Half An Hour With Arsalan Ihsan

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A model unlike any other, he is also a mathematics major from Oxford University and a savvy host at fashion events

From a mathematician to model, what inspired your journey?
Life for me is more spatial, than linear. Mathematics was a passion, and so was modelling. I completed Actuarial Science and Statistics at Oxford, and am now adamant to model, before delving into subsequent ventures.

The moment you realised modeling was your dream?
It always has been. I was just too afraid, or perhaps shy, to admit to it. One voice said I wanted to model, the other asked me to remain silent. Albeit both voices being internal; turns out that the former one was actually my own.

What was your first project?
A show for Hisham Malik in Islamabad: I think of myself as being analytical and rational thus saw that in pictures that I looked like a model amongst the cohort, and proceeded to provide myself some much needed positive reinforcement.

One piece of advice you would give to aspiring models?
Advice would be to do your homework, but more importantly, a warning: There is hardly any money for male models in Pakistan. Hence remember to work on a constant stream of income that pays your bills, besides modelling.

Has anyone ever told you to have a backup plan in case this line of career doesn’t work? What was your response.
Everyone says that to everyone. I don’t work on backups. If I want something, I want it, and I’ll give it all I have to get it.

Your feelings when you first stepped onto the runway for the first time?
It felt right. I slid into the role with great ease. Whether I did well or not on the ramp, that onlookers will be able to tell more accurately.

What, in your opinion, makes you stand apart from the rest?
Look at me! Do I have to say much else? Afterthought: Besides, I think that I look good, different, and have an international look – I hope that I am not too disillusioned, however!

Is it challenging to be part of the modelling industry in Pakistan, in a field largely dominated by women?
Women have more opportunities to model all over the world. Women’s fashion is just a bigger industry relative to menswear. Every boy in this country wants to model, while our menswear industry is tiny – this leads to fierce (and often unhealthy) competition.

Favourite pastime or ongoing hobby?
Graphic design.

What projects are you currently working on?
I am beginning to get more work as a host, which is nice. Having said that, modelling (which is also creation of art and stunning pictures) is my absolute passion.

In one sentence, how do you see your future in the next five years?
Without specifying a certain time-frame, I’d like to work as a model in Europe and transition in to films – in any order.

In another lifetime, who would you want to be if not a model?
I’d rather be everything that I want in this lifetime. I was once working for EFU, then host on a national English TV channel etc. Like I said, life is spatial for me, not linear.

Your ideal lifestyle?
Since I’m busy with lots of work, I want a stylist, an assistant, and a PR representative – I am absolutely lousy at Social Media!

Success means…?
Contentment – which, in retrospect, for me, seems like a far-fetched
concept.

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