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So, you think that you’ve got what Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre had in common? No, I’m not talking about the python. I’m talking about the personality, the looks, the right attitude for a being a model. If yes, man, you are reading the right page!

How to go about it:
If you think you are what I’d call a ‘model material’ (MM, henceforth), then do not waste time and yes, opportunities. First and foremost, if you are in college, keep an eye on the goings-on in the college campus. There are beauty pageants, inter-collegiate fests, fashion shows, et al happening throughout the year. That’s how Hrishitaa Bhatt got her break. She was spotted at Mood-I by the Liril people and the rest is history. Nausheen ‘Kkussum’ Ali too was spotted similarly.

Go to a professional.
They do charge in grand but remember they are pros at this work. Also do shop around and ask for a sample of the person’s work

JAM gyaan:
Let’s start with your mirror. Look at yourself. Are you MM? Be critical. If yes, only then step in this field. Instead of being an average looker on the ramp, you’d better be known as the hot body around the office cafeteria, wotsay?

Get a smart portfolio done.
Do not go for a cheapo or your fall prey to your buddy’s 1000 buck camera. The cheapos may also be slimy. Anyone who tries to get touchy feely is strictly avoidable. Anyone who ‘guarantees’ work is shady. Once you get a GOOD portfolio done by a GOOD lens man, see to it that the pix do not circulate absolutely everywhere. One fine day, you don’t want to be seen morphed above a unknown naked body! Reputed photographers give contacts of genuine people- coordinators, choreographers, designers, etc. Approach them with your best pix

Know how to speak.
You might have a good body but avoid being a ‘Open-your-mouth-ha-haha’ case. Public speaking skills, knowing what’s going around and a strong personality count.

Beware of slimy people.
The casting couch does exist. Do not succumb to it. Life doesn’t come to an end and this is not the last career option.

Be persistent.
Do not lose hope. If you got it, you’ll make it.

Getting clicked:
The Big Fish like Gautam Rajadhyaksha, Atul Kasbekar, Madhur Shroff and Daboo Ratnanis don’t do folios for newbies these days. So, here are some photographers currently doing hot portfolios whom JAM spoke to:

Ram Bherwani:9821144908 / 2446 3584
– Claim to fame: Perizaad Zorabian, Hrishitaa Bhatt, the B4U VJ team, Koena Mitra and Bipasha Basu among others. Good Thing: Won’t do your folio if he thinks you are not happening and would click you till he’s satisfied. JAM’s seen his work and it does rock!
– Bol vachan: It all depends on the person. If I want to represent some one as a fun-loving person, his outfits and accessories would be different. If I think the clothes are good enough, I go ahead or else there are designers who give their clothes on a hire basis.
– Charges: Guys: Rs. 12000 Girls: Rs. 15000 (inclusive of make-up, hairstyles, indoors, outdoors, 10 rolls, Color and B/W pics with contact sheets and -ves.)

Jitu Savlani: 9821027252 / 2646 4050
– Claim to fame: Rajeev Singh, Aryan Vaid, Abhijeet Sanyal, Gautami Gadgil, Koena Mitra Good Thing: Makes you see his work and then it’s up to you to decide whether you want it or not.
– Bol vachan: I prefer willing youngsters to see my work and then decide if they want a portfolio done. I like giving characters to the model. Every model has a USP. If a guy looks macho, I’d shoot him at a garage instead of giving him the boy-next-door look.
– Charges: Guys: Rs 10000 Girls: Rs 15000 inclusive of make-up, hairdo’s, contact-sheets, Indoor/ Outdoor.
– Advice: Be mentally prepared. Everybody has work but you need to have an extra edge over others when you are auditioning with 50 others.

You could also go to: Vikram Gawde: 982055520 / Chetan Thakkar: 24455313

Let’s make a decision. What kinda modeling do you want to do? Print? TV Commercials? ramp? We spoke to a couple of TV models who had this to say:

Gautami Gadgil: Ex- Ms India Contestant, modeling for over 10 years
– Click: A portfolio is an investment. Go to a professional, not a studio. If your portfolio is good, then you are on the right track. Whether you get an ad is a 50-50 shot. Go for 7-8 rolls. 10 best pics form your portfolio set. Ten copies of these sets need to be sent to 10 agencies, which are most of the times referred to you by your photographer.

– Payments: For starters, you can get anywhere between Rs.2000- Rs. 10000.

– Advice: Modeling as a hobby is better than modeling as a career. Always plan a back-up career unless you think you are an Aishwarya or a Sushmita. Personally, I don’t think grooming schools are necessary. What you learn by observing people remains with you for life. Hard work and talent counts. Luck is a prime factor. Modeling doesn’t have a restricted life-span. Today, ad agencies need models from the age of 2-70. I’ve been modeling for 10 years now. A few years from now, maybe I’ll get character roles in ad-films like some one’s saas or bhabhi.

Gauri Karnik: Ex- Ms India Contestant, model-turned actress.
Go to a reputed photographer. Essentially, he must be some one who gives you an honest opinion as to whether you are going to make it in the modeling scenario. Any reputed photographer charges you above 20000 bucks for your portfolio. Your portfolio should have yourself in various avtaars- experiment with different looks, dresses and stuff. Send you folios to the top 10 agencies in Mumbai- these would easily include Lintas, O & M, Contract, Highlight, Whitelight, HTA, etc. There’s a lot of competition. On an average, there are seven girls who come per day with a dream to make it big.

– Payments: Over the years, ad budgets have reduced leading to a decline in payments. However if you sign a time-bound contract, you get paid higher. A TV campaign can get you anywhere between Rs 25000- 40000 and a print ad can fetch you Rs 5000-15000 bucks once you are on in this industry.

– Do’s and Don’ts: Be self– critical. Know what you’ve and what you don’t. Watch yor competitor. Never neglect him or her. Don’t get carried away. Present yourself with dignity, talk to the point. Never look desperate for work. People can take disadvantage of that. There are co-ordinators, grooming schools and agencies who help you get in the industry.

– Coordinators: Inmatch.com Inmatch is an intermediatory agency which adds your pictures in its database. If your profile matches with that of the client’s requirement, you are sent for an audition. If you don’t have good portfolio, Inmatch gets one done for you, for Rs 5000- 7500. Says a spokesperson,” Models get paid from Rs 1000 to Rs 20000 per assignment. It depends upon the experience, confidence factor and yes, most importantly luck.” Inmatch collects a 20% commission on each assignment. For more info, call up Samiha at 6155518/ 24 or log on to www.inmatch.com

Note: It’s a good idea to go to ex-models who’ve become coordinators. They’ll give you a genuine opinion and lots of work if they think u have potential.

Utsav Dholakia: Choreographer for the past 8 years
Newcomers are welcome if they’ve all the credentials-looks, poise, confidence. But it all depends on the budget of the show. If the budget is high, then I need to have known faces, If its a relatively low budget, then a mix-n-match of models can be done. If the models are good, if they pick up fast, then I don’t mind taking them for my international shows too. But it all primarily depends upon how much popular you are. If you do many commercials or deliver one hit video (stating the example of Malaika Arora in the Gur Naal Ishq Mitha video), your chances of being wanted on the ramp are sky high. Utsav Dholakia conducts workshops which include perfecting the catwalk, aerobics, diet and nutrition, hairstyles and make up, skin care and hair care, etiquette and communication, time and stress management, public speaking, portfolio and career guidance (wherein you are told of alternatives if you are not fit for ramp). Faculty also includes Mr. India’s and Ms India’s and Manhunt winners, etc. Call up: 28775334

Sameer Bayani:
The first thing I look out in a model is attitude. He/she has to bring it out well. Modeling is all about projection. How you present the designer’s collection matters. There’s no standard look. A western outfit would not suit some one with Indian looks and vice versa. So, if a model is not cast in a show, there’s a reason behind it.

Grooming School:
Model Shoppe A Padmini Kolhapure Venture along with fitness gurus Talwalkars, is all about grooming you to be a model with a curriculum taught under the guidance of big names from the glamour industry (ace lensman Gautam Rajadhyaksha, Skin Specialist Jamuna Pai, models Aryan Vaid, Sampada Inmadar among others). It includes an extensive programme including Personality Development, Wardrobe Planning Makeup Artistry, Hair care, Skin Care, Nutrition, exercise, the works. For more info call: 26252089, 26232409, 23640966, 23636406.

Music Video makers:
Have you thought of dancin’ to the tunes of a Sonu Nigam or a Shaan? Bhool ja? No, don’t bhool ja, Tu can make it too! Radhika Rao, Rao and Sapru Films Pvt. Ltd. who has directed a series of hit music videos including Asha Bhosle’s ‘Parde Mein Rehne Do’, ‘Daddy Mix’, ‘Kaliyon ka Chaman’ to name a few. Tina Soni, Asst. Director at Rao and Sabru had to say this: “We always look out for a new face in the magazines and get in touch with him/ her. Later on, if the part suits him/her, we audition and shortlist them. We go through our old database and then finally narrow down to the final one.

Freshers get a lump sum amount of 6000-7000 bucks for the video, but one has to remember that we spend a lot on their look, clothes and that we deliver a HIT model, Meghna Naidu of Kaliyon Ka Chaman, for example. The market value for newcomers is Rs 2000-4000 per day though. Once you are a hit like Yana Gupta or Shruti Sharma, you can charge Rs 75000 to a lakh per video. email: comraonsapru@hotmail.com Call: 6331252. If you think walking the ramp is nothing but applying a lot of gel and walking like zombies, eat your words because when you are on the ramp, there are a million viewers watching every miniscule thing about you and that you are displaying a designer’s work. You have to carry it off well and presentation matters. A grooming school helps you here because you do not want to make an ass of yourself or the hirer. Guys need to be as tall as 6 feet (there are exceptions) and girls need to be 5’8″ tall. Says Tejaswini Kolhapure, ex-model,” I always had a problem because I was short by half an inch for modeling and was too tall for films!” The people who coordinate the theme, the works are the choreographers:

Ramp Modelling
Advice for Wannabes from some of India’s top models:
Sampada Inamdar:
– She took part in the Look Of The Year Contest and by the end of the show, she was signed on to do two shows with Hemant Trivedi. Says Sampada, “Things get a lot easier with a title but if you are REALLY good, even if you don’t win, it’s okay.” “Choreographers get 50-60 pics daily and it’s not possible for them to go through all the pics and talk to each and every one who submits a folio. However, if they’ve seen you, they do keep in in the next time they are doing a show with newcomers.” “If you think you’ve got it, be persistent but yes, a back-up plan is necessary because ramp modeling is not a long term profession .”

Tejaswini Kolhapure:
– Ex-Ms India Contestant, Miss Photogenic “Modeling is a serious profession. You need to be with the right people. A grooming school or even a Ms India Contest gives you access to the right people-the designers and choreographers.” “It’s important for you to get noticed. Do a lot of commercials- things get easier to be on the ramp. It’s not easy to look good. Moreover, its important to keep reinventing yourself. ” “Ask people in the industry to get contacts with designers and choreographers. Self analysis is necessary. You need to know if you are made for it and if you can make it in this field.”

Nethra Raghuraman:
– When I entered, I’d a title on hand. A beauty pageant where you get noticed matters a lot. For gals, 5’7″ is also short. 5’8″ is a minimum requisite. You need to be tall and have a good figure. 3 among 500 photographers you shoot with might give you the right contacts. Actually a portfolio doesn’t really matter. You can first meet the designers/ choreographers and later come up with a portfolio. You constantly need to reinvent yourself. Experiment with your looks, your hair. Observe global fashion. See what’s happening in Milan, see what’s happening in Paris. All these things help you to get an extra edge.

Aryan Vaid, ex- Mr. India:
– There’s no hardcore formula here. Freshers must grab an opportunity to be on the ramp even if they are paid peanuts or nothing at all. Once you are a familiar face, things turn smoother for you. Basically, if you do a major music video or say, many ads for products with great nominal value, then you’ve substantial work with you to display. Honestly, I think a major title like Mr. India/ Ms. India works. Prior to the title I’d get 3000 bucks but today, I get 15000-25000 for a show.”

Shahwar Ali, model:
– A title does matter but even if you cannot get a major one and get a Best Physique or a Best Personality, it counts a lot. It is an added asset.” Ask him about ramp modeling as a full-time career and he replies,” A starter can get 6000 per show, but when the number of shows you do increase, you may hike your charges to Rs 25000 too. TV commercials definitely pay you more but they do not happen as frequently as a ramp show.”

Article Text: Gautam Hegde

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