Friday, 01 May 2015 08:06

Tete-a-tete with Halley Laithangbam

Being one of the first professional male models hailing from Manipur, Halley Laithangbam is a dashing, smart and young model cum mentor in the modelling industry. Leaving his lucrative corporate job and modelling offers, he said “Mamma, I am coming home” to start a modelling studio in his motherland supporting young aspiring models thereby encouraging them to raise career prospects for a change in a disturbed state like Manipur. Halley Laithangbam in a tete-a-tete with YSN:
1.    Give us a brief of how you define yourself
Halley: I am just an ordinary lad but with an indomitable mind. I like doing things differently (for good) & facing challenges. I keep learning new things from life. Also I give equal importance to my education thus I have completed MBA (Marketing & Travel and tourism) in 2007 with 6 years of work experience in corporate world.
2. Tell us the story to this dream role career?
Halley: Since my childhood I always wanted to become a model. It has been my dream. Also I always believe that “If we have a dream we need to drive”. Still I feel I am driving as success has no limit. Perhaps I feel happy now being myself.
3. Whom do you admire the most in your profession?
Halley: I see quite many good looking & smart people around but I don’t find anyone whom I really admire yet. Instead I always compete myself & try to improvise my personality as time passes by, but it doesn’t mean that I am the best.
4. Ramp shows; give us a view on it? Do you have a preference between ramp shows and photo-shoots?
Halley: It’s always fun & amazing to sashay down the ramp. But I don’t have any preferences between the two. Because being a professional model I try to accept almost everything, hardly complain, not choosy and like doing all kind of works but that work must give me the real thrill & satisfaction.
5. Your first time on stage, what was it like?
Halley: Man Hunt 2002 (Man fete) and I got placed in 1st Runner Up position. That achievement made my confidence stronger & encouraged me to work even harder.
6. Your claim to fame?
Halley: My claim to fame is the fact that I am the first professional male model of Manipur.
7. People generally feel that it is a challenge to model. Any major challenges in your profession that you’d like to point out?
Halley: After becoming a model even I do face a lot of challenges. Modeling is not a child’s play as what people do think here in Manipur. I better do not mention the details now but to be mentioned a few, being a young lad associated with a remote state like Manipur defined by lack of amenities I find it very hard to come out of the shell and compete with my national & international counterparts. I always tab on my shoulder and encourage myself to become what I am today. Making a place in this industry is not as easy as it may sound.
8. What do you remember about your first TV commercial?
Halley: It was Nokia mobile’s TVC in 2004. I honestly don’t remember the details clearly but yes I felt so special & nice to see myself on TV.
9. Fashion industry is glamorous industry for us common lots. What do you have to say?
Halley: Yes I agree with the statement but on the other hand it’s not an easy task to live up to people’s expectations. Apart from reel life, I also do have a real life so I know the reality sides of life as well. Sometimes, I honestly feel like going to a far village & lead a simple life with no mobile phones, no laptop or any other electronic gadgets. That would make me feel like a true person, a real person. I would love to experience that kind of lifestyle.
10. Any secrets to your admirable physique?
Halley: I always try to know that what I am consuming. I try to stay health conscious most of the time. I neither smoke nor drink alcohols. I honestly eat junk foods sometime. (Smiles)
11. And what do you have to say to those howling ladies up your back?
Halley: I feel nice & lovely. I wish I could make them happier & give more time to them.
 Their love, care & support will always remain as indispensable parts of my career.
12. Do you feel that you have influence youth today? How?
Halley: Being the first professional model from the state I hope I could influence but I don’t have any fair ideas that how many exactly (laughs). But in this world we hardly find people encouraging one’s status & stature but to discourage we would find in thousands. In fact, I feel I am not the right person who could give the appropriate answer to this question. Rating of a movie can’t be judged by the producer/director but the viewers/audience. My statement could be just an assumption.
13. What was the reason behind you leaving your fabulous life outside Manipur? What are the pros and cons of working in Manipur comparatively?
Halley: Being the eldest & only son I had to come back here to take care of my family ever since my sister got married. From the time, I have come back here I have been missing quite big projects/assignments but at the end “PRIORITY” counts. I tried taking my parents with me outside Manipur but due to some circumstances, that didn’t happen. No regrets though. Still I feel like my life is fabulous reason being I have my own models’ grooming studio now which has been able to give birth to stars in fashion world of North East India.
I am happy with the fact that I have come back to my very own birth place. I may not have the right & best ideas but through every little step I would try to make some changes in fashion/modeling world of Manipur. I believe in “Even one person can make a difference”, I just take the first step in faith & the rest will follow.
Fashion/Modeling line is pretty virgin in Manipur. With “zero knowledge” of fashion/modeling there are many people who tagged themselves as models, designers, celebrity stylist and make-up artists. So when those people come up with an idea to organize a fashion event or any modeling works, the result comes out disastrous. Perhaps I could see really professional people also. It’s fun to see the differences & their dramas, I enjoy.
14. What led you to your “Halley’s Models’ Grooming Studio” venture?
Halley: To be honest it wasn’t in my “to do lists”. I never thought of owning a models’ grooming studio but few struggling models did approach me when they wanted to participate in beauty pageants before I started my H.M.G.S. I tried my hand in grooming them with their personality, etiquettes, walks, poses and most importantly practised with expected questions / answers. Fortunately & with their effort they came back to me with victory. That was my success & it gave me a ray of hope to launch my studio.
15. Describe the influence of H.M.G.S. on society, particularly youth.
Halley: The enthusiasm I see in each and every student of my studio is definitely a sign of the influence my studio has been making on the youth of today.
16. And what is the biggest dream of H.M.G.S?
Halley: “Actions speak louder than words”. Let me block this temporarily as a confidential unit until I turn up practically in my near future with a relevant proof. I just need your wishes and prayers. Thanking you in anticipation.
17. How has H.M.G.S. contributed to the employment scenario?
Halley: H.M.G.S. is just a tender studio of 8 months old that has been running with a principle of one man army i.e. me, I (laughs). There is no hierarchy system so far, not required as well. Office’s miscellaneous works till the most responsible areas have been done by me only. But yes, sometimes my students do help me when I get some extra work loads. In near future, I may have requirement for manpower, probably that would be the time I get happier by giving employment (big or small).
18. What is the scope of modelling in North-East India? Can it be a full-fledged career?
Halley: I think “geography” should not be a defining criterion for the scope of modeling anywhere. In our country the mainland Indians somehow dominates the fashion industry, but there have been people from the NE who have made their marks both in the fashion and film industries. Modeling, as a profession, might have been favourable only to few so far in this part of the country, but seeing how people across the North Eastern states have become educated in the realm of fashion over the recent years, I believe that somewhere down the line North East India will definitely become a fashion hub thereby rendering plenty of job opportunities to many modeling aspirants. North East people are born beautiful with brains but an ugly truth is that they are bit shorter comparatively to be a professional model in India. New generations are much taller that’s true. Still if the models are tall they need to get groomed well in all possible areas, need to get polished their brains through a channel which we actually don’t have; such facilities/academies in our region yet. H.M.G.S. has a big hope to bring some changes in these lacking areas in near future.
19. What do you have to say to the YOUTH of today?
Halley: Always choose your profession / career where your passion lies. You will never get tired. And that’s the first step to make you reached your dream goal with happiness & satisfaction.

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