Model Musing: Sheetal Singh
Sheetal Singh talks about how she plans to stick it through the very competitive world of modeling, make the most of her time here and the exit plan.
Hair and make-up: Radhika Khunteta
Name Sheetal Singh.
Agency I am a freelance model.
How tall are you 174 cm
Where are you from Uttar Pradesh. I moved to New Delhi in the year 2007 (for good), completed my graduation and post-graduation (BBA and MBA) from IIPM, New Delhi.
Instagram handle: @sheetalsinghx
First modelling gig A hoarding for Airtel (with a bunch of other male and female models).
Tell us your story My mother was ok with me wanting to become a model but my father was not. Like most parents in India, they did not read many good stories or watch positive movies on the fashion industry. Nonetheless, I got my portfolio made and that got me a few modelling jobs. However, due to my dad’s pressure and my desire to keep him happy, I had to leave it midway and get back to the 9 to 5 routine. A year or two later, I met this friend (also a model) who suggested I give it another go and I did. On the other hand, I was always reading or watching the industry very closely. Also, given my height and deep passion for the profession, I decided to convince my father to let me give it another shot and that’s how it took off. I was not ready to give up only because they thought it wasn’t safe, I had to prove them wrong. I began going for random auditions and that is when I got selected for Shantanu & Nikhil’s couture show. Right after which a Delhi based agency(Vogati Talents) noticed me and got me many good assignments & opportunities without any pressure to sign up with them. I explained everything to my dad, the kind of people I work with, the agency I am associated with and showed him my workbook. Given how concerned he was, he met my model friends & their parents and was finally convinced. I could have started very young by going against my parent’s will, however, what I wanted was more than a career, I wanted a life. Their happiness, love and support was all I needed, and it turned out to be a gift in return. Even today when things do not run smooth, as is the life of a model, they have my back.
What are your advantages as a model Firstly, my olive skin tone, which goes with almost everything, any kind of shoot make-up & colours of different garments. And if needed, they make it fairer or duskier (with make up) according to the requirement. Secondly my height and the fact that I eat a lot and still do not put on weight which for most is a huge struggle. But that does not mean that I eat junk! I do walk a lot to keep healthy. Thirdly, I believe I am quite versatile. I can rock an editorial shoot and walk the runway just as well.
Struggles of a being a new model The biggest struggle is to become a top model, and the ones there at the top, meaning the ones who do not have to audition for any fashion week etc, they have been forever there with little space for the new. Other than that, the daily struggles include delay in payments. It is another everyday issue for freelance models. How low can you stoop? You need your money and you need to keep the relationships intact. Judging and comparisons are a part of the job, different clients want different things. One day you are left out for not being fair enough and other days you are selected for your dusky skin. It is very important to like who you are, to know your strong points and your weaknesses. You’ve really got to practice loving yourself. There are insecurities because the job requires for you to be close to perfect and needs one to be slim all year round. The most important phase is being able to get through the initial stages where you are looking for appreciation and acceptance. Your confidence takes a hit when you don’t get a job that you want and it takes a lot of mental strength to put on a smile and head to next audition.
Now lets talk about the advantages of your career Modelling exposes you to a whole new world where you get to learn different things. Through modelling, you get to learn about health and fitness as you are expected to maintain close to perfect body and you cannot function without good health. Modelling is all about selling yourself as a brand and you have to do that on an every day basis. You learn to build your confidence and also good communication skills. These lessons can easily be incorporated in your next step careers once you are done with modelling, which is a short-term career. On that note, keep a backup plan!
Three advice to aspiring models 1. A few great pictures can look better than a thick book of “random stuff.” Make sure your book has enough variation for a client to be able to see you in different roles and your full potential. 2. Beauty is diverse, and you don’t have to be a certain stereotype to be beautiful. Most successful models are not what is considered to be typically pretty—they tend to have an ethereal quality that is indescribable and hard to place. 3. Do not pluck your eyebrows! Thin eyebrows make you look older.
Favourite Indian model Lisa Haydon and Indrani Dasgupta. They made it far and big. In fact, they are going strong even as of today and not just because of their looks but because of their personality. It is a combination of how they talk, sit, walk, style – everything. A pretty face and young body has a very short career span but with wits and personality, you can expand your career.
What is your personal style I am totally obsessed with vintage clothes. I like to mix it up with pieces from current fashion and add a luxury accessory. I like my make-up minimal and my hair HUGE.
A brand you would love to work with BALMAIN (because of Olivier Rousteing)!
How important is it for models to have a good sense of style A model’s success does not solely depend on one factor but a multitude; good taste, how they present themselves and personal style play a huge part in the long run. Models are required to eat, sleep, and breathe fashion. If you notice, the most successful models right now, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid & Bella Hadid, each of them have an amazing sense of style. It is not a coincidence that the same goes for the world’s top pop stars. Their style will be on point, on and off the runway. The current ‘IT models’ understand how important this is to take their career further. They have hired stylists to make sure they look current at all times. These models have become brands unto themselves and are collaborating with big brands, e.g. Gigi Hadid x Tommy Hilfiger.
Favourite Indian photographer you wish to shoot with Saurabh Dua. I love how amazingly he captures the beauty of young women, raw and beautiful. His photographs are poster worthy.
Is promoting plus size models a good thing or a bad thing In this world where being thin is overwhelmingly idolized, there are plenty of plus size models needed in the industry. Promoting plus size models can have positive impacts for those already educated and those who read it with a healthy mind. It can reduce women’s obsession to become stick thin and starve themselves. However it may also be believed that promoting models with larger bodies may promote obesity & encourage unhealthy habits and unhealthy lifestyle. I recently read an article on the internet about a recent study that suggesting that using images of larger body type ‘encourages the idea that being overweight is acceptable’. Bottom line, promote healthy eating and active lifestyle.
What do you want to accomplish in 2017 I wish to be on the cover of a reputed magazine and shoot an editorial with Vogue India.
Four things aspiring models should know
1. Your first year of modelling should be focused mostly on you getting a strong book.
2. Modelling is so much more than looks. Clients and agencies have no time for un-informed people.
3. Change your eating habits (if unhealthy) and switch to a healthy lifestyle. It helps in the long run. The career maybe short, but your life is long. Don’t sacrifice your health for short term gains.
4. A lot of scouting and client decisions happen over social media. Either keep yours private and be yourself or if you chose to use it as a tool to promote work, post appropriately and less often.