RL Bond is an African-American model who’s trying his luck in the India fashion industry. Rashima Nagpal learns more about him
Remember, we were the first to introduce you with Rhyan Atrice, the first black male model who tried his luck in the Indian fashion industry. Atrice’s success has kind of triggered a fascinating change in the modelling scene here. Following his footsteps, we have another African-American black model, RL Bond, who’s making his presence felt all over. He’s been modelling for 13 years now but it was the last edition of Amazon India Fashion Week that introduced him to the Indian fashion extravaganza.
“Whenever you’re at a fashion week, you don’t just put on so and so designer’s clothes and walk the ramp. You’ve got to dig deeper and explore your presence. You’ve got to talk to the locals, go out in pubs or local restaurants and see different vibrations that flow. You need to feel the energy of the region. When you understand the culture this way, then you combine it all together– from the clothes you’re representing to the music that’s playing– and present a good show at the runway. It gives you creativity to express that moment,” says RL Bond, also a zen practitioner.
Bond is a fine blend of spirituality and creativity. Every morning, he is up by 4:30 to follow a strict workout regime. “Just before that, I soak in the sun and fresh air,” he says. If you go by his social media pages, it is clear the model is exploring every nook and corner of this country. He is seen mingling with locals in old Delhi or capturing hills in Uttarakhand.
Given that India is fairly obsessed about fair colour and skin tone, getting work opportunities must be a challenge “Being an African-American, or just being an African basically, it’s tough. I and a lot of other black models will tell you, we don’t get as much opportunities. We know that the white male is going to work more. And when I say white male, he could be Brazilian, he could be from Canada, Russia or anywhere. But here’s a thing, if you know that having a darker skin is hard to work with, you should continue to challenge yourself. There was no guarantee to find work in the Indian fashion industry. But I tried my best and I succeeded. No matter what occupation you’re in, you’ve got to constantly challenge yourself,” asserts he, adding that racism in a universal phenomenon.
Being spiritual helps Bond keep sanity during his travel. In a cutthroat competitive space where weaknesses pull you out the race, Bond relies on inner strength to keep his fight going. “It’s very difficult for an African man to break into the Asian market. I have always moved across countries and cities like Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Italy, Cape Town, South Africa and India to discover how people respond to my creativity. Being spiritual definitely helps as I embrace different attitudes in a calm manner. When you work in different markets, it’s less about profession and and more about all experiences with different people you meet,” he says.
Practising yoga for six years now, Bond is a certified yoga instructor. “I guide other spirits through Qigong and other aspects of yoga gradually. I want to continuously expand my knowledge about yoga.” For that, he knows he is at a perfect place!
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