By Ninder Kaur
He is a twenty–three year old British Asian– a global actor and model. He has walked the catwalks of Birmingham fashion weeks and is the ambassador for numerous clothing lines and ASOS.COM. He is acclaimed as an award-winning actor who has sold out shows to thousands of screaming fans around Latin America. He is Kiran Rai.
We caught up with Nottingham-born Kiran, who has recently released a film in Sri Lanka as well as competing with 2000 others to become the face of the American brand ‘Future Cut Cloths’.
How did you get into modeling?
I got into modelling when I was a at wedding in Nottingham and bumped into a man called ‘ Avinash Bassi ‘ who is the founder of the multi million dollar clothing line ‘ Duke Clothing ‘ and from there he made the dreams happen for me. He showed me the doors and I became his ambassador for his clothing company for many years. He is like a god to me.
How would you describe your style?
I am very flashy when I dress, but I am very humble but as a business man, I am very scary to work with, its because I don’t tolerate any nonsense, as soon as I have a meeting or a interview and that person is speaking, I instantly know inside my head if im going to work with this person, even if they want to work with me.
Favourite clothing brand and why?
My favourite clothing brand must be Louis Vuitton or Burberry. Its gorgeous and extremely classy. I like to dress like a smart person but that’s not to say I don’t sometimes dress down, I do have my days where I wear big normal sweat pants.
What is your beauty secret?
My secret is drink lots of water, use home made facial masks and use cream on your face everyday. I am perfectionist and brush my teeth 3 times a day. I take care of myself.
It’s amazing. I have just collaborated with ‘Future Cut Cloths’, where I will front campaigns for the brand that has bases in both Nottingham and America. I am very honoured to be part of this clothing brand. Being picked out of 2000 beautiful people makes me feel very special. With ASOS, I was approached from Duke clothing. He made the face of Birmingham fashion week twice and then from there I was there main face for duke on the website for ASOS.COM. It just blew up and I started working with the biggest models in the world.
How did you parents react to your career choice?
I come from a very traditional Indian family and they wanted me to be a doctor, lawyer or dentist like all my cousins or brother, but that wasn’t for me. When they found out, they just kept quiet-sometimes when family agree or disagree, they tend to keep quiet. I am not going to lie to you and explain they were over joy but they have been supportive.
What do you enjoy about your career?
I never expected myself to be going beyond this far, winning awards and producing and acting in West End and Broadway shows and doing movies is incredible but I most enjoy sitting at home drinking a beer and looking out the window and thinking ‘ I’ve done ok today.’ I work 13 hours a day in my office. I have a brilliant team and I’m lucky to have the best manager.
Why do you think that there are so little Asians in the modeling industry and the mainstream media?
Only this year have I broken into the mainstream. It really happened when I stood outside a train station raising £15,000 to fund my own movie and then it crashed down onto world news. I never expected it to be so quick. I have been offered so many projects but I’ve even had to reject offers because it’s too much to do everything at once.
Where would you like the modeling/ TV industry in 5 years time?
I would like a Indian model to be the biggest face. Indian models are beautiful. I will prove that people can have opportunities in modeling if you’re Asian. I have proved quite a bit so maybe I could lead this generation. I have a platform and a voice in this industry so lets see what happens.
Which do you prefer modeling or acting?
I prefer acting, its fun. I can be somebody else. It’s an amazing feeling for me.
Who is your inspiration?
My inspiration is Meryl Streep or Dev Patel. Dev Patel because such a great success. He proved that British Indians can go to Hollywood. He’s done very well.
Tell us about your recent movie Parachute.
My movie parachute is about someone falling in love and then tends to turn away. Its really great but I feel at some point that parachute will end in a good way. It was a stepping-stone for me to release my voice into this industry. I still owe it to Roshan De Silva and Ralph Perriera from PCL marketing company that introduced me to director Louis Vanderstraaten.
I am working on fashion shows and movies. I am also in talks with doing a photo-shoot with a super model from London. I am also launching a new fashion channel on Sky 99 called ‘Fashion time with Kiran Rai’, which will feature celebrity guests, and is preparing for his first lead role on the big screen. I have also now launched my own E Magazine called ‘ Kings and Queens ‘ http://planetkq.com/ which has given 22 student writers around the world in different cities to report daily on this magazine. On the day of the launch it had already received 60,000 views in 24 hours.
Kiran has featured in British films including ‘The Forbidden Note’, ‘Secrets of the Past’ and ‘A Total Thug Up’.