Ashika Pratt, 26, is a New York based model who was scouted at 15 years old as she was walking down the street. Since then, Ashika has appeared on the cover of Vogue India 3 times and worked with brands such as Loreal, Chanel, Aritzia, Calvin Klein and more. Her secret to success? Hardwork and dedication!
I was born in Auckland, New Zealand and raised in a bi-racial family. My mother is Indian and my father is English, which makes me a hybrid of the two cultures. It was amazing growing up learning about both sides of my heritage through my parents. Growing up, I never thought about modeling as a career, but when I was 15 years old, I was scouted by an agent in my hometown as I was walking down the street. I didn't take it too seriously, but decided to call the agent back and it actually turned out to be an real modeling job, which is how my career in the fashion world got started.
I started working as a model part time at the age of 15 because I was still in High School at the time. I wanted to focus all of my time on modeling, but my parents pushed me to finish high school, which I didn't agree with at the time but am definitely thankful for now. I graduated from High School at 18 and moved to India for a year to model full-time. My career completely jump-started when I decided to pursue all of my time and energy on modeling and I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing designers and photographers ever since.
After a year, I moved to London and then finally ended up in New York, where I have been living for the past 4 years. In the US, I am categorized as an 'ethnic model', which I love because I am very proud of my heritage. Coming from an Indian background helps to determine which jobs I will book depending on the look that the client wants. I definitely think that my mixed background is an advantage for me because my looks often set me apart from others.
[pullquote align="C"]I definitely think that my mixed background is an advantage for me because my looks often set me apart from others.[/pullquote]
Although I love being a model, it is definitely not as easy job. People don't fully understand the amount of time and energy that is spend on working out and eating healthy. I also travel 2-3 times a week, living away from my home and family and missing out holidays and functions. Of course, the good out weighs the bad, and I love that my job allows me to do something different every day.
Even though it is hard to travel alone, it is really exciting to explore exotic new places and make friends everywhere you go including people in the industry. The first photographer I ever shot with in India was Tarun Vishwa. I have always admired him and loved every shoot we have worked on together since. Another huge perk is being able to work with an endless amount of talented designers. Some of my local favourites are Manish Malhotra, Shantanu & Nikhil and Dhruv Kapoor.
[pullquote align="L"]You will be faced with a lot of rejections and straight 'no's' but you cannot let that phase you if you want to make it as a model. [/pullquote]
My advice to anyone that wants to pursue modeling is to work extremely hard and be passionate about what you do. The first step is to contact agencies in your area and get signed with them. Your agency will help you book jobs and get in front of clients. From there it is all about hard work and dedication. You will be faced with a lot of rejections and straight 'no's' but you cannot let that phase you if you want to make it as a model. Commit yourself and you will definitely succeed!