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A 19-year-old with a passion

Monday, June 24, 2019

He’s a Mumbai kid, 19 years old and a model for aspirational brands like Benetton and US Polo. He has all that it takes to be a model – good looks, height, charm and confidence on the ramp. Yet what makes Pranav Bakhshi exceptional is that he’s also been dealing with autism ever since he was a child. Born in May 2000 to his mother Anupama Bakhshi, Pranav faced many health complications as a child. Says Anupama: “Because of his autism, Pranav also grew up with anxiety. But he’s always had a great fighting spirit. At a young age he started writing a journal about his thoughts to understand how to deal with the problems he faced. He put all of his efforts into making autism his strength and not his weakness. Once, we were in a mall, when he pointed out an ad that had models posing on the ramp. He looked at it and said, ‘I want to do this’. We were surprised but we felt happy that he’d found something he was interested in! There was no looking back from there -- Pranav put his heart and soul into modelling.” Anupama started by approaching different brands and after a year of trying Pranav finally landed an opportunity with two big labels. After that encouraging start, Anupama called different modelling agencies and one agency responded.  Says Pranav’s mom: “Pranav was so excited -- he started preparing for his audition. But, at the same time, I penned an explanation to help Pranav understand that sometimes things don't work out.  I still remember how nervous we were waiting for them to make a decision. I couldn’t believe my ears when they said he was selected -- it was the biggest moment of our lives! The agency knew that he was autistic, but they said they loved how he was in front of the camera and how his talent was beyond any other label.” A wonderful role model, perhaps, for other kids who, though not ‘perfect’ in the traditional sense, will not let anything get between them and their dreams?

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