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Issue 49 / Model Daniel Wahab Chaudhry Breaks Taboos On The Runway And Beyond

Model Daniel Wahab Chaudhry Breaks Taboos On The Runway And Beyond

May 12, 2016


Model Daniel Wahab Chaudhry gets up close and personal about diversity in the entertainment industry, the fashion inudstry as well as his recent role in The Witch. 

 
Wonder what it would be like to have a conversation with a gorgeous male model? Now you don’t have to wonder anymore. Sure, I’ll be having daydreams for weeks about this eligible bachelor, but it was all worth it. I had the chance to chat with Daniel Wahab Chaudhry, one of Canada’s leading models in Toronto Men’s Fashion Week and the terrifying, yet sultry voice behind Black Philip in The Witch, and let me tell you, he’s definitely more than just the man you want to take out to dinner and stare at all night.

Shilpa Sehgal-Rajput: What made you decide to be a model?

Daniel Wahab Chaudhry: My last girlfriend was already heavily involved in the [modeling] industry and thought I’d have something to offer, so she pushed me to get into it. I sort of rolled into it not knowing anything about it.

SSR: Have you always known you were going to be in the entertainment industry? Any inspiration that guided your decision?

DWC: I was a hyper child with a grand imagination. Still am. Entertaining people always played a warm role in my life, but the boot-to-ass moment was when my high school drama teacher talked to me about taking it seriously and to stop fooling around. He believed in me, and I pondered on it for a bit after that.

SSR: You are of Pakistani background, so being a man of colour, do you feel you had to overcome more challenges to get where you are?

DWC: It’s no secret that people of colour have obstacles preventing them to progress in this industry. When casting something, certain ethnicities are viewed stereotypically. Indian/Pakistani’s are given roles such as a taxi driver, doctor, scientist or the guy selling hot dogs on the side of the street, all with a typical accent. And it’s not only South Asians — it’s everyone else too.

SSR: Do you think diversity in casting is something that is being talked about? Do you think it will ever change?

DWC: Changes are happening slowly, and there are people out there who are making subtle changes. It’s those changes that will start to make a difference. Everyone has three-dimensional characteristics, there’s more to a character than his/her accent, skin colour and ethnicity. Having a diverse cast in film or television shouldn’t be thought about. It should just happen. Stories are to reflect the real world. It contains real people. Real people, with actual stories — this is what people really respond to.

SSR: Your latest entertainment role was in the movie The Witch and you have received a lot of praise for your sultry, seductive voice. How was that experience? 

DWC: It was my first film set I worked on and it was great. I remember not knowing who the cast was and when I met Kate Dickie on set (who plays the mother in the film) I went, “Holy shit, you’re in Game of Thrones!” Only then did I know this was more than what I thought it was going to be.

Daniel Wahab Chaudhry 
Photo Credit: Roberto Vazquez

 

SSR: We've seen a lot of South Asians gain success in the entertainment industry. Is there any particular person who inspired you to follow your dreams?

DWC: There’s no particular person, there’s been several whilst growing up. A few years ago it was Riz Ahmed, who I saw flip the stereotypical roles into something genius, such as his character in Four Lions. Aziz Ansari is someone currently making huge waves for all too.

SSR: You are a model in TOM* (Toronto Men's Fashion Week). That is a huge accomplishment. How has this opportunity impacted your life?

DWC: I’d have to give credit to local Canadian designer Hussein Dhalla (Dalla) who I met one day during my early modelling phase. Long story short, he pulled me into his show at [Toronto's] World MasterCard Fashion Week and that lead to the introduction to the guys over at TOM* who were starting up their very first show. After that, the rest fell into place.

Daniel Wahab Chaudhry
Photo Credit: Daniel Wahab Chaudhry

 

SSR: Many people have the perception that models are just a pretty face. What would you say to that?

DWC: Maybe it’s because of certain people, they sometimes make a fool out of themselves on an international level. I don’t even know if the majority of people think I’m just a pretty face or not. I never really cared about how I look. In fact the whole long hair and big beard style I had going on was the result of being bedridden after a surgery and I couldn’t get up for months. The man-bun and beard craze coincidentally arrived just in time.

SSR: Where do you see yourself in the future? Do you wish to delve deeper into acting or remain in modelling?

DWC: I never stopped acting, per say. I was always studying, learning and working on my craft. Modelling sort of snowballed for a couple years and that propelled more than acting did. I had one foot in both doors, so to speak, but it never distracted me from where I was going to end up. In fact, all the modeling I’ve done has helped my journey in acting.

SSR: What is the most spontaneous thing you have done for your career?

DWC: I chopped off my locks and shaved parts of my head for an upcoming role. Yup, half my hair is gone and I’ve got those funky designs. Rock on folks!

SSR: What makes up Wahab?

DWC: Music, stories and food. Let me keep these three things and I’ll be set.

Daniel Wahab Chaudry
Photo Credit:  Roberto Vazquez

 

Find out more about Daniel Wahab Chaudhry here.

Main Image Photo Credit: Lane Dorsey

Shilpa Sehgal-Rajput

Shilpa Sehgal-Rajput

Author

Shilpa Sehgal-Rajput is a freelance writer based in Chicago.  Reminiscing about her passion for writing during her college days, she has made her way back from the corporate world, armed with a lace pen.  When she’s not working on humorous short stories and epic novels, she’s living out her se...

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