TJ is making a mark globally in the modeling arena. His confidence, candor and conviction have taken him right at the top! He has made the unrealistic runway measurements real. Putting himself on the world map, he is one of the most striking models on the catwalks and shoots. Pushing the boundaries of what it means to be unconventional, TJ is one of the most striking personalities in the modeling industry right now.
What made you turn to modelling? Walk us through your initial days in the industry?
I always knew that I wanted to be in this industry because eversince I was a child, I have always been the actor, the dancer, the performer in the family! I absolutely love being on stage and in the spotlight and I enjoy being the centre of attention. Even in school, I always looked forward for the annual day rehearsals to come because that’d mean me skipping classes to dance, act, sing and perform on stage. I started in 2017, I did a thorough research before entering the modeling industry because at that time only 3 or 4 male models were there in the industry who were skinny like I was. So, I went on looking for the brands, designers, photographers, stylists, etc. who had worked with these models and had a very international outlook. So I used to email and spam everyone, especially Huemn!
One day, I got a call from Shyma who’s one of the Co- designers/owners of the brand Huemn asking me to meet them at their studio and that’s where they told me that I’ll be walking for their show at Amazon Fashion Week in March 2017 which was directed by Lubna Adams and at the same week I got to open the show for Abhishek Paatni’s brand Nought One. That same month, I got my first cover for a magazine so it’s been an interesting journey till now. I wasn’t really scouted or founded by anyone, I have always pushed myself and worked for everything that I have gotten myself. I have been myself and have just followed my intuition.
How would you sum up your journey?
Well, I can’t really sum up my journey as of yet. There is a long way ahead. I am a Highway Unicorn!
What, for you, is the best thing about your profession?
Being a model sure has its perks; everyday is an adventure and a new experience because I am working with different people and at different locations. The fact that I get to express myself and be free and have fun is the best thing about my job.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
I can’t really point just one way and say this person has been the biggest influence in my life because I feel personally that I derive inspiration from everyone. I feel everyone has something to teach! If you talk about anyone in this industry that has been an influence, it would for sure be Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey and Shahrukh Khan. All of their journeys/stories have just inspired me so much and still continue to inspire me every day.
Is there a beauty tip that you follow religiously?
Toning and moisturizing is the key!
If you had to describe your journey in one sentence, what would that be?
My journey till now, I’d describe it as a metamorphical journey.
How do you relax?
I love coming home to myself, reading my book and having a nice hot warm cup of green and lemongrass tea.
Your modeling career has been taking off? What’s it been like living life more in the public eye?
I’ve always been a stage person and I just love all the attention. I am definitely humbled and grateful when people come up to me and say that they love my work or ask me for pictures.
What’s the best modeling advice anyone has given you?
It would be to loosen up and just have fun and be yourself!
Has your personal style evolved?
Just like how I’ve grown over the years and have evolved, my personal style too has evolved a lot.
Do you have a routine in the morning when you wake up?
I always start with my morning prayers with gratitude and then I make myself a nice cup of hot green tea and I read a few pages of my book, currently I’m reading “You can heal your life” by Louise Hay.
What are the changes you would love to see in the modeling industry?
I’d absolutely love to see a proper system to regulate the payments being made on time and models being treated how they’re treated internationally.
There is a huge lack of respect and recognition in India for models as compared to the US or Europe. Fashion magazines should feature more models in their magazines and covers than Bollywood stars. In India, everything is ruled by Bollywood! Even at fashion shows, the showstoppers take all the limelight that models very much deserve.
Where do you see yourself in your career in the next few years?
I just got signed by an agency in New York and soon you’ll see me on the runway in New York Fashion Week.
My dream is to walk for Tom Ford, Gucci, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Balmain.
I do see myself acting as well and I’d love to make music too.
What is your greatest indulgence?
I absolutely love ice cream. Since I am lactose intolerant, I can only have vegan ice creams so I am always on the lookout for some vegan desserts to indulge in!
Do you have a signature style?
At the moment, I’m obsessed with oversized shirts.
A fashion trend you are currently obsessed with?
High waisted pants and oversized clothing.
An overused hashtag you’d never use
Even though I used to use this a lot back in the day but now I’d never use #likeforlike, it’s just too desperate.
What trait annoys you the most?
I am quiet patient and tolerant but I just can’t stand anyone being rude or very loud.
What is your next holiday destination?
I recently watched this movie called “Under the Tuscan sun” and now I definitely would love to go to Tuscany, Italy and just walk around and enjoy the beauty and Italian food.
Your favourite scent
I love anything coconut, currently I am obsessed with black coconut from Bath and Body Works.
Your spirit animal
A Unicorn with wings would be my spirit animal.
A turn off
Anything unhygienic and odor.
A perfect date
Ideally I’d love to go for a movie where we just hold hands and cuddle with a nice dinner after followed by a long walk just talking and listening and a nice cuddle session after is my idea of a perfect date.
There are so many but now I can only think of “Bridesmaids” “Collateral Beauty” and “Under the Tuscan sun.”
Anything from Oprah Winfrey.
Your comfort food
Any Dal with Chapatis
The most adventurous thing you did last year
Well, I’ve not done anything that adventurous yet!
A fashion item you would never wear
I am actually open to anything and everything so I can’t think of anything I’d never wear.
Quick step out ritual
A quick perfume spray session, drinking water and carry my bum bag.
What makes you feel alive?
Love, laughter and dancing.
One superpower you wish to have
I’d love to have the ability to move things with the power of my mind like Matilda.
One celebrity you would like to go on a date with
I’d love to go on a date with Shahrukh Khan, he’s my man crush and I’d love to pick his brains.
A millennial you would like to swap life with for a day?
A word that makes you cringes when you hear it?
Anyone who says they’re OCD, it makes me cringe so much. People need to know that saying that they’re OCD is not a trend or it does not make them look cool and clean. OCD is an actual condition that people suffer with!
What is on your Netflix queue?
Crown season 3, Maya Angelou and Still I Rise, Marriage Story, Lady Gaga- Five Foot Two and Blended
Favourite online store?
Amazon right now