“Models Today are Treated Purely as Hangers for Clothes” – Arjun Rampal
If you see this cover, there is something about it. Not because I am on it. If you saw a similar cover with Milind, Mehr (Jesia) or Madhu (Sapre) or any of the supermodels at that time and you see their work, there is an individuality to everything. It was very personality driven. Each one had their own qualities and was considered unique on something. And now everything has gotten so uniform because the whole focus is on clothes, it’s about fashion, the cut. Everybody has to be the same size, have the same haircut... so you cannot blame people. That was a period, a phase where you needed people from the industry who were more than just clothes horses. They were personalities whom people looked up to and admired and were similar to movie stars today. They endorsed a brand that correlated with them and that ad became theirs and they stood up for that brand. I was lucky to be a part of that phase. Maybe if I was a model now, I would be having the same haircut and doing the same thing as that’s the opportunity models are given today. They are treated purely as hangers for clothes. At that time, it was a lot of drama, ‘oh wow, it’s going to be a fashion show’. It was also new. So the fashion industry needed people who could endorse and say we are models, not just in India but worldwide. And that’s how models and supermodels were born. Supermodels were looked upon as better than everyone else, with better bodies although there was no difference. But some people just got lucky. And it was a cool tag to have for brand value. After that period, even fashion changed a lot. Those days, it used to take three days to put a show together but suddenly shows were being put together within a day. You just needed the models. There were no rehearsals, no choreography... now people just walk in and out because the focus is the collection. So it has evolved to that. I have done a lot of ads as a model and actor. But what has been extremely important for me, even when I was a model, is that I have associated myself with brands that I use. That’s just been a rule that I made for myself. For me, ads are now pocket money. So if I do it, it will be for the fun of it. Firstly, to get a pretty cool ad out there and secondly, because I use that product. So if somebody tells me to do a pan parag or a face whitening cream, I won’t do it. I like my colour.