If we tell you that the model in this picture is a successful doctor, I am sure you won’t believe us. But that’s a fact! Manu Bora is a doctor by profession working as a surgeon in a hospital in Gurgaon. But that hasn’t stopped him from being India’s top model. Manu Bora has worked with almost every elite fashion designer in the country. Not only that, but Manu is also the first India based male model to walk in the prestigious Paris Fashion Week. Here is his interview with Himalayan Buzz
Hello Manu, please tell our readers about your childhood, family, and education.
I was born in Jodhpur and I did my initial schooling here only. My father is a very well-known lawyer and my mother is a doctor by profession. I did my schooling from Shri Maheshwari Senior Secondary School, Jodhpur till 12th. After that I did my MBBS. For post-graduation, I went to Mumbai.
How did you get into modeling suddenly?
The decision to get into modeling was not a sudden decision. I was interested in modeling since my childhood but in Jodhpur it wasn’t possible. I knew that if I want to become a model I have to shift to Delhi or Mumbai.
Before moving I wanted to have a strong educational base. I studied a lot so that I could ultimately shift to Delhi or Mumbai for my medical education.
And that’s what happened. I got selected to AIPMT and secured 52nd rank. I got admitted to Maulana Azad Medical College Delhi. My father was apprehensive about how I would be able to cope up with living alone that’s why I did my medical from Jodhpur Medical College. After that I did my Post Graduation from Mumbai. Once, I was in Mumbai my career in Modeling started.
How did you get your first break in the Industry?
In the last 6 months of my Post-Graduation I worked on my physique. During this period, I got a bit of time. Since, I was passionate about modeling; I knew that somehow I have to get inside this industry. I had a couple of friends who were models. They asked me to contact a photographer and I got my professional portfolio done. I started sending my portfolio to different agencies. As luck I got the opportunity for Hero Honda print ad, after that my pictures got shortlisted by a Major Model Agency Based in Mumbai and my career took off!
You have worked in Paris Fashion Week which Indian male model dreams of. How was your experience?
I started my modeling career in September 2010 and by December end, I was on my flight to Paris! Paris Fashion Week is one of the world’s biggest fashion weeks in which thousands of models from around the world participate. The casting process is very grueling. I was the only male model based in India. What was more shocking was that till then no India based male model had ever participated in Paris Fashion Week. People were surprised to know that I was from India.
Apart from Paris, where else have you worked?
I have worked in all the fashion capitals of the world like New York, London, and Milan, etc.
Tell us about your experience in the Indian fashion industry.
I had a great time working with Sabyasachi, Varun Behl, Rohit Bal, Anita Dongre, Tarun Tahilyani, Manish Malhotra, Shantanu & Nikhil, and all the major fashion weeks like Lakme Fashion Week and the Indian Fashion Week. I also worked for fashion magazines like Vogue, GQ, Elle, Harper Bazaar, and done campaigns for Louis Vuitton.
How do you juggle between two successful careers – Surgeon and Model?
Manu Bora: If you’re determined you can. After my initial struggles, I never had to go for casting. I used to get 4-5 days of leave from my hospital work every month. But now, my workload has increased since I have started consultancy camps for the poor and also sportspeople. So, I now take just 1 assignment every 2-3 months. Currently I am Brand Ambassador of Raymond’s.
Who is your favorite designer?
I love all fashion designers. Everyone is so special in their own style. If I place myself as a consumer and not a model, I really like Rahil Bal’s clothes.
Which model did you look up to?
The youth of our country want to make a career in the fashion industry. What message do you want to give them?
Just like you need a degree for a job, you need a portfolio for modeling. I have seen that people don’t like investing in grooming or a portfolio. They underestimate both these aspects. I want to tell them that without these two things, you won’t get a break in the Industry. An ad agency will call you only after seeing your portfolio.