Have you ever wanted to do something but gave up on it, thinking that you’re too busy for it or too old to do it? Or you kept your passions aside and gave more importance to things like your job or meeting the expectations of others?
Well, you’re not alone. Most Indian men spend their lives living for others than living for themselves. And while doing this, they ignore their passions and sacrifice things that they want to do. When you finally decide to pursue your dreams, you realize that you’re too old to do that and are so tangled in your work that you don’t have time for it.
In today’s article, Avishek Sarkar tells us his story on how he overcame all these challenges and went on to become a professional model at the age of 37 and while still doing his regular day job.
Here are some highlights of our conversation with Avishek Sarkar on how he defied the norms of the society.
Q) How and when did you get started in the modeling industry? How did you get a break?
Modeling has always been a passion of mine since college, but I’ve never had the opportunity to pursue it as a career. With my everyday regular life, I never considered making it a job, but the desire to be a model was always there in the back of my mind. So, when I was given the opportunity to try my luck, I jumped at the chance and went to an audition for a pageant (Mr. Ms. Mrs. Jeeo King).
Q) What was the single biggest reason that made you finally pursue your passion?
I suppose the one thing that sparked me was an unmet ambition of mine that I wanted to achieve before I permanently closed my eyes, as well as the desire to achieve something that I would be proud of looking back on my life. Additionally, I should not say (Gosh! I should have taken advantage of the chance while I had it).
Q) What were the initial challenges that you faced when you ventured into the industry?
If you look at the title of my article, it clearly states what may be a hurdle for me as I try to break into this industry… Yes, it’s my age (I’m 38 now), and I still have this problem because in this industry models are now thought to have to be youthful and of a specific height.
If you look at the Mr. India pageant, you’ll see that there are certain standards in place, such as height, age, marital status, and so on. Although there are few events, pageants, photo shoots for married individuals in our nation, there is plenty of opportunity for women in this sector. But I’m here to disprove the myth that you can’t be a successful model after a certain age, let alone in the mainstream.
Q) How do you manage to do this while simultaneously doing your regular job?
I’ve always believed that if all successful people can manage their lives by doing a variety of activities, why couldn’t I? We all have the same 24 hours in a day. The difference is how we manage and utilize that. It is up to us to determine how we spend our time to achieve happiness and contentment in life.
Q) What was the reaction of your office colleagues when they came to know that you wanted to be a professional model?
To be honest, no one thought that I would be reinventing myself in this manner, let alone at this age. When I requested my boss for permission to take a leave of absence for my pageant in Dubai and then Kolkata, she was taken aback because she had no idea I would be modeling in addition to my 9-to-5 work. I recall one of my former coworkers asking me how I keep myself fit. These words keep me motivated to work harder.
Q) What is the reaction of your modeling colleagues when they see a much older model in their industry?
“Oh come on man! You don’t even look 37, you are far younger than any of us”. This was the same comment made by one of my co-contestants when I competed in my first pageant. They were perplexed as to how I could seem so young and fit and wanted me to reveal the secret. (Aapke jawani ka raaz batao)
Q) What are the biggest opportunities/achievements that you got after choosing to work as a professional model?
Apart from obtaining the titles of Mr. Vibrant and Mr. Inspiration, I believe my greatest accomplishment was the time I spent with some fantastic mentors (Ms. Sukanya Gupta, Ms.Liza Verma, Ms. Shaine Soni, and Mr. Karun Raman) during my pageant days. The directions and grooming you get to learn from those excellent folks in the field are always an achievement for everyone, in my opinion. Last but not least, some of the fantastic friends you make along the way are simply remarkable.
Q) What is the reaction of your family and friends when you decided to take this unconventional route at this age? Were they supportive? If not then how did you convince them?
My family never believed I’d end up in this sector since I’ve always been a fairly average-looking guy who is preoccupied with work and career. My wife, on the other hand, always thought that if I genuinely want it, I should give it a go.
Like every Indian family, even my parents wanted me to do a 9 to 6 job and lead a normal life like any other person. My family has never imagined about me getting into this industry that too so late, whereas other people at this age settle down in their life, whether being it’s their career or personal life. But I did it the other way round and started exploring.
My high school and college classmates are still asking me how and why suddenly I got into this so quickly. They often tell me that being older has been a blessing in disguise. I’m getting younger as I get older, and their nice actions inspire me even more. Everyone in my life has always been very nice and supportive of my choices.
Q) Do you ever wish that you should have pursued this dream much earlier rather than waiting for so many years? Or do you think that this is the right age for you to start because you’re much mature and emotionally stable now?
To be honest, I wish I had pursued it sooner so that I could have had more time to work, but I have no regrets. As I believe, all well that’s end well. And I believe that my age gives me an edge in remaining focused on my goal.
Q) How different would your life have been if you had not chosen to pursue your dreams and continue living your regular life?
Both lives have their own unique appeals, but I knew I wanted to do something exceptional and out of the ordinary, so I opted to follow my aspirations outside of my daily life. I believe that if I hadn’t chosen my ideal life, I would have been an ordinary person who worked from dawn to night and then went to bed. Life would have been extremely dull and monotonous.
And when you begin pursuing your ambitions, you will encounter a variety of hurdles and critiques that must be overcome. And now I’m at the point where these minor inconveniences don’t bother me. I accept criticism as a compliment and use it to help me become a better version of myself.
As a result, I’m now known as Avishek 2.0.
Q) What message do you want to give to men who think that it’s too late to pursue their passions?
It is never too late to pursue one’s aspirations and ambitions. All one needs to do is believe in oneself and work hard to achieve them. Take tiny steps, but start taking actions that will take you to your eventual destination.
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