It’s beautiful to be different: African-American model

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Whether it’s in the US or in India — African-American model Rhyan Atrice, whose stint with the Indian fashion industry began just a few weeks ago, is used to “looking different”, and says it’s “beautiful”.

Atrice, who has described his stay in India as a “fun vacation”, said his complexion has never been a hindrance for him in any part of the world — and feels the Indian ramp will get unique faces when it opens up to diversity.

“I grew up in light-skinned America so I have always been around people who didn’t look like me. Hence it’s not different to be at some place (like in India), where everyone looks different from me,” Atrice told IANS during an interaction post his ramp walk for designer Divyam Mehta at Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) Autumn-Winter 2016.

“To be specific, I have lived in Georgia, New York, Los Angeles… And a majority of people who I have lived around, didn’t look like me. But I feel that it’s beautiful to be different. It’s like having hazelnut chocolate which is warm and gorgeous… and if I am in America, it’s like having chocolate over creme,” quipped the tall, dark and handsome model.

Atrice feels that “the world is tired of seeing same things”.

“It’s okay to be ordinary, but it is also nice and beautiful to recognise something different,” stressed the 25-year-old, for whom modelling was a passion-driven choice.

It is a “personal tragedy” that brought Atrice to India.

“I am from America and I was doing great, but a personal tragedy happened. And then I decided that I want to do things that make me happy and the one thing that makes me happy is modelling. I have been a very successful individual outside of the fashion world, but I never had the opportunity to just pursue my dreams.

“So, I started writing a few emails and an agent named Rajan Kapoor from modelling agency StrawberriFox asked me if I would like to join his agency in India, and I decided to come. From thereon, it has been an amazing experience,” he said.

Describing his India experience as a “fun vacation”, he shared that he is “enjoying the life that I always wanted”.

“It’s India and it’s beautiful. India is the most enchanting place I have been to in a very long time,” Atrice said, adding that he would love to continue his stint here.

“I have a visa for 12 months, so I can be here for a whole year. I plan to go to Mumbai, I want to see Taj Mahal and want to have fun. I also want to continue to work with Divyam Mehta and with other designers with whom I get an opportunity to work with,” he said.

While the Indian fashion industry has been welcoming a lot of foreign models, to many Indian models, it seems as a threat.

However, Atrice prefers to see the brighter side of things.

“I think the beautiful thing about the fashion world is that you can be unique and it doesn’t force you to be different. Also, if there is a complaint about models from other countries coming here, it would be same if you lived in Paris or America.

“Just open up and create a more worldwide atmosphere or diversity. I think that will benefit the industry as in that way, people will get unique faces and they will have unique models from different background coming to India,” he said on a positive note.

Summing up his tryst with “beautiful and lovely India”, Atrice said: “It’s nice to be around smiling faces.”

(Nivedita can be contacted at Nivedita.s@ians.in)

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