It is very rightly said that age is just a number, and if one has the dedication and determination, one can definitely reach the desired destination. From serving the nation as an army officer to being the most successful model of the fashion industry, it is undoubtedly, one of the most inspiring journeys whose captain is none other than Nitin Mehta. He is a living example who defied all the norms and taught us that age is definitely just a number, and one should never stop dreaming. Because of this positive attitude, he took the fashion industry by storm and is now the face of many brands.
In conversation with Nitin Mehta, let’s learn more about his life in detail.
Let’s take a trip down the memory lane and revisit your childhood and the reasons as to why you joined the army.
Well, I was born and brought up in an army environment. Since childhood, I have been exposed to a proper army life because my father who was an army officer and thus, seeing my home environment, an interest ignited in me to be a part of the Indian army. This interest became a reality when I enrolled into the National Defense Academy which after rigorous training was followed by the Indian Military Academy, and I was finally commissioned as an officer in the Indian Army in 1995.
Can you elaborate on your journey as an army officer and the life lessons that you learned during that time?
My journey commenced in June 1995, when I was commissioned as an officer in the Indian Army. Upon becoming the officer, the foremost task was to complete the Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech) Mechanical which was followed by the specialization in the maintenance of helicopters which later became an important part of my duty. The other duties incorporated were serving in counter-insurgency operation areas, peace areas and the capital – Delhi – where all the policies and decisions were made. Thus, during my journey as an army officer, I was entrusted with various responsibilities which made my journey an incredible and a memorable one. I am indebted to the Indian Army for teaching me varying life lessons which included the importance of discipline, hard work, dedication, perseverance and the art of excellence. These factors have become an indomitable part of my personality. Discipline, in my view, is the bedrock of everything, hard-work is the will to do something properly, dedication is the force which motivates us to achieve our goals and perseverance is the undying will of moving forward irrespective of the speed as the main goal is to touch the finish line. These factors have made me the individual that I am today and provided me with the courage to shine and to do well in any field whatsoever.
What’s your definition of hard work?
Hard work is the will of doing a given task properly, which is guided towards the direction where one wants to reach. I firmly believe that to make things happen, one has to put in hundred per cent effort and hard work. However, nowadays, people chant the mantra of “Don’t work hard but work smart” which in all fairness, indirectly hints at hard work because even smartness requires hard work. There is no can escape from the cycle of hard-work.
How did modeling happen? What motivated you to join this industry?
That’s a long story. In 2013-2014, I developed an interest in motor-cycling and went on for different adventures, some of which were a Delhi to Goa tour and a Punjab tour. This was when I thought about leaving the army and starting an independent venture – a bike tour operating company, but life had some other plans. I left the army in 2016 and started experimenting with my clean-shaven look and decided to settle for a beard look. This new “salt and pepper look” grabbed people’s attention, and in fact, this look took me one step closer to a completely new opportunity as I was approached for a role in a movie. However, the movie could not become a reality. But the incident opened my mind towards modelling, and thus, I decided to give it a try and made my portfolio photo-shoot for the same. I never planned on becoming a model, and it just happened. Life made a turn, and I turned along with it and grabbed the opportunity.
How difficult was it to start afresh?
It was indeed difficult to start afresh as it was a different game with different rules of which I had little knowledge about and faced a few challenges as well—for instance, the challenge of changing my physique by following a new fitness routine. But the biggest challenge was on the question of getting work as I was not aware of the entire process of getting work. Thus, initially, it wasn’t easy, but soon I began to understand the working-structure of the industry and the situation began to alter.
What was your family’s reaction when you first informed them about pursuing modelling as a new career?
When I considered modelling as a second-career option, my parents were a bit apprehensive about this decision. They advised me not to waste my time and energy on even thinking about creating a portfolio photo-shoot for an industry which is entirely different. But I was adamant enough about exploring this option and decided to give it a try which in reality turned out well because immediately after the photo-shoot, I bagged my first assignment as a model. It was a proud moment for me as well as for my parents, who became very supportive of my work and now are the first ones to post or share something about my work. It feels great to have such love and support from the family, and I am glad that things worked out in the end.
Can you please describe in detail about your first project as a model?
The first project that I bagged as a model was offered by the photographer who worked on my first portfolio photo-shoot. He was quite impressed with the pictures and informed about recommending me to a client which became a reality after two days. During the shoot, the initial shots were not perfect because of my nervousness, but after some time everything became normal, and I gave my best performance.
How was your experience at the Lakme Fashion Week?
My experience at the Lakmé Fashion Week was an incredible one and was undeniable; a dream come true. When I was first informed that I would be walking the ramp at the Lakmé Fashion Week, I was taken aback and could not believe my ears and considered it to be a surreal dream which became a reality when I walked the ramp for Rajesh Pratap Singh. I felt a great sense of achievement for being a part of the most prestigious fashion event. It was undeniably, a life-altering experience.
Did you get a chance to learn a new skill during the lockdown?
During the lockdown, I invested a lot of time in cooking to the extent where now I think that I have surely become an expert.
Let’s talk about acting. How was your experience as an actor?
After my journey commenced as a model, I decided to try out my hand in acting for television commercials. However, the initial phase was an arduous one as it was an entirely different world as compared to modelling because facing the camera for a photo-shoot and acting in front of the camera are poles apart. This is what I realized after the audition and decided to sharpen my skills in acting. With this fervour, I decided to give acting another shot and this time I reached my destination and became a part of two big commercials: Tanishq which starred Deepika Padukone as well and StoneX Marble and both the commercials were completed within a span of two days. This experience definitely changed me as an individual and made me more confident.
Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
I have been approached for various projects, but nothing is finalized, so let’s see what happens!
How difficult is it to shoot during the pandemic?
It is indeed difficult to shoot during the pandemic. I have already done three-four shoots, and all of them were quite stressful because now not only has the normal shooting time extended but one also has to be very cautious at every step which sometimes takes a toll, but we are adhering to the norms imposed by the government and trying to adjust to this “new normal”. Most importantly, in this trying time, we have a new responsibility which is to take care of others because only then will we be able to fight this battle together, so take good care of others.
Can you describe in detail about your daily workout routine? How important is it for you to maintain a healthy diet and a lifestyle?
In my opinion, maintaining a healthy diet and following a rigorous routine is very important, and my life is no exception to it. I follow a tight schedule: get up at five in the morning, go out for a run followed by yoga and finally practising weight-training. As far as my diet is concerned, I am a big foodie and do not restrict myself from eating anything right from sweets to a proper meal, but the important thing is that I eat everything in moderation. Eating in moderation with the right amount of physical exercise is very important for a healthy life.
What’s your favourite thing about the fashion industry?
I love everything about the industry, but ramp walk has a special place in my heart as it gives me immense happiness and makes me feel young and alive.
What’s your reaction towards people when they call you the most handsome model of the industry?
It feels great to receive such a heartfelt reaction from people. I feel honoured when young people look up to me stating that they want to age like me, thus, getting inspired by my journey, which makes me very happy.
Who is your Role Model?
I personally do not consider anyone as my role model. I strongly feel that there is no need of making one because when we consider someone as our role-model, we often view them through a biased lens by focusing on the positive attributes while neglecting the negative attributes which is very problematic per se since we are opening ourselves at the risk of being swayed away by the external factors which can alter at any given point of time. Thus, it is important to solely focus on the internal factors which are our own inner-self and intuition as only then will we be able to give our best and reach our goals.
Any inspiring message that you would like to give to our readers?
“Dream big and possess the inner will to work for it’’ is the only source of wisdom that I can offer from my journey. The mantra for a happy life is to keep on dreaming as it gives a new meaning to our lives and for this one must bear the responsibility of putting in hundred per cent hard work as only then our dreams can become a reality. So, keep dreaming and never give up!
Nitin Mehta is surely an inspiration for us, with positivity radiating from his soul, he has taught us many great life lessons which to strive to become a better version of ourselves and to never stop dreaming and to always work hard!