In the spirit of trying to keep things interesting with our blog and cater to a diverse group of people and interests, we had one of our team members - an aspiring model in Mumbai - write about her personal journey in the industry. Let us know what you think/if you’d like more content like this from individuals in different walks of life! As always, Stay Safe, Stay Curious, and Stay Freequal Friday, 3rd April 2020 When I decided to opt for fashion modeling as my career choice, I came with a meshwork of ideas. I’d heard a lot about this industry but I decided to form my own opinions once I had a first-hand experience of the same. Even though I was convinced to find my own unique way to make my identity, I was consumed by certain stereotypes that seemed to intimidate me sometimes. You know, it’s hard to stop thinking about the flawless pictures of models and wonder if I’d ever be able to look even remotely close to that. How do they manage to have their skin without any blemishes or pigmentation? And what about those toned arms and flat stomachs? I have no idea how the human body can look so perfect in all pictures. I was clueless about all of these things till I got my first photo shoot done. I am not even kidding but I thought I was capable of looking like a goddess. Yeah, photoshop and retouching are magical, and then, it all made sense to me. Every photograph I’d ogled for several hours became a little more clear(eal) to me. Why does the fashion industry, knowingly or unknowingly, promote an image that every girl or guy tries to fit into before we even think of joining this industry? I understand why a lot of people discard the idea of getting into the fashion space now… it can be really daunting to put up with the expectation of looking a certain way all the time to survive in the industry. Before I started modeling, I was as convinced as other people that it’s not a very difficult job. Of course, how hard could it be to look good? I think this was one of the many reasons I downplayed it as a profession. It’s only when I became a part of this industry that I realized that it’s going to require some crazy amount of perseverance and dedication to stay here. I mean it’s a cycle of working on yourself (mentally and physically, both), believing in yourself, going for castings, getting rejected or confirmed, trying to not give up or be grounded and giving all of this and more the next day. I think I’ve spent enough time in the industry to mentally prepare myself for this drill and cope with the unreal image of beauty we have to put out there. Sometimes, I wonder if this industry will stop showing this flawed sense of beauty, if I’ll ever see a picture of a “real” girl with stretch marks and scars, if I’ll ever see my face on a popular brand instead of being overshadowed by a famous celebrity. I also understand the pressure this industry is under; there are so many people who follow and keep up with this industry and its activities that it could be a little challenging to present the “right” content all the time. I wish we’re able to use this aspect to display a more real kind of beauty, where we’re shown the way we are, with some flaws and some strengths and embracing all of this and more without dousing our faces and bodies in make-up. Honestly, I know a lot of other models and artists have been dealing with similar kinds of questions right now. I have seen a lot of people who are making an effort to change the stereotypical ideas by incorporating people of varied sizes and skin colors in their shoots or campaigns and that makes me feel so much better about where I am and what I am doing. Over time, people have started resonating with diversity and inclusivity more. I think this has encouraged so many artists to break free from all the hackneyed ideas and talk about concepts or pictures that have never been spoken about. I have decided to do that too-with every test shoot I’ve done lately, I’ve tried to collaborate with people who are willing to go berserk with ideas, outfits, photographs, everything. It makes me feel a little more comfortable and convinced about where I am headed. I know there are still a lot of things from this industry that haven’t “unfolded” to me yet but I think I’ll be fine.