Towering at 6 feet, Halley Laithangbam from Manipur will represent India on a global platform for Mr. International 2015 after being recently crowned the prestigious title Mr. International India 2015. The event will be held in Philippines in November 2015 and will see participants from 50 countries. A second runner up of Mr. Pune 2010, Laithangbam is the second person from the Northeast to participate in the competition and to represent the region at the event. In an interview with TNT’s Toshinaro Imchen, here is Halley Laithangbam.
Please tell us about yourself.
I was born to a Meitei family in Imphal, Manipur. I have been modelling since 2002. I have completed my MBA degree and was working for six years in Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore. Since June 2014, I have been running successfully by God’s grace a models’ grooming studio (Halley’s Models’ Grooming Studio) at my hometown Imphal. I am not the one who never fails, but who never quit. I am glad of what I am today and remain thankful to each and everyone who have been supporting me so far.
How did you get into modelling? Was it something you always wanted to do or did it just kind of happen?
Like every individual I grew up with a dream and my dream was to become a professional model. Later, I realised that making a place in this industry is not as easy as it may sound. Lots of dedication, hard work, patience, good health, good physique and most importantly, love and support from people are needed. Everybody has different areas of interest. So for me, modelling is an area where my interest lies and I always wanted to become a model since my childhood. But yes, I give equal importance to my education also. No one from my family insisted me to do modelling. I am doing on my own interest and my family is supporting me fortunately.
Can you walk us through a typical work day?
Post 7-hour-long sound sleep, I start my day with a glass of water without fail. I practice yoga/meditation and gym in the morning. Then I usually have heavy breakfast that includes oats, milk, brown bread, boiled eggs, bananas and other fruits. Then I take my lunch around 1pm then in the evening around 4pm, I go for martial art class (In Manipuri traditionally known as Thang-Ta) these days. Though daily schedules are slightly different accordingly.
Who or what is the biggest inspiration in your life?
Mary Kom, five-time world champion pugilist. The fact that I hail from the same place where she belongs to, a small place not much known to many and yet against every indubitable hitch and hindrance she has managed to shine with distinction of victory gives me the strength to believe in myself even more. She is such an inspiration to the whole world now. So who else could inspire me more than she does?
What would you say is the best part and the toughest part of being a model?
The best part of being a model is when we get good fame and good name. And the toughest part is to live up to my fans’ and people’s expectation.
Sometimes the modelling industry gets a bad rap with the jealousy and egos encountered between other models and agencies. Was this true for you? Have you managed to tough it out and make good friends?
An object can be flat or round, it is from where you view. One shouldn’t see from one perspective only. So, I always take in good ways, ignore and least bother when people try to show their egos on me because I also have my own different avatars. Therefore, I can treat different people differently. And yes one must remember, “Trees bearing more fruits get more stones”. Simple!
Talking about Mr. International 2015, how and what are your preparations for the pageant?
Many are the preparations I would say. There is no limit for preparations in any kind of competitions as success itself has no limit. But yes, to mention a few, I am trying hard to take care of myself in all possible aspects. In the area of intangible segment, I also go through different kind of questions which were asked in beauty pageants/man hunt contests or probable questions that might come. I read lots of proverbs that might help in my question-answer round. Besides, I also practice with my voice, to speak clearly and slowly following a pace with the right pitch. I do practice yoga, meditation and a kind of martial art (In Manipuri traditionally known as Thang-Ta). I also go for swimming and trekking sometimes.
You have done TV commercial, print ad and catalogue shoots. Do you plan on branching out to other areas like acting besides modelling?
Actually, my interest doesn’t lie much in the area of acting. But to be honest, I sometimes ask myself “Shall I try into acting or not?” I always end up smiling. I need to come out of the shell if I really have to act. I think I can.
Can you give us five facts about yourself people may not know about.
I have nothing as such as I am an extrovert and open-minded kind of person. But there are few things that may be mentioned…
I have a habit of collecting things valuable or trivial that is related to me. E.g., I still have my kindergarten notebook and many more. I have also been maintaining my personal diary since 1998. I love trying different cuisines and try my hand at it sometimes. I like to mingle with different kinds of people from different parts of the globe and I’m also keen to know more about their lifestyles, food habit, traditions and cultures. I truly enjoy it as it gives me genuine pleasure.
Last but not least, what is your message for all your fans and supporters?
In life be good to others, helpful in action, kind in words and concern for everyone. Please keep loving and supporting me. Without your priceless and valuable love and kind support, it would be very difficult for me to live up to your expectations. I am here for my North East and for my country India. God bless everyone!
Photos: Halley Laithangbam