People seem to think being a stylist is a glamorous job. It’s actually the most unpaid job, with payments arriving many months after the shoot. Luckily for me, I have a day job and so I refer to it as my little trust fund. The other difficult thing is that you have to do everything: the creative concept, find a photographer, model, make-up artist, location, be on the phone with every fricking PR person in town sourcing clothes, and managing the tempers and needs and fancies of five different people. And if the tiniest thing goes wrong, it’s always ‘the stylist’s fault’.
Magazines don’t pay for a thing, not travel or food or anything. Zero. So we have to tie up hotel sponsorships. Get Dior or Armani on board to foot the bill, and give them a cover in return. Most Indian fashion magazines have no voice or vision, just one stale formula: take a Dior/LV dress, add a Bollywood actress, put them in a palace, and there’s your cover. You’ll often find them sporting a random flashy watch—to ensure five pages of ads. And Bollywood actresses can be painful.
You know why you see so many Russian models around? Indian models. They bully younger designers, think too much of themselves, don’t remain in shape, and they have ridiculously long careers despite all this—some of the so-called ‘top’ models here could be the mothers of the new 16-year-old supermodels abroad.
They’re just not professional. Tamara Moss looks amazing, but she’s amazingly painful to work with–always in her own world, not in a good way. Joey Matthews is not in shape. Jesse Randhawa should give up. Noyonika Chatterjee, well, she was professional, but thank God she’s stopped. Tinu Verghese throws tantrums. Bhawna Sharma and Michelle (Innes) have problems, post-marriage, posing in hotpants and swimsuits. Which is just as well, considering the shape they’re in.
(The stylist is based in Delhi, and has worked with mainstream fashion magazines for five years)
(As told to Shruti Ravindran)