Aksharaa Jandhyala is a fashion model. She was born and brought up in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. At 17, she moved to Bangalore for graduation, where her life took a major turn and everything changed for her. Aksharaa was in the fashion team of her college. and her trainer asked her to participate in Elite Model Look. Elite Model Look is a yearly international modeling contest. She never thought of doing something like this and she was under-confident and super conscious about herself.
“In my college my trainer asked me to participate in the competition, Elite model look. I never thought I had in myself the ability to do something like this. I always dreamed about it but thought could never achieve it. It was my friend’s support and my trainer who pushed me. I reached the finale and was spotted by the agency, Faze Management. They liked me and I signed a contract with them. They are my mother agency in Bangalore. It has been two years since I am working as a full time model”.
Presently, Aksharaa is in Paris for fashion week. Earlier, she was in London for her shoots. When asked about the difference between the Indian fashion industry and industry in European countries, Aksharaa said, though she misses India and wants to work there with the designers, the workload abroad is lesser.
In abroad, they make one, work less, and pay more. The work ethic is much better. In India, Aksharaa said that here work is more and pay is less. Discussing the changes she wants to see in the industry, Aksharaa says,
“Major changes I would like too see is inclusivity. Here in abroad people talk about not being racist anymore. But there are some brands who just do it for their brand value. It should not be like this. It should be because one genuinely has talent irrespective of place where they come from.
Also, I want people to get rid of the zero size body mentality and not have that perfect image of model. There are so many different boady types and skin types. Nobody is perfect. So there should not be a definition that being a model is like having a zero size figure with perfect skin and everything perfect. I think we should break these stereotypes”.
Aksharaa misses being in India. She misses her family and friends. Above all, she misses Indian food the most. This is the first time she is out from India. First, she was excited about it. Only after stepping out, she realized how much she values her country and misses it. Now Aksharaa is into Bollywood songs and cooks only Indian food. She wants to come back and meet her friends and family and have some exotic Indian cuisines.
“Food is that one thing I miss the most. I love Punjabi food, especially Dal Makahni. Besides, I am a south Indian and miss my masala dosa and want to have filter coffee. (Originally, her family is from Andhara Pradesh) I miss the filter coffee and masala dosa. I think that is the one thing I would like to have once I come back”.
Talking about the negative impacts of fashion on the environment, Aksharaa says that there are a lot of designers and brands coming up with more sustainable options. They are a lot of people who are becoming aware of how much damage is being done to the environment.
A lot of people are taking steps for this. However, she said there are still quite many who are not aware of this. When asked Aksharaa how she will promote sustainable fashion among the masses, she says,
“If I reach that level, hopefully one day, I will start by myself by not just talking but actually implementing it. Not buying clothes every month and making sure that I work with designers who promote sustainable fashion. Promoting it on my social media and spreading the word among everyone. I think I should start from myself, making changes in my lifestyle and then influencing others”.
Aksharaa loves sunsets. Especially in London she loves going to the park watching the sky changing its color and the sun going down. That is her favorite part of the day. She is a high-en adrenaline person. Her next goal is going sky diving, something she always wanted to do. Aksharaa recently visited Palace Pier, Brighton, and had the most amazing time with her friends. She went on every single roller coaster and considers it as the wildest thing she did recently.
People in India usually have wrong perceptions about modeling. Talking about this, Aksharaa said, the majority of people here are extremely doubtful about the industry. Also, her aunts warned her to be careful about the industry.
“Most people think if one is a model they are dumb and could not do anything else. Moreover, they think a model does not have to do anything except posing, look pretty and getting paid for that. People think it is an easy job and people who do this job are not smart enough.
The job here is so uncertain. One should ready to face rejections. One has to be mentally strong or modeling can take a toll one oneself. I believe more than physically one has to be mentally the strongest”.