the people who run the show. I found that male models happened to be a most sought after yet the least known out of all the industry players. As you dig for information you encounter the customary saucy rumors, cold shoulders, bad grammar and things I deem inappropriate to write here. So for almost 3 months I sent out questionnaires to leading male models in Pakistan that contained variety of questions ranging from alleged casting couches to their thoughts about longevity of male modelling career and everything in between.
Part 1 includes interviews from Jahan E Khalid, Shahzad Noor, and Sheraz Sikander.
- Is there any product that you would never endorse? A piece of clothing that you would never model?
JEK: I can’t think nor recall any product that I won’t endorse provided that it is an A-list Product/item. I have modeled for almost all sorts of menswear thus there is nothing that I would never endorse.
SN: I would never endorse anything that would stand against my beliefs as a Muslim and my people. I have huge reservations about modeling in briefs.
SS: I would not model/endorse any product that is not “manly enough” to wear.It isn’t about revealing, even underwear can look classy as on Tarzan but sometimes we see very feminish fashion around us that puts me off. A man must look like a man. The beauty is in being Adam.
- What’s your take about hair? Increasingly a lot of men are sporting Jesus beards ala Abbas Jafri
JEK:: Not everyone can achieve same style with the same impact that Abbas Jafri did with his. I for one prefer to go with a look which is impactful and can be carried for long without causing too much damage to my hair.
SN: In my opinion one should be comfortable in whatever they want to carry because if one is comfortable, it will naturally suit them.
SS: Abbas Jafri started this new trend, he looks good in it and it works for him. But I feel It won’t work for others that are trying to emulate him and his style. One should develop their own signature style.
- What are the 3 must-have clothing pieces or accessories that you think every man should own?
JEK: A classy wrist watch, a plain black suit with a crisp white shirt and the quintessential white cotton shalwar kameez.
SN: A good watch, a good belt and a really good deodorant spray
SS: A simple big dial watch is good enough as I find it very cheap when men stack on a lot of fancy accessories. Men should wear clothes and accessories considering their physique,appearance and personality(rather than idealizing stars like Salman Khan)
- What’s one menswear trend that you hate to see on people? Something you strongly advise men against.
JEK: I say a “BIG NO” to bell bottoms and those loose flappy shirts (Formal/Casual/T-shirts) that were being worn in late 80’s and the 90’s.
SN: I extremely hate low necklines for men which have become very commonly these days. If you really want to wear them then workout really hard and develop a body to go with it so that it at least looks!
SS: I don’t like when people are carrying too many gadgets, wearing clothes in sharp color combinations like neon and those cheap sunglasses in night are a major turn off.
What about body hair? Should one shave it off, wax It or go au naturel?
JEK: I prefer to go Au Naturel! But models sometimes have to remove their body hair according to the character/role in the modeling job (Editorial/Runway). If you have to then I recommend hair remover creams/sprays as use of razors can result in thicker hair growth and wax can cause rashes/burns on sensitive skin.
SN: Professionally speaking I think it varies from project to project.Do whatever works for you.
SS:Personally I trim it to show my toned 6 pack abs. I feel that if something good is hidden because of hair one should remove them. If it aint worth showing then let it stay concealed.
- There is criticism that in Pakistan all you need to do become a model is to build big muscles and strip off? How do you feel about that?
JEK: It isn’t necessary! ‘Sports and Fitness Modeling’ hasn’t been introduced in Pakistan yet thus one doesn’t have to build big muscles or strip off too often as a model. Yes it is essential to have a masculine lean symmetrical physique which both works well in all formats and accomplishes international standards and trends.
SN: If that was the case then the thousands of people working out in gyms all over Pakistan would all become models. It’s about the understanding of clothing, how to carry a piece of apparel appropriately, as well as knowing how to pose and how to be expressive without having to speak. So I feel whoever has that critical opinion should go ahead give it a try; they know for themselves how deep runs this water!
SS:Fitness is only a part of modeling not everything. Definitely a well-built body shows an outfit in a better way but a good face and appropriate body language are also required. Moreover big muscles are for bodybuilders, it must not so big that you lose the charm and you can’t even sit on Pakistani toilet.
- It’s a fact that male models often need to sleep around with coordinators, photographers and designers to get work? What are your opinions about that?
JEK: Sleeping around with fashion fraternity for work is merely a rumor! I strongly disagree with this myth as me and many other top models of Pakistan have worked with decent, talented and highly ethical group of people over the years. Being a bisexual and/or one’s personal associations has nothing to do with modelling jobs as only hardworking, sensible, patient and talented models have made their mark on various platforms both locally and internationally.If any signs of such elements are present on a very basic and small-scale, I strongly condemn such practice and intend the industry to take rapid and appropriate actions against people involved in these activities.
SN: Oh the” it” question! hehehe , well first I have never been asked and if someone has ever hinted such a thing I know how to politely turn them down. You see it depends totally on you. If you want “it”, it will happen if you don’t it never will. If the odds are nothing but this then I think one should simply change their contact list or look for another career but sleeping around is never the answer to success!
SS: Getting benefits by providing any kind of physical favors or a term used “give and take” is not something used in modeling only; it exists everywhere in all kinds of industries whether you are a guy or a girl. I feel I can’t do anything to eliminate or reduce it as an individual as there are always some people like that in every group;having said that its only one side of the story not the whole story. Also it’s your inner greed and insecurity which intends you to do so, in open words, no one is going to rape you. If you can’t wait for the fair opportunity than it’s something by your own choice dear newcomers.
- People say male modeling is a very short-term career and a one you can’t rely on for income? Do you agree? Do you have any other career or plan to get into one?
JEK: Modeling is Pakistan is a short-term career if not started at right age. If one intends to become a fashion model he must start it at the age of 16 – 17 (majorly teenage). This helps them stretch their career up to 15 years which again doesn’t make it a lifelong career. Eventually they have to eventually shift towards acting or get into some other profession. Else modeling in Pakistan can only be pursued as a passion come hobby as it does not pay well. Despite improved rates and growing industry only 1 or two A-list models are making handsome amounts. As for myself apart from modeling I am working as an Admin & HR Manager at my father’s business and as a Trader of Commodities in International Stock Exchange Markets with PMEX (Pakistan Mercantile Exchange).
SN: Yes, because it’s still a developing industry so only a few people make good money, but you can earn well if you really put your heart and soul into it. I personally have a business of my own,my gym and there is a small family business to fall back upon. One should always have a back up no matter what.
SS: I don’t consider modeling even as a career no matter where do you stand in industry,short or long is out of question; acting could still somehow qualify as a career. And it’s not at all about one’s age, it’s the ‘apparent age'(how old you are perceived to be). If you manage to appear hot and happening as you age then it could b prolonged a little but definitely not for the lifetime. I am a mechanical engineer by profession and am pursuing acting as well.
- There are a lot of new kids trying to be models these days? What would be your advice to them?
JEK: “Nothing Succeeds Like Success” and “Perseverance Commands Success”. Memorize this develop goals/aims and work day-in, and day-out to achieve them. Everything is possible only if you stay patient and focused despite any failure and/or success. Believe in yourself and Allah Almighty will take you places.
SN: I would stress that education is more important along with the ambition to become a model. Also integrity is what makes you shine, never lose your spirit to work hard.
SS:It may come off as a rude response but 90% of model hopefuls aren’t “model material”. There are specific requirements, qualities and attitude that one should have. First deserve then desire. Mirrors lie, don’t let them lie! For the rest 10% I would stress on the fact that it’s a time of social networks. Believe in yourself, work hard and leave the rest on lord.
aamiriat thanks all three of the models featured in this post for their time and commitment in making this blogpost happen!