Here is a supermodel with MALAYALI genes. From fashion shows to ads, he has marked his ‘Oomph-ness’ everywhere! No no, it’s not John Abraham. This time, we bring you to one of the hottest names in fashion industry, and it’s none other than KOCHI’ s own TONY LUKE. A pride to every Malayali, TONY LUKE has marked his presence in the fashion arena, not just in India, but worldwide. KOCHIVIBE bring’s you an exclusive interview with Malayali’s pride TONY LUKE, and that too on the auspicious Keralapriravi day! Read on what Tony says about his work, family, love-life and more….
You must be having a huge female fan-following. Do you get Facebook requests every day and random calls from unknown numbers?
Huge fan following is for the rock-stars and POP artists. I am just another lad waiting on the bench waiting to be made a part of the game. Yes, in the last 5 years that I have turned professional in the fashion business, I do have people appreciate me and my work. It’s important to me and it makes me want to strive even harder to be better.
Initially I opened face- book for personal reasons. That is to keep in touch with friends and people from the industry. But what I didn’t foresee was its unimaginable reach in the virtual world. Yes, many requests do come in every day. I ignored them initially, but I received many messages, some sweet, some sad and some utterly rude, on being ignored. I kind of decided then to accept as many people as my friends as long as they are genuine and have some common people in the middle. I did change my attitude to that of “There are no more strangers in my life but friends and lovers that I haven’t met yet! “. I reckon I have around 4,000 friends on my list and should grow more and more as I get better by my work. No random calls on my phone.
Your route to being a supermodel would have been tough. Was it a struggle in Mumbai? Would you share a few experiences on that with us?
My first work was a group photo for a bathroom footwear company back in Bangalore. Went along with a friend being promised Inr 200 for being an extra. I looked so odd in the group, they asked me to take a hike. Wasn’t paid either. Not the best start! My first professional fashion job was with Bharath Sikka. It was for the Park Hotel campaign. I was selected based on some poloroids. He is the best in the country who snapped some of the greatest male models in this country Like Millind and Arjun Rampal. That was a good start. Later in the final year in Bangalore, I took part in a nation-wide casting for Indian fashion week held in Mumbai in 2003. I went on to do the highest number of shows in that event. I ended up with good 10 shows at the Indian fashion week 2004 in Delhi. Immediately after, I decided to take a break to pursue my post-graduation in MA IBA at the Regents business school, RBS London, U.K. In 2005, while in London I turned a professional model with Milan being the staging point. I joined Major Model management, Milan.
Many of them don’t know that you are a Malayali. Is it that you are not keen on giving interviews to Malayalam channels, dailies or magazines?
It’s definitely not that I am not keen or interested. I wasn’t at all approached by any of the so called magazines, channels or dailies from my state. Either they are not aware of my existence or they are not interested.
Tell us something on how you ended up being a model?
It just happened that I look good in pictures/videos, and it was kind of acknowledged by everyone who took a peek at them.
Who are your role models from the fashion field?
Bruno Santos. The only male model in the history to shoot for both the warring brands of Armani and Versace. Edgy, genetically gifted with an impossibly muscular lean body and a dancers grace in front of the camera. Speaks SEX with clothes on. Period!
For all the ladies out there, what is your idea of romance? (P.S: Are you seeing anyone)
Something simple that involves the both of us. Movies, eating ice-creams or a cozy dinner at a nice joint. She would mean the world to me. To me the sun will rise and set with her.
What item of clothing, do you think, shapes your personality?
A full-Piece beautifully customized tailored top-to bottom SUIT .
Which are the popular national and international brands you have worked for?
I am extremely choosy when it comes to commercial shoots. Slow and sturdy without a complete burn-out! Worked in Milan, Germany, South Africa , Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai with some of the leading agencies. Krizia Uomo Menswear in Milan, Salvatore fergamano in Hong Kong, Harley Davidson in Shanghai, Shopper stop campaign, Titan shades, indigo nation, Smirnoff campaign, Collective Campaign,4 consecutive months editions for GQ India, all prominent Magazines, all the prominent fashion weeks in the last 3 years and say about 500 stand alone fashion shows. And the opening Music video of Sherlyn Chopra directed by prahlad kakkar. Still fresh and not abused. Will soon unleash some great commercial work.
How important is money to you?
It’s been exactly 5 years and a half since I turned a Professional in modelling. I have managed to do some very interesting work during this time. I haven’t measured the prominence of my work in the last years by milestones such as financial returns or my status quo in my country. The very essence of all that I tried and achieved in the last one year was to answer the question of whether I deserve to be in this profession. If you aren’t willing to try everything and make a mistake, then you’ll never make anything of yourself. I have done fairly well. I look to better myself in the coming years.
What is your view on same gender sex?
We live in a time and place where we have grown to accept and respect another’s needs and beliefs- To co-exist in peace and harmony. What we do in life echoes an eternity and if spending your life with that person brings you moments that take your breath away and is worth every bit, then it definitely cuts across all boundaries such as gender, ethnicity or racial outlook. My view positively reflects it.
Tell us something about your family, education, and interests.
I was born in Ernakulam, kerala. I was bought up initially in basel, Switzerland where my mother, Theresa Kocherry, was a surgeon at the local hospital, Kantonspital. My Father is Mr. Luke Kocherry. He is a Business man. We got some heavy weights in the family. My father has 13 brothers. From George Kocherry who is the arch bishop to the Vatican to national activist father Thomas Kocherry . I have a younger sister, Annmary Luke, who is on her way to becoming a full-fledged lawyer.
I would say I was pretty inflexible when it came to rules and regulation. So I got myself kicked out from the local kindergarten school. My family posted me at a boarding school in Ooty called Good shepherd public school where I did my schooling till standard 6th.
I finished my 10th from Choice school tripunithura, Kerala. Ranjini Haridas was my class-mate and we continue our friendship to date.
My high school was at the Anglo-Indian sports school called Montfort Anglo-Indian higher secondary school, Yercaud. Got out with excellent grades and was crowned the sports champion. But not without my flamboyant irregularities which actually bought my father into the so called secret meetings with the principal while I stood outside the office. Went on to finish an Engineering degree in Information science from P.E.S.IT, Bangalore. Then a post-grad in MA IBA at the Regents business school , RBS London, U.K.
What keeps you sailing in a crisis?
God says in the Gospel “every place the sole of your feet tread, is given to you by me. I will give you strength so have courage. In your darkest moments, do not give into despair, for I will be with you every step!” Faith in a higher power, my family and in myself helps me weather the punches life throws at me.
Message to aspiring models?
Focus. Persistence. Competitiveness. Relax and enjoy the ride. It’s your life and worth every bit.
Message to Kochivibe readers.
Look at life with an open mind. It does throw a lot more opportunities at you than you can possibly contemplate within the confines of the four walls. To every other youngsters of my generation, this is our time! Grasp it with everything you have! Keep reading Kochivibes. It reflects on what I just said!