Model Spotlight: Exclusive Interview with 'Karthikeyan V' - Fashion Model & Vitiligo Awareness Advocate.

by - 00:00:00

Fashion Model and Vitiligo Awareness Advocate "Karthikeyan V"  takes the cover story of OTS Magazine's Diversity Issue, lensed by photographer Dinesh Hariharan.

In this interview, he talks about his journey and how he is embracing his uniqueness, whether it's in his individual style, diverse background, or a blend of unconventional features, he feels motivated to explore the world of modeling as a means of self-expression and embracing individuality and to foster a positive self-image.

To him, pursuing a career in modeling is not just a career choice but a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.
He seeks to educate people about vitiligo while fostering awareness and dispelling misconceptions, to him modelling and being a vitiligo advocate is about challenging societal norms, promoting awareness, and encouraging men to share their unique stories.

He also seeks to encourage other aspiring models to believe in their capabilities, celebrate their uniqueness, and confidently share their stories with the world.

He hopes to debunk misconceptions and encourage acceptance.

Read his very insightful interview below;
Exclusive Interview with 'Karthikeyan V' -Fashion Model & Vitiligo Awareness Advocate
Please fully tell us about yourself and your background.
I'm Karthikeyan I'm from Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. I was born on 25 November 1999. Growing up, my parents navigated through challenging circumstances, and their resilience has profoundly shaped who I am today. Despite facing financial struggles, they prioritized my well-being and education, instilling in me the values of perseverance and hard work. My childhood was a blend of joyous moments and challenges, marked by the onset of vitiligo during my third-grade studies.

How old were you when you developed vitiligo and did you know what it was straight away? 
At the tender age of 8, while navigating the challenges of the third grade, my journey took an unexpected turn as vitiligo began to develop. The unique pigmentation changes were perplexing, and at that time, I had no understanding of what it truly meant. The gradual transformation became a part of my childhood, an uncharted territory that sparked curiosity and, at times, puzzled glances from those around me. 

What was it like growing up with vitiligo?
Navigating childhood with vitiligo posed unique challenges, as the visible differences set me apart from what society deemed "normal." In my country, where vitiligo is more prevalent, the journey was marked by a mix of understanding and occasional misperceptions. While acceptance and awareness about vitiligo were more common, there were still instances of being seen differently. Yet, this experience has fostered resilience and a profound appreciation for diversity. It's a reminder that beauty transcends societal norms, and embracing our differences contributes to a richer, more compassionate world.

How and when did you discover you had a passion for modelling?
Recently, I discovered a profound passion for modeling, and my inspiration stems from the groundbreaking work of models like Winnie Harlow. Witnessing her redefine beauty standards has been truly empowering. Additionally, the iconic Michael Jackson has played a pivotal role in shaping my artistic vision and expression. Their influence has ignited a newfound interest, inspiring me to explore the world of modeling as a means of self-expression and embracing individuality. I am excited to embark on this journey, drawing inspiration from these luminaries who have fearlessly carved their paths in the industry.

In your own words please describe your style as a model?
In my own narrative, I proudly define myself as a unique male model, and the reason lies in the distinctive qualities and experiences I bring to the industry. Having already embraced my uniqueness, whether it's in my individual style, diverse background, or a blend of unconventional features, I am excited to contribute to the modeling world in a way that stands out. This authenticity and self-assuredness define my approach, making me a male model with a distinctive flair that sets me apart
Exclusive Interview with 'Karthikeyan V' - Fashion Model & Vitiligo Awareness Advocate.
Do you remember your first experience in front of the Camera?
The thrill was indescribable as I stood in front of the camera, bathed in its focused attention. The energy on set, the anticipation in the air, all centered around capturing that perfect moment. It was an exhilarating experience, knowing that each shot held the potential to convey a story, an emotion, or a facet of my personality.

How big a role does modelling play in your life?
Embarking on my modeling journey as an aspiring model has already begun to shape my sense of self, infusing me with newfound confidence. Each step in this exciting career path is a testament to the transformative impact it has had on my self-assurance. The experiences gained, even at this early stage, have become building blocks for my confidence, affirming that pursuing modeling is not just a career choice but a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

Who or what is your biggest motivation in life?
My unwavering motivation stems from the incredible support and sacrifices made by my parents. Their resilience, dedication, and the life they've lived serve as a constant source of inspiration for me. Every challenge they've overcome and every triumph they've achieved fuels my determination to pursue my goals with the same vigor. The life they've led motivates me every day, reminding me of the strength that comes from perseverance and the boundless possibilities that exist when driven by passion and purpose.

What are your views on how important is it to educate and possibly change people’s perception of vitiligo through one's platform?
My approach to educating people about vitiligo revolves around fostering awareness and dispelling misconceptions. It's crucial for individuals to understand that vitiligo is not a disease but a pigmentation deficiency. By emphasizing this distinction, we can help dismantle stigmas and promote a more accurate understanding of the condition. My goal is to empower others with knowledge, encouraging empathy and inclusivity, so that society views vitiligo not as a threat to be feared but as a unique aspect of diversity to be celebrated.

Exclusive Interview with 'Karthikeyan V' - Fashion Model & Vitiligo Awareness Advocate.
When it comes to vitiligo, the majority of attention is directed towards how women handle and accept the situation. What is it like from a man's perspective? 
From a man's perspective, navigating vitiligo can bring its own set of challenges and experiences. While discussions often focus on women, it's important to recognize that men, too, may grapple with societal expectations and self-image concerns. Personally, I believe that embracing vitiligo involves breaking stereotypes and fostering a positive self-image. It's about challenging societal norms, promoting awareness, and encouraging men to share their unique stories. Each journey is different, but the key lies in fostering understanding and support for everyone, regardless of gender, who faces the complexities of living with vitiligo.

Additionally, to foster understanding and recognition of the male perspective on vitiligo, it would be impactful to showcase characters with vitiligo in movies or series. By featuring diverse and relatable male characters navigating life with vitiligo, we can reach a broader audience and contribute to a more inclusive representation in media. This recognition in popular culture not only increases awareness but also promotes a sense of belonging and empowerment for men with vitiligo, reinforcing that their stories are valid, valuable, and deserving of acknowledgment.

My experience with vitiligo has been marked by various challenges, including frequent staring, rejections, and instances of people avoiding me. There have been moments when individuals expressed discomfort, and I could sense a feeling of disdain. Navigating through such reactions has been emotionally taxing, leading to occasional self-reflection and moments of resilience. However, I've learned to rise above these challenges, embracing my uniqueness and finding strength in the face of adversity. It's an ongoing journey of self-acceptance and advocating for understanding in the broader community.

How do you feel when you get to educate others on vitiligo?
Experiencing the impact of educating someone about vitiligo and witnessing their newfound understanding is truly fulfilling. The ability to share knowledge and dispel misconceptions creates a positive ripple effect, fostering a more inclusive and informed community. Knowing that you've contributed to someone's awareness and helped them see vitiligo for what it truly is can be a powerful and rewarding moment.

What advice would you offer to other aspiring models who wish to set their own style and not be like everyone else?
Being new to offering advice to aspiring models, one key message I would share is to believe in yourself and cultivate your unique qualities. In the competitive world of modeling, authenticity stands out. Embrace what makes you distinct, and let that uniqueness shine through. Whether it's your personal style, individual charm, or a particular talent, showcasing your true self will not only set you apart but also resonate with those who appreciate authenticity. So, believe in your capabilities, celebrate your uniqueness, and confidently share your story with the world.
Exclusive Interview with 'Karthikeyan V' - Fashion Model & Vitiligo Awareness Advocate.
What Would You Consider the Most Important Components of Your Style? And Do You Feel You Have A Signature Style as a model?
The most important components of my style as a model revolve around authenticity, versatility, and the ability to convey emotions effectively through poses and expressions. I believe in adapting to different concepts and embodying the essence of each shoot while maintaining a consistent level of professionalism.

As for having a signature style, I strive to bring a unique blend of confidence and My Eyes expression gives more to my work.

If you could change one thing about the fashion and modelling industry, what would it be? What would you improve?
As someone who is relatively new to reshaping the modeling landscape, my primary focus is on driving positive change. A key aspect I am passionate about improving is the continuous and inclusive opportunities for everyone. In this evolving journey, I am committed to breaking traditional norms and fostering an environment that embraces diversity. By providing ongoing opportunities to individuals of all backgrounds, I aspire to contribute to a more inclusive and representative modeling industry, where every story is heard and every face is celebrated.

Would you like to challenge any prejudices regarding vitiligo?
Yes, I am eager to challenge any prejudices surrounding vitiligo. It's essential to foster understanding and awareness about this condition. By sharing my own experiences, promoting positive representations, and engaging in open conversations, I hope to debunk misconceptions and encourage acceptance. Educating others about vitiligo is a powerful way to challenge prejudices and create a more inclusive environment.

What is the most challenging part of being a model?
The most challenging aspect of being a model is undoubtedly the need to maintain consistent health, body type, and dietary habits. It requires a meticulous and ongoing effort to strike the right balance, ensuring that I am physically and mentally prepared for various modeling opportunities. The pressure to meet certain industry standards demands a disciplined approach to my lifestyle. However, I view this challenge as an integral part of the profession, pushing me to prioritize my well-being and strive for a healthy, sustainable balance that aligns with both my personal values and the expectations of the industry.
Exclusive Interview with 'Karthikeyan V' - Fashion Model & Vitiligo Awareness Advocate.
What are some of the biggest hurdles you have been faced with as a model and how did you overcome them?
I embarked on this modeling journey with great enthusiasm, and though I've been putting in dedicated efforts, I haven't yet had the opportunity to showcase my abilities. Despite the absence of immediate opportunities, I remain steadfast in my commitment to this path. I believe that persistence and continuous improvement will eventually open doors for me to demonstrate my skills and unique style within the modeling industry. I am eagerly looking forward to the chance to make my mark and contribute my distinctive perspective.

In my opinion; "You are already quite beautiful. Little characteristics such as the colour of your skin, hair, moles, freckles, and hair all contribute to your unique individuality and attractive appearance. If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be and why?
I genuinely find immense joy and contentment in my current state of being. Reflecting on who I am today, I can honestly say that there's nothing I would change about myself. Embracing every aspect of my journey and the person I've become brings me a sense of fulfillment. It's a powerful realization that highlights the importance of self-acceptance and gratitude for the unique qualities that shape who I am

What advice would you give someone struggling to find comfort in their skin due to vitiligo or other very noticeable skin conditions?
My primary advice to individuals with vitiligo skin types is to embrace and celebrate the beauty of our own skin. Acceptance of our uniqueness is a powerful journey towards self-love. By acknowledging and valuing the distinct patterns and colors that vitiligo brings, we contribute something extraordinary to the world. It's about recognizing that our skin tells a story, one of resilience, individuality, and the courage to stand out. In accepting ourselves, we inspire others to do the same and redefine standards of beauty in the process.

What are your personal qualities which distinguish you from others?
I believe that kindness is a cornerstone of my personality. Maintaining a calm and composed demeanor is one of my greatest qualities. I make a conscious effort to navigate situations without letting anger take hold. This calmness allows me to approach challenges with a clear mind and respond thoughtfully, fostering positive interactions. I see it as an essential aspect of my character, contributing to creating harmonious relationships and a more tranquil environment in both personal and professional aspects of my life.
Exclusive Interview with 'Karthikeyan V' - Fashion Model & Vitiligo Awareness Advocate.
What do you consider your biggest professional success so far?
Though I may not have achieved specific professional milestones thus far, my greatest success lies in securing a position within a reputable company that provides a positive and fulfilling work environment. Joining a company known for its excellence and being part of a supportive workplace is a significant accomplishment for me. I consider it a crucial step in my professional journey, and I am eager to contribute to the success of the organization while continuing to learn and grow in this conducive work environment.

Becoming a model really introduces one major condition into your life which is “Consistency” , Do you think this theory is accurate or not?
Absolutely, I firmly believe that consistency is the key to success, not just in modeling but across various industries. Sustained effort, dedication, and a commitment to improvement over time contribute significantly to achieving one's goals. In modeling, maintaining consistency in performance, professionalism, and personal growth ensures a lasting impact and opens doors for continuous opportunities. It's a principle that I apply across all aspects of my life, recognizing its universal significance in the pursuit of success

Is there any brand you would love to model for?
Yes, I am enthusiastic about collaborating with various brands, and while I am open to working with all, I do have a specific fondness for two iconic brands – Louis Vuitton and Dior. Their timeless elegance and innovative designs align with my personal style, and I would be honored to contribute my efforts to these renowned fashion houses. It's a dream to be part of the artistic vision and creative energy they embody.

How do you empower others through your work?
Through my work, I aim to empower others by fostering a sense of inclusivity and self-expression. Whether it's through modeling or other endeavors, I strive to break stereotypes, promote diversity, and encourage individuals to embrace their uniqueness. By sharing my experiences and advocating for authenticity, I hope to inspire confidence and self-acceptance in others. Ultimately, my goal is to contribute to a more positive and empowering narrative that transcends the boundaries of my own journey.
Exclusive Interview with 'Karthikeyan V' - Fashion Model & Vitiligo Awareness Advocate.
What are your latest and upcoming projects?
While I haven't secured any major projects yet, I am actively engaged in local shoots and campaigns to build my portfolio and enhance my visibility on Instagram. These local endeavors serve as valuable opportunities for growth, allowing me to showcase my skills and unique style. I am committed to refining my craft and expanding my reach, laying the foundation for future projects. Each local shoot contributes to my journey, and I am eager to leverage these experiences to eventually secure meaningful opportunities in the broader modeling industry

What are you doing when you are not working?
Outside of work, I find joy in exploring new places through traveling and spending quality time with friends. Traveling allows me to broaden my horizons, discover new cultures, and create lasting memories. Hanging out with friends adds a social element to my downtime, fostering connections and shared experiences. Additionally, I have a penchant for temple visits, finding solace and inspiration in these spiritual spaces. Balancing these activities brings a sense of fulfillment, helping me recharge and approach work with renewed enthusiasm.

Any last words you’d like to add?
Yes, I am sincerely grateful for this opportunity, and I want to express my heartfelt thanks. I believe that this experience has the potential to open doors to life-changing opportunities, and I am eager to make the most of it. Your support means a lot, and I am committed to contributing my best to make a positive impact. Thank you once again for this chance, and I look forward to the journey ahead.
Follow Karthikeyan on Instagram to keep up with his modelling journey.
Find us on Instagram

You May Also Like