EARLY DAYS | MAKING THE TREK TO CANADA
Born to an Indian father from Punjab and an Egyptian mother from Cairo, I grew up in both India and the USA. I came to Canada 9 years ago just because I wanted to be independent and make my own mark in life. It goes without saying that this has been quite the journey.
STUMBLING INTO THE ARTS
I started my career in IT and even worked in fields like retail, and finance. At that time, I felt the need to try different things to see what would resonate with me. While I’m grateful for the experiences, I knew that none of those fields was my calling.
A few years ago, I found myself taking a stab at modelling and acting, and, lo and behold, it was truly the right fit for me. In the past couple of years, I have been fortunate enough to walk on the runway in various fashion shows across the GTA. On top of that, I have been a part of several print campaigns and commercials. These include Ciroc Vodka, Woodbine & Mohawk Racetracks, Simply Green Home Services, and Labatt Blue Beer, to name a few.
I’ve also had the fortune of being on film. Just recently, I played the role of a Paramedic on an episode of Paranormal 911 (Season 2). You can also catch my cameo on Disneyʼs upcoming movie, “The Secret Society of Second Born Royals.” Further, I was recently featured in a commercial for CFL Grey Cup for TSN which aired during the holidays.
To get to know him better, we’ve asked him to answer a few questions. If he hasn’t piqued your curiosity by now, something tells me he will.
WHAT PROJECTS DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE UNDERWAY?
For starters, there are a few short films that I have been a part of as a lead character, so I am excited about their release, as you can imagine. In addition to this, I will be playing the male lead in the upcoming videos for the Toronto-based music artist Dvii and Juno award-winning singer-songwriter William Prince (for the track “Spark”).
I am also writing and planning my own Youtube channel, which focuses on trends for men in the GTA. Basically, I will advise how to be more stylish – no matter the budget. And did I mention the Netflix show “Zeus,” where I play a Moroccan dock worker in a couple of episodes.
As you can see, there is a lot coming up for me in the near future and I am more than grateful for the opportunities that I have gotten so far!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
There is no such thing as spare time in my world. I like to invest all of my time into something that’s fruitful, be it personal growth like learning a new skill, going to the gym and playing sports, or professional growth, such as rehearsing to improve my modelling and acting skills.
That aside, family can never be ignored. I make sure that I always make time for them. It’s not always easy, I must admit, but at the end of the day, I strongly believe that it comes down to managing your priorities. If you feel something and/or someone is important to you, you will always find time for them – no matter what!
WHAT ARE SOME OBSTACLES THAT YOU FACE IN YOUR JOB?
Life has not been a bed of roses. I have been through a lot of struggles, rejections and difficult times. There have been times where it almost came down to me thinking of hanging up the gloves and calling it quits. But self-motivation is bigger than anything else in my book. Essentially, your belief in yourself is what will take you places. You have to be patient, yet persistent.
That’s what I learned throughout my struggles of not booking any work, a full-time job becoming too stressful, being rejected multiple times, getting negative feedback like, “You are too short”, “You donʼt have the look,” “I donʼt understand why you are even trying”, etc. The biggest lesson that I learned from all that is one of my favorite quotes: “Everything happens for a reason”.
WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS AND WHY?
My dad has been my biggest hero. The way he has built himself up from being nothing to being extremely successful and a well-known personality as a doctor and philanthropist is such an inspiration to me. Interestingly, I saw him study to become a specialist at age 45, while we, as a family of 5 watched tv and enjoyed dinner in the same room because we didnʼt have enough rooms in our home. His focus and determination made me wonder how he did what he did, all the time. His dedication to his profession, and his persistent drive to improve to serve his patients to the best of his ability is something I will never forget.
WHAT ARE YOUR LONG-TERM GOALS?
For me, it’s challenging to carve out long-term goals as I am a huge believer in “living in the moment”. I love to take life and its challenges head-on and find a solution for them to carry on with my progress.
Not setting any goals provides me the freedom to not limit myself to something. Ideally, I would like to have some goal to work towards, but I feel it will give me unwanted pressure and hinder my approach to life, the way I enjoy it. This is not to throw shade on anyone who is trying to set goals and work towards them – I honestly commend the people who are able to do that.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT MARKS A TRUE LEADER?
I feel true leaders are born that way. That kind of natural leadership is unparalleled. Having said that, there are certain attributes of a leader that one can learn to channel or grow. It takes a lot of courage, self- confidence, belief in oneself, and an open mindset.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO WANTED TO FOLLOW A SIMILAR PATH AS YOU?
Never stop believing in yourself. Even better, never ever stop dreaming. Remember, persistence is key!
Stay strong and continue to pursue your passion with vigor – do not give up. Remember, it takes years to become an overnight success!
LET’S PLAY A GAME: TELL US 3 TRUTHS AND A LIE
- I am a national-level ping pong player.
- I can read, write, and speak 3 languages fluently.
- I am colorblind.
- Danish was not the name given to me at birth.