Beard journey: I did a project for Eroma perfumes and beard oils. When the project was initially offered to me I wasn’t sure if I wanted to grow a beard for a campaign, but as a model I also wanted to try something different. Preparation time for this project was almost four months. It took patience and an itchy beard destroying my appetite and sleep. Keeping my hands off trimmers and razors was challenging and I had to find new solutions to do everyday things because of my beard. This project taught me patience, flexibility and self-grooming to a whole new level.
HSY dream: It was a dream growing up to walk the ramp for big designers, especially HSY from Pakistan and Sabyasachi from India. When I first came to rehearsals for a show I was informed HSY would only have five male models and choose them himself. As much as I wanted to walk the ramp for him, it seemed difficult, as we were more than 15 male models, so the competition was tough. HSY did the auditions himself and I was privileged to walk the ramp. This whole experience was exciting and I gained a whole lot of knowledge about the fashion industry.
First act: Growing up watching movies, I wanted to be an actor, but being born and brought up in Scandinavia these dreams seemed far-fetched. Then years later, I was cast in a feature film. I thought acting would be easy, but it was the most demanding and difficult job in the world. The shoots were long and retakes were a never-ending story. I used to get frustrated sometimes, but making a movie demands a lot more than just patience.
First modelling job: I received a call from someone planning a fashion week in Oslo, who had seen me in that first feature film and asked if I could be a part of his upcoming fashion show as a model. This was my first modelling offer. I was nervous and told him I had never done fashion shows. The organiser convinced me that a proper choreographer would make sure everything is rehearsed. It was back-breaking work, but the response from my first ramp walk was overwhelming and that was the moment I knew I wanted to do more.
Rajput experience: In 2016, I was offered a chance to walk in a fashion show for emerging Pakistani designer Emraan Rajput. This fashion week made me realise being a model is a tough profession and not just walking the ramp from point A to B. There is so much more to it and, of course, careers are short and fast. I soon learned to make the most of it while it lasts.
Going commercial: I was offered a modelling agency contract during a fashion show but declined the offer as I wanted to remain freelance. She then offered me a commercial if I did a one-year contract with her. I accepted and this led me to my first TV commercial project. It was a small-budget project, with a demanding role and lots of retakes. I realised doing commercials need lots of patience and waiting.
Big brand: The biggest brand project came when I was chosen to model for a L’Oreal hair and beauty event in Oslo. This project was a gamechanger for me. Working with L’Oreal Professional was a very different, yet educative experience. It was also the biggest audience I ever confronted. Walking the ramp that night gave me chills.
Cold, but hot: Sometimes, the most amazing things come from the worst places imaginable. This reflects a project I did in minus 15 degree conditions. It was an outdoor shoot with multiple costume changes, but I also had to do a few upper body shots standing near the opera close to a river. It was so cold that I could barely feel my face or body. It is difficult to look awesome with runny nose and sensitive ears.
Flesh and funky: The funkiest project I did was for Norwegian designer brand Flesh. This project was outside my comfort zone with funky, colourful clothing and a very experimental kind of fashion shoot. The makeup artist made me wear colourful highlighters, glitter, a wavy hairdo and metallic copper faux fur jackets, which were uncomfortable. When I first saw the pictures I was amazed with the results. It was a very different yet fun and colourful project that made me grow as a model.
Super troopers: Last, but not least, is a fashion week where I had the opportunity to share the stage with super models from Pakistan, Omer Shahzad and Shehzad Noor. Working with these amazing and humble fellas was a great experience. I had the opportunity to learn from the best in the business and prove myself. It was a proud moment to stand next to people you once used to look up to and a milestone in my life.
Homan Farooq is a Norway-based model and actor. Instagram: @homain_f