Pakistan is a country that is striving to become accustomed to the changing landscapes of the world. The 21st-century demands a sense of liberalism in the outlook of every field of work that is common in the modern day world. The fashion industry is on the boom and male models are making big bucks due to a combination of talent, good looks and casting couches.
However, just as anywhere else in the world, the fame and money often come at a cost. If you aren’t familiar with the term casting couch, you wouldn’t have a clear idea of what goes on. Casting couch refers to models (be them male or female), physically associating themselves with a promoter in the industry. Casting male models through this phenomena has become common in Pakistan.
In a country where unemployment prevails in full swing, casting couch is the only way forward for many that are young and feeble. The systematic approach towards fame for male models has been dubbed as ‘deception of innocent young boys’ by a model who spoke to Parhlo. According to him, people of the fashion industry have started approaching aspiring male models in a bid to promote them in the fashion industry by asking them for sexual favors.
These screenshots were submitted to us by our source, who chose to remain anonymous.
It has become a routine for young male models to face involuntary harassment at the hands of professionals who have made a name for themselves in the business. They seek fulfillment of their wishes at the cost of a quid-pro-quo arrangement with unemployed models who want to ‘go a long way’ which is English for ‘bohot aagay jaoge!’.
In 2012, a male Pakistani supermodel named Nomi Qamar spoke to newslinemagazine on the issue of casting couch in the industry, saying: “It happens all over the world and it happens here too. Our eyebrows only go up because we like to think that we’re Pakistani and Muslim and therefore above such practices. In fact, some of the stylist and photographers share the young male models as ‘gifts’ with each other. However, I will say that I know people who do great work and don’t do such things. Also, if two people are willing to go with the casting couch business then why is it such a big deal? Kisi aur ko kia masla hai? Why are we so scandalized, especially since it happens everywhere else too?”
As Nomi said, it happens all over the world. However, LGBT rights and supporting homosexuality isn’t openly welcomed in Pakistan. Although it should be a case of to each his own, practicing of such beliefs is not common in the country. In a bid to protect themselves, male models should look for reliable sources when entering the field. It is also the veteran professionals’ duty to support and groom young models without them having to compromise their integrity. For now, the taboo of casting couch in the male model industry prevails.