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Modelling beckons youth

Good looks can be a trump card for the young to make a quick buck. The idea has sunk into the minds of young Vizagites as can been seen by the growing queues of handsome lads and pretty lasses to walk the ramp and be a part of the budding modelling scenario in the metro.

Part-time modelling is the in-thing for students looking to boost their pocket money to foot their bills at fast food joints, discos and designer wear outlets. For those aspiring to get into the tinsel world, modelling with all its glitz and glamour makes an effective springboard.

Says Rajiv Kumar, an M.B.A. student: "Fashion shows are easy pocket money and if one can spare a little time and effort, the returns can be lucrative. One needs to rehearse only for a day or two before the final show. Guys with a good physique hold an advantage over others. Modelling is not time-consuming and it does not cut into study time."

For starters, aspiring models need to have an attractive portfolio done, which is an expensive affair but makes good investment for the future. And quite in tune with the trend, fashion photographers and model coordinators have set up shop here giving a professional touch to the growing aspirations of the youth for modelling.

A good show at ramp walking pitches the aspirants into product modelling. Elvis Parkinson, a graduate who has modelled for Cambridge and B-10 garment stores, says: "I earn a cool 3,000 bucks for a three hour shoot, and the assignment could stretch to more than one session. I do ramp shows as well and I am paid anywhere between Rs.2,000 and Rs.2,500. That is good pocket money and I enjoy myself while on the job."

Local youth have been roped in for product ads on the local cable network channels for shopping malls like C.M.R. and leading textile houses like Vimal and jewellery showrooms. Big breaks come when companies like Samsung, Bajaj, and Bacardi organise grand fashion shows at star hotels and stadiums to launch, showcase and promote their brands.

Gymnasiums make ideal grounds for the talent-hunters. Says Anand Rao, fitness instructor at the Healthy Home gym in T.P.T. colony, " Occasionally movie and ad-makers drop in, looking for fresh faces. Health clubs are the right place to look for well-shaped bodies."

Modelling is not new to Vizag. Gowthami, who made it big both in Telugu and Tamil films, and the more recent Suneetha Varma of `Anandam' fame blazed the trail for modelling in Vizag. More laurels have come Vizag's way. While a local youth Balbir Singh went on to win the coveted Glad Rags manhunt contest in 1996, Vinukonda Dilip picked up the Mr. Andhra and Mr. Talent titles and G. Satya the Mr. Physique honour at the Haywards 5000 Mr. Andhra 2003 contest held in Hyderabad recently.

Some take to part-time modelling for reasons other than pocket money. Rachna Chugani, a second year B.Com. student, affirms: "My ambition is to become an air hostess and a stint in fashion shows, and modelling helps to improve my grace and gives me confidence. The money is good, not to forget the wonderful friends I have made all along."

And there are those who graduate from sashaying on the ramp to the more glamorous world of films. Tollywood film units are regulars in the city - with Bollywood biggies not far off in exploiting the beautiful locales - and every time producers/directors pitch tent here expectations of a break into films run high among the hopefuls.

Says fashion photographer, B.K. Agarwal: "Vizag is a virtual paradise for wannabe models. Cinematographers and model coordinators need to get their act together and have a more professional set-up here. They need to put in place their infrastructure and organise themselves. Modelling workshops would also help. If this is done, Vizag would in no time overtake Hyderabad in modelling. Vizag has ideal settings for outdoor modelling shoots and film-making and the cost of production here is much less than in major metros."

He finds Vizag folks to be more cosmopolitan than those of Hyderabad, Vijayawada, and Kakinada "where people are still largely tradition-bound".

Vizag has all the trappings of becoming a major modelling centre - scenic backdrops for photo shoots and trendy outfit stores, beauty parlours, men's salons and health clubs - for aspiring models to groom themselves. And what the youth wait for more is opportunities.


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