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“Modelling opportunities hustled for or found do not pay adequately enough to sustain models”

– Aakash Barot

At university, a journalism student who happened to also be Aakash Barot’s friend wanted to do a photo shoot, and asked him to model for her designs. This was in March 2017, his first ever experience in front of the camera.

The handsome lad enjoyed many opportunities after this, and with each, he gained more confidence and built numerous valued contacts in the industry. A few months after this, he saw an advert from Aliza Rajan about model auditions, and decided to go for the opportunity. “This is where my runway experience begun – by working in shows with international brands. My first show was The Asia Wedding Lounge,” says The Asian Weekly Achievers Award 2018 nominee, who is also a final year student at USIU pursuing software engineering. Some modeling highlights include representing high end brands accessory and fashion brands, he featured in the City Walk’s 2018 calendar, was a nominee category of best stylish personality male for TAWAA, in Mr and Miss USIU competition, I made it to finals and was given the title of Mr

Community Service USIU 2017/18.


Breaking the stereotype -Your take on:

Male models are gym obsessed – According to me keeping fit and exercising shouldn’t be linked to gender. There is a big difference between working out passionately in the gym and being obsessed in the gym. Males and females should try and keep in shape in whatever way they seem fit (weight lifting, yoga, aesthetics et cetera), in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Modelling isn’t a self-sustaining career – In the Kenyan fashion industry, there is minimum scope of outfits and designer attire for men. Quite a few number of local and international fashion shows that are held in Kenya showcase women clothing collection only. There are various difficulties in the Kenyan fashion industry which does not make modelling in Kenya a self-sustaining career as most designers and cloth lines are looking for individuals willing to work for “exposure” or minimum payment.

Models rarely face rejection – Trust me there is nothing that comes easy, personally I have faced a lot of rejection, it’s about how persistent you are.


A grooming routine you follow religiously – Every 10 days, I pay a visit to my hairdresser.

What are some modelling challenges in Kenya?

• We do not have reliable modelling agencies that link models with jobs in and out of Kenya. Most are freelance and work part-time.

• Modelling opportunities hustled for and found b one do not pay adequately enough to sustain models.

What is a fashion faux-pas according to you? Oversized clothes, incorrect socks, or for example an event dress-code says smart and you show up in streetwear or casual.

What would you change in the industry? The mentality that men’s grooming and fashion can be ignored.

Who is your favorite local fashion designer? Vaishali Morjaria.

What are the pre-requisites to be a male model in the country? Some designers require a certain height especially for runway, I’ve personally been a victim of it, it still doesn’t bring me down or demotivate me. For photoshoots there is no height requirement.

Your worst modelling memory – Going for an audition, being selected, attending training for two weeks which involved time and costs, then the evening before the show the organiser, who is from a different country, asks me, “Can you do something about your height?” and just like that – I wasn’t part of the show.

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