05-30-2010, 01:05 AM
Q&A w/ Rohail Pirzada
"I am a Lahori and therefore I am proud of my roots which are well-read, well-informed and sophisticated." - Rohail Pirzada
By Kiran Haroon This out-going guy charms with ease and fits the bill of what makes a model. He dyed his hair blonde for a campaign and pulled it off with exceptional flair, it took guts and after that came his glory. His dark skin, intense deep set eyes and the male model must-have of above six-foot frame are all there to set hearts racing as he glides down the ramp.
Rohail Pirzada gives us a candid view of fashion as an insider.
Instep: What was your first assignment?
Rohail Pirzada: I still remember that day. I was super excited that I had been picked up by THE Khawar Riaz and yes I was obviously very anxious and eager to do a shoot with him. My first assignment happened to be a campaign for Hub Leather with the famous model and now a very, very good friend of mine Abdullah Ejaz and I was paired with Nooray Bhatti. My first shoot and that too with all the big guns of the industry was a feeling that I can't express in words. I seriously was on cloud nine because working with Khawar bhai was like a dream come true. I was given that blonde look where every single hair on my body from head to toe was dyed ash green and the look was more of an inspiration of some Brazilian soccer player.
Instep: What has been your biggest assignment to date?
RP: Well throughout my modeling career I have realized one thing that there isn't anything as small assignment or a big assignment. I am into modeling because I enjoy doing it and therefore it is almost impossible for me to choose any particular work of mine, though there are some favourites like the shoot that I did for the Daily Times Sunday cover along with the designer Naushemia was fantastic. Other than that some of the shoots that I have done with Amir Adnan, Munib Nawaz, Deepak Perwani, Kuki Concepts; the list goes, were far-fetched and then campaigns for Outfitters, Bata and Chen One were also super cool.
Instep: What unique aspect do you believe you bring to the modeling industry?
RP: Well the international look prevalent nowadays is not hunky anymore, besides it is rather healthy and a lot leaner than before. I try to portray that look and want to change the people's perception of modeling coupled with overbuilt muscles. Nowadays finally things are changing and as fashion weeks are the centre of attraction, bringing with it a good podium to voice issues. People who initially looked to Pakistan as the place where only blasts, corruption, confusion, devastating law & order situation, injustice and inflation is the mainstay now have realized that Pakistan also possess a lot of talent and people over here do have a remarkable fashion sense, probably that's the reason our designers get the opportunity to showcase their designs at the Milan, Dubai and other Fashion weeks. In the end I would like to add that models in Pakistan are looked upon as people with shaky background, who are assumed to be uneducated and always underestimated. I am a Lahori and therefore I am proud of my roots which are well-read, well-informed and sophisticated.
Instep: What are your long term goals in this industry?
RP: I never took modeling as a profession because frankly speaking in Pakistan modeling is very short-lived. It is a good part-time job but it can never be taken as a career. Currently I am doing BBA (Hons) from University of Central Punjab and this is my last semester, after that I'll be doing MBA InshAllah and later I would be helping my dad in his business. Apart from that I will start my own business or maybe you will find me working in the corporate sector somewhere. But as I said earlier I love being a part of this fashion fraternity and therefore I will always try on and off to stay in touch with the fashion industry in one way or the other.
Instep: Tell us about your best and worst modeling experiences.
RP: Well most of the experiences I have had throughout my modeling tenure are superlative. Fashion weeks, fashion shoots and some finicky campaigns have always been power packed pleasure. In the fashion circuit all of us are like a family and human beings after all so everyone makes mistakes. Yes there had been some minor tensions and few bad experiences though but then again life has to move on and one needs to learn from his or her mistakes, that's life.
Instep: What are the biggest differences for you between fashion weeks and fashion shows?
RP: Fashion weeks capture loads and loads of media attention, it sets an international platform. They boast immense exposure plus I would say the best part of fashion weeks is that the world gets to see what we have. Along with attracting international buyers, fashion weeks in itself speaks about the socio economic structure we possess. Many people didn't even know about Pakistan and relating it with fashion was just another lifetime for us. This year Vogue reporter, Karla Power, came to Pakistan to cover Fashion Pakistan Week, while talking to me she frankly confessed that she never expected to see what she actually saw, she was simply delighted and was excited to come again. Fashion weeks set new boundaries or perhaps I would say there are no boundaries at all because sky is the limit. Fashion weeks are a good notion to show the world that we have got talent, we have got excellent designers and great models comparable to the international fashion circle, all that was needed was a good platform and that deficiency has now been covered by the fashion weeks.
Fashion shows on the other hand are for the local people, it has a place of its own separate from the fashion weeks. Both of them are completely dissimilar from one another and encompass a podium poles apart from each other.
Instep: How have fashion weeks help groom you as a model?
RP: I think fashion weeks have a strict criterion of timing, because there are quick changes plus as I mentioned earlier with international coverage one needs to be on their toes and give everything their best shot. At least I am bent upon presenting myself to the fullest and representing my country which makes me feel really good and gives me a feeling of inner satisfaction, accomplishment and fulfillment. People who relate Pakistan with only terrorist attacks, suicide bombings, high inflation rates and unstable government policies finally have come to realize that Pakistan also shares a strong sense of style which they could easily relate to themselves.
Other then that fashion weeks also help me understand how important it is to keep up with my workout regime, how to train myself, how to manage time, how to speak in front of the camera, do red carpets, it also gave me sense of judgment regarding what's quality work. Also for the first time I saw each and every designer and therefore came to realize what spectrum of fashion we had to offer.
Instep: You've worked on both Fashion Pakistan Week and PFDC Sunsilk fashion weeks what have been the biggest differences for you?
RP: Both the Karachi and Lahore fashion weeks were super fun, filled with excitement, anticipation, enthusiasm, lots of energy plus lots of stress and workload as well that comes in handy. Both of them were very well organized, managed and executed. Speaking of Lahore Fashion Week we Lahoris are more vibrant and lively so over here it had a whole lot different feel of life, once the models set center stage the crowd used to roar and there were claps, claps and claps all over the place.
Karachi had a more serious and sophisticated approach and they were critical but at the same time had their own way of showing appreciation.
Instep: Give us the insiders view. What is backstage at fashion week really like?
RP: Initially it used to be a mess, with confusion, puzzlement, misunderstandings and miscommunication. In short one can conclude that backstage was more or less a fish market, chaotic situation. But over the years we have learned and now backstage is very well organized, well thought out, well prepared and pre-arranged to cater to all our needs.
Backstage possess every spur of the moment styling, it is basically a very challenging place where art is flowing in the form of styling, hair and make up. Over here split second decisions are taken. Hell has wheels but the minute one hits the ramp its like silence after the hurricane, as far as execution is perfect, that I believe is the result of all the perfectly directed mayhem backstage.