The male model of the hour, who seems to have been a ubiquitous presence in the recent Eid campaigns, is Hasnain Lehri. The 26-year-old, originally from Balochistan and now based in Karachi, has become one of the most sought-after faces in the industry over a span of two years. With a string of campaigns, including those for Faraz Manan, Nomi Ansari, Sapphire and HSY, under his belt, he seems unfazed by the fast pace of his growth in the industry.
Not one to let success get to his head, Lehri maintains an approachable attitude towards his fans and handles his social-networking accounts himself. “I don’t believe in having other people control your social-media pages because that’s not who your fans want to connect to,” he said. Having a strong sense of social responsibility as a model, especially as one in a world of constant media scrutiny, he stated, “Our words matter a lot and everyone reads what we share. People generally have a negative outlook towards our fashion industry, but if we keep posting positive things, people will develop a penchant for it.”
Lehri set foot in modelling in London while he was pursuing his BBA degree. He signed off on a few modelling projects and had a brief cameo in the show Eastenders, managing to create a notable portfolio. “When I returned and people in Pakistan saw my international portfolio, they were intrigued. That’s when I got my big break with a campaign for a mobile service company.”
Since then, he has been the face of numerous campaigns for leading brands in an industry dominated by women. But for Lehri, quality precedes quantity. “I’m very selective about the designers and brands I choose to work with. Generally, people think models are just there to dress up, but I like to get involved in my shoots. Unless you own a project, you will never get the results you want.”
Lehri was recently nominated in the ‘Best Male Model’ category at the Hum TV Awards, and has bagged a nod in the ‘Emerging Talent’ category at the upcoming Lux Style Awards. In addition to modelling, Hasnain runs his construction business with his father. He believes modelling is not a full-time job and leaves him time to work with his father. “My father is a businessman and politician, but I had my own goals. I never thought I’d do modelling on this level,” he admits.
Being a part of an industry still in its nascent stage, Lehri holds it’s crucial for the fraternity to stand on a united front. “People place Lahore and Karachi in competition with each other, but I think that’s the farthest from how things should be. I live in Karachi but most of my success has originated from Lahore. At the end of the day, we should all work together,” states Lehri. On whether he plans on foraying into acting, he says, “I believe in doing everything with perfection. Right now, I’m happy with modelling and the response I get is extremely gratifying. I do plan on taking acting classes in London in the near future and then coming back and trying my luck at it.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2015.