March 17, 2021 Asmita Aggarwal

Classic Hike

Akanksha Siyad may enjoy the long walk while trekking, but what really sails the boat for this finance graduate is the trappings of the runway

By Asmita Aggarwal

When you meet a Gujarati raised in Bangalore you know that culture has played a huge part in the upbringing. So the 21-year-old, graduate in business administration (finance) Akanksha Siyad is an interesting mix of modernity and traditionalism. Walking at the FDCI and LFW joint fashion week, Siyad never thought she would make the cut, as her agency had filled in her application.

“I only got to know once they tagged me and my name came in the top 15 finalists. I was on a holiday so I ran to the nearest shack to get on a call with Lakshmi Rana and I knew I made it after the interview,” she says. The training was hectic with 7 am call times, which meant getting up at 4 am and making it to the venue, but what she learnt was priceless. From the basics on posing, runway classes, to personal branding, how to grow your instagram, makeup tutorials as well as managing your finances, Siyad learnt everything that would help her navigate this industry.

“They were initially only top 3 models to be chosen, but they liked us so much that four finalists made it,” she says. Siyad grew up with a businessman father, who dabbled in the incense sticks trade, but her parents were happy to see her find something that she deeply resonated with. “All they wanted me was to be independent both financially and mentally. When I came to Delhi, I noticed the girls around me, size, shape didn’t matter, personality did and it was really a realistic FDCI Model hunt and training imparted by Wilderbee Talent Camp (WTC)  Lakshmi Rana. Each one was warm and welcoming even though we were competitors there was an undeniable bonhomie that was palpable,” she adds.

This experience taught her she could do anything on her own, if you set your eyes on something, determination is the only thing that will propel you forward. Siyad was fascinated with senior models who came by to show their support, and for an aspirant who wants to do the catwalk, this proved to be an extra source of excitement. But there is a lot more to the five feet nine inches tall model than just the love for the design space. “I’m an outdoorsy person, I love trekking and reading self-help books. Plus, cooking desserts has been a kind of second love,” she laughs.

Climbing hills in Gokarna or going for spectacular treks in Yercaud, Tamil Nadu just to enjoy the stunning views, away from the humdrum of city life has been her calling. “Modelling is a bit like trekking, it is an uphill task till the summit. You need to balance your breathing, keep your composure, maintain navigation, but once you reach there, the soothing view calms your frazzled nerves,” she concludes.

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