Every person has a story to share. This column puts the spotlight on the people of Chennai, faces we see but rarely interact with — giving a glimpse into their struggle.
Valli Arunachalam (22), Model
Chennai: I began modelling about two years back. My friends used to joke and say I didn’t know enough about it to be a model. But I studied hard, saw how others were doing it and now I’ve perfected the right poses and postures. I won the Mr Shining Star of India award earlier this year. My Instagram page has around 14,500 followers. They’re all very nice people, very encouraging. A lot of them are girls, but a lot of guys also follow me. They message me and ask on the right posing tips and I help them out based on whatever I know. I also work as a delivery executive. I started that job to help earn more money for modelling. Clothes aren’t cheap, and my family isn’t financially equipped to support my passion. I don’t want to burden my parents. So I’ve become as self-sustaining as possible. I graduated from the Chennai Acupuncture Academy around three years back. It is an interest of mine. I run a clinic out of my home in Triplicane. My first patient was an old man. After I treated him and cured him, he couldn’t pay me anything, and I didn’t mind. But he came the next month after his salary and gave me Rs 8,000, saying that he really appreciated my help. I do all of this because I enjoy it. Once my modelling costs are covered, I keep a little money for myself, and the rest I give to my parents.