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‘NOT’ The Boy Next Door

by Grazia

Reinventing men’s fashion with Pakistani fashion’s latest male prodigy

Model: Sachal Afzal
Photographer: Ali Abbas Ansari
Stylist: Saad Sarosh
Hair and Makeup: N-gents

Suit: Jermyn Street Clothing

Out of the many young men who aspire to become a model only a few achieve success and one such success story is of our model of the moment — Sachal Afzal who in just a few years has made a remarkable name for himself in the modelling world.

Growing up in Gujranwala and later moving to Lahore to pursue his modelling career, Sachal is not just your average pretty boy but he’s a political science grad and is now a lawyer — proving that models aren’t just pretty faces.

Although he’s a leading face in fashion today, Sachal always dreamt of acting in a Hollywood movie but as fate would have it a fashion show at his university led to his career as a model after a photographer did his first ever portfolio shoot.

“Modelling happened by chance as just after posting those images on social media I started getting shoot offers,” he said.

“Modelling for me is living a new life every day as we adopt new characters each day when we are shooting as it is not just about selling designer products,” Sachal shared adding that he’s always amazed when he sees his shoots he never thought he could be so versatile which boosts his confidence and motivates him to do better.

Shirt: Republic Menswear

While female modelling remains the most lucrative, male models always need to have something to fall back on if their career doesn’t kick off — similarly Sachal before taking up modelling full time opted to complete his education in order to safeguard his future.

Telling us more about his first big break, Sachal revealed that the 2018 edition of PFDC fashion week proved to be a turning point in his life. “I still remember how nervous I was during my first walk and also that I had to go through a makeover and shave off my moustache but I guess that paid off as the crowd really noticed me.”

Talking about winning the Best Emerging Talent award at LSA, Sachal said it was a surreal experience and that he still can’t find words to express how he felt when he found out. “It was probably the first time in my life that I felt I had achieved something,” he said.

Shirt & Denim Jacket: Nukta

The year 2020, although was a major success was Sachal, it also changed the world as we knew it as the Covid-19 pandemic hit the globe and the year had been a rollercoaster ride for all of us. “All of us [models] had to survive on our savings as we were all forced to sit at home during the lockdown,” he revealed.

While the pandemic had its financial repercussions, it also affected our mental health; Sachal in order to stay positive during such bleak times shifted his focus on his health and physique while also learning new skills. And telling us more about his fitness regime, Sachal shared that he focuses on clean and healthy diet while making sure to work out regularly.

It being an industry fact that there is a major wage-gap between male and female models, we asked Sachal for his opinion on the same to which he responded that there is definitely more work for female models as there are more womenswear brands as compared to menswear hence the female models get paid more while for a male model even surviving in the industry is a major challenge.

Similarly, he also added that since male models don’t get paid well enough it is better to complete your education first before entering the industry and to also have a few career alternatives lined up in case things don’t work out for you in fashion in the long-run.

“A model can get one maybe two shoots initially but after that it’s all about how you stand out and maintain yourself. I always try to improve my own work and also work on my physique and don’t really pay attention to competition,” said Sachal.

With acting being the most lucrative next step for most models, Sachal also believes that models should avail the first chance they get and dab into acting as it is a bigger market. “To survive as a model in Pakistan you need to be good in acting as well,” he added.

Jacket: Deepak and Fahad

“In today’s age it is very important for a model to be active on social media as people can see your pictures even on a brand’s page but they also need to know you as a person,” said Sachal adding that as a model we need to be active on social media and interact with the audience.

On industry jealousy and politics, Sachal said that he’s been lucky enough that he’s not faced any such incident and people have largely been welcoming and helpful.

Sachal also feels that personal style is very important for any model as people notice what you are wearing and also how you are carrying your look. He added that his personal style is very laid back but then he also likes to keep experimenting with his looks and style.

“Modelling chooses you, you cannot choose modelling,” stated Sachal as his word of wisdom for upcoming male models while also hoping that in the next few years he can be someone that people look up to and aspire to be like him.

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