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There’s a growing realisation that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes: Top Indian model Nitin Chauhan

Apeejay College of Fine Arts Jalandhar alumnus Nitin says one can be a successful model without having the quintessential body type



Nitin, who began his modelling career in 2011, has been consistently ranked among the top male models in the country. Hailing from Batala, Punjab, the 33-year-old has worked with numerous national and international brands/designers such as Raymond, Titan, Ducati motorbikes, Shantanu & Nikhil, Rohit Bal, JJ Valaya and Manish Malhotra. He has also participated in prominent Fashion Weeks in India such as Lakme Fashion Week and Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week. Currently he is also doing a big banner movie with director Rajkumar Santoshi based on the Battle of Saragarhi. His professional experience also includes working as a Creative Concept Consultant and a Photographer. In an interview, he gives an insight into the modelling industry.

How did you start your modelling career?

I was always particular about dressing well, so people around me used to enquire, ‘Are you a model?’ Some also nudged me to get into modelling, but it was not until I joined Apeejay that my career kick-started. I joined Apeejay College of Fine Arts to pursue a degree in BFA Applied Arts. The college organises a yearly fashion show ‘Lavanya’. I participated in it and was judged the best model. Soon, I started getting offers and the rest is history.

Did you always wanted to get into modelling?                                   

Absolutely not. No one from my family or relatives has any connection with modelling. My father runs a jewellery shop and I started learning the tricks of the trade in the school days itself to take the family business forward. Still, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t convince myself to join the family business. Mujhe dukan pe baith ke customers ka wait nahi karna saari umar. I wanted to go out, learn new things and meet new people. My mom supported me through thick and thin.  

Are good looks and physique sufficient to thrive in this industry?

Earlier the idea of beauty was confined to having good looks or six-pack abs, but today, it’s more inclusive than ever. Brands are looking for unique personalities. That’s why plus-size models are doing well across the world. For instance, fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee recently caught everyone’s attention when he featured a plus-size model in his 2021 collection. The campaign featured a woman who is not a professional model wearing a red saree. For their latest collections, designers nowadays are choosing models who do not have an ‘ideal structure’ or a perfect body type. People can relate to such models and that’s what brands/designers want. There’s a growing realisation that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

Are models under extreme pressure to look a certain way?

I can’t say about others, but I don’t look after my wellness because I have to impress someone. I do it for myself and that helps me find work. For example, I have had a big, fat beard and man bun for many years now. I was told by many that I won’t get work due to my looks, but I knew that my beard and hair would make me stand out from the crowd. This is how I look unique.

You will soon be making your movie debut. Is it true that the aim of every model is to get into acting?

I think if you want to be an actor, join theatre and work on your skills. I never thought of getting into acting, it’s just that I got an opportunity and accepted it with both hands. Having said that, I believe you can do anything with hard work and dedication. For instance, when John Abraham arrived at the scene, he had a unique style, especially his long hair. The audience accepted him and once that happens, nothing else matters.

Your tips for budding models.

As an aspiring model, you need an amazing portfolio that should feature your best collection of photographs. While posing, keep things simple. Simple poses without excessive body contour are mighty effective. Also, confidence can be a major game-changer when it comes to posing. Secondly, do a Google search and create a list of modelling agencies and then send your portfolio to them. Send multiple reminders if they don’t respond. If you are rejected, know the reason for your rejection and work on it.

“You must concentrate on your mental well-being before concentration on physical health. It could be through mediation or a hobby. I like painting, going for a walk and listening to music. If you are mentally strong everything will fall into place. Importantly, know your body. Eat what suits your body.”

-Nitin Chauhan 

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]