Deepak Shanmuganathan has graced the covers of umpteenth magazines, with his dashing good looks and suave manner. The enigmatic smile, devilish chin cleft, sultry eyes and good personality have made him a firm favourite in the modeling circles of Colombo. Classed as a top male model for his appealing looks, his career reached stellar heights almost overnight and he remained one of the most sought after male models in the industry. At present Deepak who has always refrained from full time modeling calls the shots in terms of assignments on the ramp and campaigns as he devotes most of his time to his freelance work in the marketing arena.
The most shocking confession by this debonair model was the fact that he was an extremely shy child and that made me laugh, to the amazement of the customers in the coffee shop. It drove me to gales of laughter as I could not associate this persona who was oozing with confidence to have been an introvert at any point in his life but he assured me that he was and epitomized the term ‘painfully shy!’ That was a moment of incredulity for me but as story unfolds we see how he bursts forth from this shell to become one of the best male models in the industry.
Describe your childhood….
“I grew up in Nigeria as we had to relocate due to my father’s occupation.” So from about 2 to 14 years of age the youngest in the family was secure within the confines of his home and family as to pursue anything which required standing in front of a crowd seemed overwhelming to this bashful young lad.
His parents and teachers would urge him to participate in stage productions or atleast attend parties but that too was a colossal task for Deepak and I personally cannot seem to associate the extrovert in front of me with anything akin to shyness, nevertheless destiny had other plans for him and drew him out of his box in the form of Christine Keil, his classmate’s mom who was a designer and a lady who did not take no for an answer. “She literally cornered me into accepting the offer of modeling her designs for a show, which is something I will always be grateful for,” enthused Deepak who added that he was around around 17 at the time and studying at Stafford International School at the time.
“The day dawned and I had anxiety attacks and I recall how I was shivering while putting my shoes on which seems laughable at present but it was so.” The transformation from shy to confident happened the moment he stepped onto the ramp as the adrenaline burst forth and he felt the admiration and appeal targeted towards him, causing him to flourish and emerge from the cocoon he had hid in for so long. Here was his life’s calling and in this fast paced, transitional world he shed his last vestiges of shyness.
“I had an odd looking goatee which was a hindrance despite me thinking it was ‘cool,’ but once I decided to get rid of it, the offers kept rolling in starting from Geraldine Bandaranaike and many other choreographers and designers ensured that I was always on the ramp and chosen for numerous advertising campaigns.
During that time there were only a few of us who were doing the rounds and it was less competitive.
Many lasting friendships were formed as we were spending so many hours together at shows and rehearsals.”
Reverting back to the past, he exclaimed that he earned respect within the industry for many reasons and one being his association with his family friend Nushara Fernando Atapattu who was the reigning Ms. Sri Lanka when he joined the industry and the other being his natural reticence towards compromising his beliefs and values.
“Modeling offered an escape from reality but that was not my sole career option as I believed in pursuing a more solid career which would last when modeling was done. An industry which is based on the outward appearance would last but you personally are bound to change and the industry per se is not going to come to a grinding halt with you or for you.
From the time I left school, I was involved in various jobs which tapped various skills which lay dormant within me. My first part-time job was working at a Cuban cigar shop which was at the Hilton Colombo. Thereafter I worked for a period of two years at Standard Chartered Bank in Colombo and the next 02 years in the Royal Bank of Scotland in the UK. The banking sphere overseas granted many openings for me and I excelled and rose in the corporate ladder due to hard work and diligence. Upon my return, I chose another career choice which was marketing in different industries and I drove into it with much passion, sacrificing many hours to achieve success. One day I realized the only reason I was pushing myself so hard to climb the corporate ladder was because that was what growing up in an Asian culture back in the day would have you believe. I knew that being confined to a typical 9-5 job was just not making me happy so about a year ago I decided to make a change.
I attribute this thought to God as well who has been a massive part of my life since i was 17. I decided to welcome every opportunity that came my way as that provided opportunity to discover what I really want to do and find hidden talents if any and this is the fun fact of getting older as you get more confident with the person you are.
At present my day dawns with a workout routine at a group class led by a really ‘cool’ trainer from Colombia called Juan Carlos. I follow his classes diligently daily because I love to eat and I am happiest when I am eating and everyone whose over 30 knows that one’s metabolism slows down unlike in the 20’s!” remarked Deepak.
“My work requires me to deal with the hotels, beaut salons and other entertainment industries and the development of various brands through social media.” For Deepak who revels in rapport building this is indeed the ideal career option which has brought him immense satisfaction.
Deepak revealed that the essence of who he is and has turned out to be is due to his personal walk with God. He is definitely a ‘people person,’ who encompasses the term ‘joie de vivre’ to the core and is determined not to take life too seriously.
Follow him on instagram : deepak_shan
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