Meet India’s first male model with autism
Brooding eyes, dashing looks and a natural flair for posing is what impresses you when you glance through model Pranav Bakhshi’s Instagram profile. The 19-year-old is breaking the myth that the fashion industry is not suited for those with autism.
Pranav calls autism his superpower and is determined to live his life on his own terms and is now living his modelling dreams. He wants to walk the ramp for international brands and become one of the leading male models. He has already walked for some well-known high street labels.
The 19-year-old is now with a leading Delhi-based modelling agency called Ninjas Model Management. The agency is run by Ninja Singh, who is a model herself and has modelled for leading cosmetic brands internationally. The day Pranav came to sign the contract with Ninja’s office, she knew that they guy had all the qualities it takes to be a good model. His mood was well captured on the camera and his digitals looked quite professional. His agency has already started getting booking request for him from various clients. In a very short span, he has become quite a pro in modelling.
Before signing up with the modelling agency, Pranav and his mother Anupama Bakhshi sent several emails to various modelling agencies in the country, but nobody showed interest. But with this modelling agency, which is promoting inclusivity in fashion, realised Pranav’s talent and gave him a chance to be a part of it. “He had those looks and trait that’s needed for a model and that was enough for me to sign him up with the agency,” says Ninja. “We as a company want to prove our patriotic acumen. It is the first time in history that India will represent such diversity like nowhere else in the world. We are proud that India will invigorate fashion is a very moralistic sense,” she adds. Pranav’s role model in modelling is Spanish supermodel Jon Kortajarena. Apart from fashion, Pranav is also interested in photography and plays golf.
Pranav’s mother Anupama Bakhshi can’t be more proud of her son’s achievements. He was two, when she got to know about his condition. But she took things in her stride and made sure that she would let her son do whatever he wishes to do in his life and give him that space where he feels happy and content. “We were in a mall when suddenly he came up to me showing a billboard. He expressed his desire to model and I could only agree with his decision. Pranav is very well aware that he has autism and is fighting it on a day to day basic. But he is a strong man and I really want the other kids with autism to take inspiration from him and believe in themselves,” says his mother.
Pranav has 40 per cent disability and also suffers from echolalia (a condition in which you repeat what others say). He has severe anxiety issues and extreme obsessions. However, all of this isn’t stopping Pranav from following his modelling dreams.