What is a model?
Does good looks make models?
Does the fit, ripped body stats make a model?
Does skin color makes a model?
Does the expression make a model?
What is it that makes a model?

The viewer,
And the view provider,
Makes a model.

Kids these days pump their confidence through social media likes, which are originated from the viewers whose vision is originated from their groins. In that case, the thumbs up and the heart actually seems metaphorical! Most of the time the tag of “model” is self-pasted on social media account bio, it has become a self-defined thing, not a recognized one, much like mothers call their kids “hero jaisa lagta hai mera bachcha!” The bedroom mirror becomes the authority to first certify them as models, and then later on gym mirrors plays that role. The word model has become a very much messy in a way. Not much people has a clear idea what exactly that word means. Or exactly what activity that word represents. For a number of them it’s like “photowala ladka!” Among that chaos, a simplification is derived that gym goers are the model and models are supposed to emerge from the gym only. Everyone befitting the image of Greek gods or Hanumanji is considered a model material, and they are the only ones to be considered as model material. So this word “model” has plenty of sketchy notions to define it, however not a single clear understanding.
In architecture and interior design, we make physical models and which are very crucial in a design process. It gives a perspective and evolves the understanding of a design. In fashion design models are a crucial part in order to actually understand the fall and fittings. In jewelry design models are the basic essential. So in so automobile design, graphic design, and many other design faculties, models are the core of the process. In arts department models become a piece of exploration itself. These models we are talking about could be a real human being or could be anything. Frank Gehry once crushed a piece of paper and threw it on the table and proposed that this would be the design of the building. Considering photography and film making as an art, the same importance of a model is applied in these industries. So the phenomenon of a model is much wider than we think. The purpose of a model is much complex than in laymen understanding we define it. What we see in today’s time is a much narrowed version of the word model through our tiny screens of phones. I must say these tiny screens have transformed our moral and ethical vision into a much tinnier versions, the taboo for modelling industry is an example for it.
These days modelling is either directly or indirectly considered as “शरीर की नुमाइंगी”. Due to such version of modelling definition, kids are inspired to display their body parts and tag themselves as a model, and eventually from such events, modelling industry is tabooed as a sudo prostitution. However the reality is way different. Much like the stigma for police force in this country for it being useless and rather hurtful, instead of reality being the other way around; Modelling industry is much more important and useful. I admit that alike any other main stream industry, modelling industry does have dark corners, where such mal-practices of sudo prostitution exists, however those corners cannot be definition for the whole building! Just because in this industry the product is the human body it is tabooed for immoral. So the current scenario occurs as: Parents bashing this industry for being a dark and shady while having no formal understanding of this industry; and the kids of those parents take pride being a model on social media due to thousands of likes, again while having zero understanding of what modelling industry is. Thus neither parents nor kids can be blamed for the prevailing taboo for modelling industry, as they were never formally introduced with the concepts of it, unlike medical or engineering field. I visualize it as a Chakravyuh! The industry is tabooed, thus not worthy of formally introduced, and because it is not formally introduced, it is tabooed!

Today’s modern parents do give freedom to their kids to be a social media model. In fact a number of them encourage them by providing financial support to buy fancy clothes and attractive accessories and paying for their fancy diet and gym memberships. According to their understanding, with their support and guidance the kids may not fall into the dark corners of the industry. However alike the saying “every good thing comes to an end”, such freedom and support from the parents lasts only for few years. Kids are refrained from pursuing modelling as a main stream career. One of the reason is the stigma of Age. I recently witnessed an ad campaign which showed elderly and matured age people in their advertisement. Expressing the feeling that the age is no bar to fashion or to look good. Now if we take this into consideration, is this modelling? If not do we believe that modelling is limited to the age of 20–30? Does modelling has an age limit? For the most part our society believes that only younglings are the beautiful and thus eligible for modelling. Models are supposed to be young, and young only can be models. Due to this age limit, modelling industry becomes a quickly perishable career. It stops providing a concrete hope for the future, thus it inspires concerning parents to not like this industry as main stream career for their children.
I have witnessed a number of kids throwing away their prospects of good career because they consider themselves as models. Not that modelling is not a good career, however they are unaware of all the prospects of a modelling career. They’re just captivated with the idea of being sexually attractive. Alike any other main stream careers, modelling industry has a number of different segments in it, , such as fitness model, fashion model, face model, hand model, legs model, hair model, skincare models, aged and mature models, erotic models, nude models, fine art models, plus size models, ramp models, and much more. However the majority of kids who jump into the modelling industry are widely misunderstood with the organization of it. I do not blame them for such foolishness as there is no formal institution or organization to teach them about modelling. Being a model is considered of having a low level of character. If one pursues to be a model he/she has to be ready to be considered as sudo prostitute. Models are viewed as easy. Thus most of the time, being a photographer the search for a good model is heavy; because a number of good models pursue this career under the moonlight. Nowadays there’s a business segment dedicated to modelling industry called modelling agencies who work as a bridge between photographers and fashion designer and models. They’re like human resources for modelling world. I admire this segment because due to this segment this industry received a bit organization, and professionalism otherwise it was easy to get into wrongs hands.
One more negative stigma related to this career option is to be looking like a film star. This stigma has inspired the boost in protein supplement, steroids, and fitness industry. Six peck and zero figure is mistaken for being a necessity to enter and survive modelling industry. Fair complexion of the skin, being young or looking young, having long dense hair, these are also mistaken for being essentials in this industry. However regardless of major demand of these elements, they cannot be considered as definitive elements of this industry. As I mentioned above modelling industry has a number of sects and each one of them has their own unique requirements of elements. A person with eight pecks can be a model even if he doesn’t have a generic photogenic face, he can pursue the option of being a fitness model. A person with heavy body can pursue the option of plus size models. In today’s time fine art photographers and artists demand models with not much Bollywood looks, thus people who do not look like typical hero or heroine can pursue to be a fine art model. Because of this variety, modelling industry is more flexible and adaptive for all type of human beings.

Being a photographer I face tremendous amount of struggle of finding models, as most of the time I’ve been answered that “hum thodi na model jaise dikhte hai!” which always screws my nuts that who is that authority who has defined that model only looks like so and so. This brings me to reveal another facade of being a model. In general we understand Looks, the beauty is the only need for a model, however there is much to it. An actor has a tool of speech and movement to express. An actor has freedom to move, a continuation of poses and expression one after another to convey the message, however a model is bound to poses. A model doesn’t have the tool of speech, nor the freedom of continuation. One pose one expression, and he has to convey the story. Thus the responsibility of a model becomes much more interesting and important. Which is why every gym enthusiast do not succeed into modelling industry. Mature understanding of expression and pose is required in order to be a model. I feel privileged to work with few experienced models, who do not only had the understanding of expression also had the strength to pose. Posing is not just movement displayed once for a moment, a model has to hold the pose, like a sculpture. Model needs to be creative in posing, and have the ability to do that again and again with consistency. These are the keys to succeed as a model. Besides being physically ready, a model requires a stable mental state as I have witnessed camera can capture the silent expressions, like “aaj wo baat nahi!” Let me tell you one of the greatest model in the world. God! Nobody has seen god in action, thus we can’t consider him as an actor, but we all have seen him posing in every temple or worshiping space. Either in form of a sculpture or a painting. He poses, and gives amazing expressions. So in that manner I do consider him as a greatest model. Thus I witness good models have this tsunami of confidence in front of camera, like god only. They love camera and be as much comfortable as possible, which allows them to display the beautiful combination of physical and mental fitness through their expressions and poses.

Modelling industry may not be as complex and great as rocket science, but sure it is not as low as prostitution. Parents are required to not neglect this as a main stream career at the same time kids are required to understand the sincerity of this industry and not joke it off on Tiktok! Modelling industry teaches us to respect our body and cherish whatever beauty it has, which in contemporary times is mistaken for fat shamming and Adonis. Modelling helps celebrate the physical beauty as well as mental beauty. Modelling agencies, Photographers, Fashion designers, Gym, Salons, these are not the creators of models, they work as a medium or just a tool, the model is created by you, and with your respect for your body and confidence of yours. Not considering the possibility of being a model is more of a disrespect of your body. Camera can only capture what you can show, and it can capture your body, but the pose, expression, confidence, has to be brought by you. To me modelling is a meditative, connective experience for one with their own body, and thus one should not be afraid or feel ashamed or shy to be a model.