Fashion aficionado, supermodel, influencer and beauty entrepreneur, Rahi Chadda gets candid about breaking barriers, setting new beauty standards and putting forth his unfiltered self for the world to see.
How did you start as a model?
I studied law and did my masters in international employee relations from LSE. For the longest time, I thought law was something I’d be going into. After I finished studying, I was even fielding a few job offers but fashion has always been my calling. I couldn’t deny that. Just when I was in two minds about things, it all fell into place. I went to a talent agency and did a couple of test shots, the photographer put up those pictures of mine on Instagram (this was when the social media platform had just started gaining popularity) and the response was overwhelming. There was no looking back after that. I started getting numerous bookings post that and modelling just followed. It was seamless.
Have you ever found it challenging to gain prominence as an individual of South Asian heritage?
Personally no, but when I first started out, diversity and inclusivity were topics that were just being introduced. Fortunately, today, the industry, both fashion and beauty, have evolved ten folds. It’s a comfortable space to be in today. People of different colours and races are being celebrated and are being given a platform with the spotlight shining on them. And it goes so far beyond people of colour. Brands are now including people with disabilities, people with different skin or hair types, and different cultures within the South Asian community itself. This is a culturally woke time and I’m grateful that I can present some representation. I’m proud that I’m opening and in fact creating doors for the next generation, doors that weren’t there when I was starting out.
What impact do you wish to have as an individual with such a massive reach and global presence?
I definitely want people to get inspired by my personal style, and the looks I create. I want people in and outside the South Asian community to recognise and explore this as a career option. Most importantly, I want people to have acceptance of their downfalls as they have of their achievements. I really want to communicate that nobody’s life is perfect, no matter who they are and what it looks like on social media. Everybody has their ups and downs, including me! I hope my community learns to embrace that part of their lives.
How do you move past lack of inspiration?
This is where mental health comes into play. Everyone has days when they’re not feeling the best. On those days, I try to remember why I’m doing what I’m doing, the bigger purpose, and that I really love what I do. Beyond that meditation, getting a walk or maybe a workout in and just giving myself that time and space to rest and bounce back works well. As a person in the spotlight, you have to have these coping mechanisms around you. Fortunately or unfortunately you have to put on a brave face and move ahead.
What do you wish to normalise in the beauty and fashion space?
I really wish to change the perception of ‘perfect.’ Perfection for me is adaptable. It’s all about being perfectly imperfect and true to themselves. I would also like to normalise, rather hope for the industry to have acceptance of different styles and personalities. In the fashion industry, change is constant and different for each individual. After all, fashion is just an expression and extension of one’s personality and it’s not going to be the same for everyone.
What does beauty mean to you?
For me, beauty really transcends skincare and makeup. Beauty is being comfortable in your own skin, inspiring others to be comfortable in theirs. The more I evolve in my perception of beauty, the less I feel the need to retouch and edit any photographs. Now, I make a conscious decision to not retouch my photos. I want to show under-eye skin, blemishes, pores, textures, and acne, because that’s what real beauty is. To celebrate your own skin as it is power and beauty. I’m stoked to see brands evolving in that direction.
Favourite accessory: My sapphire ring that I always wear. It’s very Lady Di and I love the pop of colour. It adds a ton of depth to all my looks.
A trend I’m currently loving: Minimalism! I’m obsessed with all things monochrome and minimal. It does spark joy.
A typical summer day: A picnic or stroll at Holland park on a sunny day is so peaceful.
Ideal Friday night: Spending time with myself at home, I love my alone time and being home.
Something you’re passionate about: Mental health. It’s very important to take care of one’s self mentally. That’s half the battle won.
Your downtime activity: Meditation, walking, yoga. These activities really help clear my head.