A lot of struggling Indian models are looking for an alternate career since the extended lockdown has affected their livelihood terrifically. Most of these models have a hand-to-mouth situation since the profession doesn’t pay them that well initially. Many of them hail from small towns and are living on rent in metropolitans like Mumbai and Delhi. Unable to pay huge rents, especially in Mumbai, these models have decided to completely shift their base and move to their original abode.
Unable to pay his rent, model Himanshu Chabbra has decided to leave Mumbai and shift to his Delhi home since he doesn’t see any work coming even if the lockdown gets lifted.
Delhi-based model Himanshu Chabbra, who stays in a rented accommodation in Versova, Mumbai shares that because there is no work, he is unable to pay his rent. “ The rent in Mumbai is very expensive. Although the government has asked the landlords to wave off our rent for the coming three months, a lot of the landlords are not listening. Also waving off three months rent will not solve our problem because we will still have to pay the rent later and how are we going to do that when we haven’t earned a penny in these many months? We will be left with no option but to kill our dreams and go back home,” he says.
Gunita Stobe, co-owner and director of Anima Creatives feels that a lot of newcomer models will have to bear the brunt of the lockdown.
Photo: Adhiraj Chakrabarti
Gunita Stobe, director of India’s leading modelling agency Anima Creatives also believes that newcomers and strugglers are going to bear the brunt of the lockdown. “Models who haven’t had time to establish themselves before the crisis will face more difficulties. Especially those living alone in Mumbai.”
Founder and director of Purple Thoughts, Akanksha Khurana Jeer is being hopeful that they might be able to provide work to the models once the lockdown is lifted. However it may take a few months.
Delhi-based modelling agency owners Akanksha Khurana Jeet from Purple Thoughts and Ninja Singh from Ninja Model Management are still hoping that they might be able to give work to models in the coming months, if the lockdown doesn’t get extended any further after May 17. “ There is enough damage that the pandemic has done to us. I hope we are able to resume work soon. We are communicating with many fashion firms and making a plan to have shoots with minimum capacity once the lockdown is lifted,“ says Ninja Singh.
Founder and director of Ninjas Model Management, Ninja Singh also hopes that they will be able to resume work with minimum capacity of crew members after the lockdown is lifted.
Akanksha Khurana Jeet from Purple Thoughts adds, “ The estimate is that we get back in working mode only July, but will 30 to 40 people be allowed to be at once in the same studio ? Are people going to buy luxury item anymore? These questions are unanswered and will remain so until this pandemic is over from the roots.”
Swapnil Ghone, talent manager at TFM, a Mumbai-based modelling agency says, “ A lot of my models are planning to shift to Delhi from Mumbai, since the rents are low. Also I don’t see any modelling work coming our way till October or November, going by how the pandemic has created havoc.”
A lot of these models, who hail from states like Haryana and Punjab have already taken to farming. While some others have started online fitness training classes hoping to make some money during these trying times.
Rahul Choudhary, who hails from Rohtak, Haryana and stays in Mumbai to get some work in acting and modelling, doesn’t intend to try for modelling again because their is no work currently and he predicts that the situation won’t even get better after the lockdown is lifted. “ I have taken to online fitness training and hoping to make money from that because I don’t see anything left for me in modelling,” he says.