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Exclusive: Meet Rhyan Atrice, first black male model to be walking on the Indian ramp!

The FDCI has shortlisted African-American model Rhyan Atrice to walk for the forthcoming edition of Amazon India Fashion Week. Atrice tells Karan Bhardwaj that he wants to become the ‘Indian Tyson Beckford’ 

Rhyan Atrice

Rhyan Atrice

While an international brand, MAC Cosmetics, fights against racist comments on their Instagram page for posting a picture of Ugandan-born black model Aamito Lagum sporting their lipstick, India has set a positive trend for fashion enthusiasts. The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), India’s apex fashion body, has selected a black African-American male model, Rhyan Atrice, to walk the ramp at the forthcoming edition of Amazon India Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2016. The grand fashion do will have its first menswear show for which the FDCI has shortlisted 24 males through an exhaustive audition.

Born of Web caught up with Rhyan Atrice, who is confident of scripting history in the Indian fashion industry. Excerpts from an interview:

Rhyan Atrice

Rhyan Atrice being auditioned for the Amazon India Fashion Week/Born of Web

How does the story go? What brought you to India?
I was working as a part-time model in America. I come from Salt Lake City, Utah. I always wanted to get an opportunity to work as a full-time model. However, I was not getting such opportunity in the US. When Rajan Kapoor (director of modelling agency Strawberri Fox) contacted me to work in India, I was super kicked. He initially inquired about a female model but as luck would have it, I happened to join hands with him.

Have you quit your job now? 
Yes, I decided to put my corporate job aside for a while, and try my hands on modelling here. It’s scary but as they say, you don’t grow unless you take risks. I took a leap of faith and came here. I am pursuing my dreams. It took me a week to get everything in order and followed my instinct to come to India.

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Rhyan Atrice

Rhyan Atrice

When did you land here?
I reached here three days ago. The same day, I attended a late night party in Bengaluru and even bagged a photo shoot there.

You are the first black model to walk on the Indian ramp.
This is unreal to me. I am so ready to rock the floor. All I want is to get a chance to prove myself. I am fully prepared. I have worked on my body for years, have great communication skills.

But what makes you hopeful to have a career in India, a country that shuns back skin?
My father used to tell me that you have to be a big fish in a small pound in order to get noticed. It’s not that I am scared of a bigger pond (industry) like America or calling India a small market, but it’s a simple business practice. The US already has a lot of American-African, African black models. However, India has none. I know fashion industry is inclusive of all races, creeds, colours and ethnicities. If you are a good talent, you won’t be stopped. Also, India is a great emerging market. I’m super excited to be here.

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Rhyan Atrice

Rhyan Atrice

What’s the roadmap?
I want to be the Indian Tyson Beckford! (Tyson Beckford is a famous American-African model)

Rhyan Atrice

FDCI has shortlisted 24 male models for the first menswear show at the AIFWAW16/Born of Web

Born of Web’s Takeaway
We would like to congratulate FDCI and Rhyan Atrice for scripting history. The Indian fashion industry must be inclusive of all. The New York Fashion Week, one of the most prestigious fashion dos in the world, has often set examples of how fashion is accepting of all sections of society. Recently, they had bionic model Rebekah Marine walking the ramp and making global headlines. In India, we believe it’s a good sign that we have challenged the notion of fair skin. Long way to go.

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