Style Profile: Sundal Roy

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What made you first become a fashion model?

“I started doing it on the side when I was at university as a way to make some extra cash but once I graduated I already knew I didn’t want to be an architect (what I had studied), all I wanted to do was design fashion forever and ever.  I started booking more work that summer and realized modeling was a good way for me to get closer to that dream.”

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Image Credits: Photography by Christopher Sims, Styling by Sara Darling, Makeup by Julie Cooper. Photographer’s Assistant: Nick Thompson

What are common pressures a fashion model has to face? How do you cope?

“Insecurity, objectification, exploitation.”

“All the stories are often true. People will make comments about your body or your face and even if they don’t, your flaws will become hugely magnified to yourself until that’s all you can see (instead of the beauty that you do possess). You learn how to ‘work with’ your flaws and hide them.  It’s a battle of the mind and it can destroy people. It’s an industry that takes beautiful people and makes them feel so ugly and the ways in which this happens are extremely subtle but cumulative (they build up layer by layer over the years).

“Often people will treat you like you’re not even human.  For example, I’ve been stood for hours in presentations before while the whole design team sits around, discusses my outfit, passing round drinks and snacks while not even offering me a single thing or a chance to sit down.”

“Modeling can seem lucrative to people from the outside, but the reality is, once the agencies have taken their cut and deducted all the models promotional expenses and other expenses like their model apartment if they’ve come in from out of town and sometimes pocket money too, the model is often left with very little, sometimes even nothing at all.”

“It is also not a myth that there are creepy photographers out there and contrary to popular belief, they’re not just your run of the mill ‘guys with cameras’ posing as real photographers.  Some of them are real, working photographers who will abuse their positions of power to exploit vulnerable young girls desperate for work. BUT having said that, I have never experienced any kind of sexual assault or behavior I would deem inappropriate, but everyone categorizes inappropriate differently.  I have, however, had the misfortune of working with one or two creepy photographers who’ve only been interested in me taking all my clothes off and most models will have had an experience like this.  Fortunately, these sorts of guys are the exception rather than the rule: I have shot with a LOT of photographers and save a couple, the rest have been absolutely fantastic to work with.”

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Image Credits: Photography by Anushka Menon, Styling by Tania Fadte, Hair & Makeup by Richard Wilkinson.

 “To cope with such pressures, one has to develop a very thick skin.  It’s an important skill to be aware of your flaws as a model and know how to work with them and play up your strong points.  But it’s even more important to remember your strong points, otherwise your self-esteem will erode until there’s nothing left.”
“It’s important to learn boundaries and how to state them in a positive, non-confrontational way, which is easier said than done when you’re on a shoot and the whole concept rests around you doing something that you’re not comfortable with.  To speak up in front of a whole team of creatives and risk ruining their big idea and costing the production what could be thousands of pounds takes huge guts.  Unfortunately, even with all my years experience, I still find it difficult sometimes standing up for my principles.  I was once sent to Austria for a runway show and it was only when I got there that I realized nearly every single look contained fur, which they should have cleared with my agency beforehand.  I swallowed the bullet and didn’t say anything but I regret that now as the client ended up being so rude when I didn’t fit the samples and cancelled me off the job.  Having something to fall back on if you lose a client who expects you to compromise yourself in this way makes it a lot easier to stand up for yourself so I sincerely hope any aspiring models reading this heed my advice.”
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Image Credits: Photography by Anushka Menon, Styling by Tania Fadte, Hair & Makeup by Richard Wilkinson.

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Image Credits: Photography by Joy Datta, Styling by Divyak D’Souza, Hair & Makeup by Richard Wilkinson. Styling Assistant: Daniel Franklin

Which has been your favorite place in the world to shoot and why?

“Abu Dhabi was amazing. We were shooting in luxury 6 and 7 star hotels and the architecture was simply incredible.  I was instagramming the f*ck out of the place.  (instagram: @patterns4life)”

What do you splurge on?

“Not a lot at the moment, I am saving all my pennies for my tour of Asia and for the business I will be launching upon my return. This is a very important skill to learn when you are self-employed in the fashion industry, to hold onto your money when you’re earning it because you never know where your next job is coming from. Having said that, I have been known to go nuts on the high street if I have a few hours in town to kill.”

What are your guilty pleasures when spoiling yourself with food?

“I never feel guilty about my pleasures!  It’s the secret to not gaining weight– allowing yourself those moments of indulgence and not stressing about them.  I love pastries, ice cream, crumpets saturated in butter with marmite, green & black’s butterscotch chocolate… I could go on and on…”

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Image Credits: Photography by Bikramjit Bose, Styling by Pearl Shah, Hair & Makeup by Richard Wilkinson. 
What beauty tips do you swear by?

“I make my own face-oil and it’s absolutely divine, it makes my skin glow.  I use rosewater as a toner and a great cleanser from Raw Skin Food.  I make my own body scrubs using sea salt or coffee grounds (the latter is great for banishing cellulite) and almond oil instead of body lotion. I prefer using natural products where possible.  And I know it’s obvious, but getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water (something which I’ll admit I don’t drink enough of) and not smoking really do make a huge difference to your skin, more so than fancy beauty products.  Expensive products certainly do work and often better than the budget brands, but these certain lifestyle choices will go a hell of a long way.  I think one of the reasons why I’ve not aged much during my modeling career is because the downtime has allowed me so many lie-ins!  Beauty sleep is very, very important.  Many models smoke to keep their weight down, but you pay the price with your skin, I notice a difference to mine within days of picking the habit up again.  Also maintaining a consistent weight.  Too many cycles of weight loss and gain can also contribute to ageing, especially if you’re extremely underweight.”

What is your advice for people who are afraid to express their style?

“Ease yourself in slowly and gradually.  My brother was my first ever personal styling client last year and I said to him to start with baby steps. First time, wear a tie to work with a bit of a quirky on-trend pattern on it.  Then when you’re comfortable with that, work up to a subtly printed or colored shirt.  I saw him some weeks later wearing vintage-style braces, rolled up chinos with coloured socks peeking over the top of his on-trend brogues and a tweed blazer to work.  This was a young man who when he came to me for help was still rocking bootleg jeans with a pinstripe blazer circa 2004.  Take baby steps first, it could be the start of a beautiful sartorial journey!”

Which model inspires you?

“Erin Wasson cos’ she’s just so frikkin’ cool.”

  Can you show us your current favorite item in your closet? 

“My Vivienne Westwood pirate boots are a win with any outfit.  Or my AllSaints leather jacket also gets worn to death.”

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If your were not a model, what other profession would you have been doing instead?

“God knows, but thank heavens I have modeled as I’m headed straight for a career in fashion and prop styling.”

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Follow Sundal’s career on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SundalRoy or Follow her on her blog: www.patterns4life.blogspot.com

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