"Know your niche, and build your portfolio by doing many different shoots in that realm,” advices Mister Supranational Canada 2018."
Aaron Mangat, a 28-year old model from Vancouver and Mister Supranational Canada 2018, is a great example of what it means to chase after your dreams and pave your own place in a new industry. He believes his modelling journey first started due to timing, luck and pure miracle. Although modelling was something brand new and a bit of a chance experience for Mangat, his involvement with sports since childhood, including competitive soccer and track and field, made fitness a natural transition for him in adulthood.
A couple of years ago, Mangat came across an advertisement for Top Model Search Canada, which was held in Toronto each year. Scouts were also hosting open casting sessions in Vancouver for a few days. Mangat’s friends encouraged him to audition, as they were going to do the same. At that time, Mangat already held a degree in Communications, so he went in with a particularly laid-back mindset. “I figured if I didn’t get anything from this, I wouldn’t be disappointed, however if anything did come from it, it would just be a bonus and something to be grateful for,” he recalls. After initial screenings with the agent, before Mangat could even grasp what was happening, he was on his way to Toronto for Top Model Search Canada 2017, where he was signed by an agency right out of the competition itself.
Mangat did experience his fair share of challenges and obstacles during the initial years of his modelling career, as he was a complete outsider to the business. “It looks much more glamorous than it is, that’s for sure,” the talented model says admittingly. For instance, there is quite a bit of job competition that always exists, such as when travelling to casting calls hoping to be booked for a job against more experienced models, or models represented by strong agencies. Even once a job has been booked, the challenges continue, as you now need to meet the requirements of the designer. This can be “quite stressful and a lot of pressure is given to you as you are expected to be as perfect as possible,” adds Mangat. Physical shape must be worked on prior to each assignment as well, so that you make sure not to disappoint the designer with any incorrect measurements as advertised by you. Ensuring you live up to the expectations is crucial for the possibility of future opportunities and collaborations.
Mangat believes his agency really deserves credit for taking good care of him and helping him get off the ground in the initial stages of his modelling career. “They helped me make the right connections and guided me in the right direction.” What really helped Mangat with getting the ground knowledge of the ins and outs of the industry was his experience being part of Los Angeles Fashion Week in the Fall of 2017. This was the time he realized how rewarding modelling can be when you keep pushing to work harder and become better, and learned that “one’s career path and where it goes is essentially in your own hand (but with a bit of luck, of course).”
When asked about one of the best moments in his career so far, Mangat immediately states it is winning Mister Supranational Canada 2018, and representing the country in Poland on the biggest, televised international male pageant in the world. “No moment beats this.” The competition was held in Toronto, and consisted of a swimwear physique round and a portion based on how models conducted interviews. Mangat proudly shares, “Coming in first place for having the best body was something I had already set my mind to do well in, and I did, which felt amazing. That said, personally, winning and actually competing in Poland for Canada was something that I can’t even put into words still because it felt like it was almost all a dream!” This exposure led to fully sponsored invites to compete in many other international competitions later that year, and many people started to recognize him and follow his journey back home.
His advice for those interested in modelling is to first know what you are getting into, do your research, and build a good portfolio that can display versatility, ultimately making you more marketable when looking for an agency to sign you. “Know your niche, and build your portfolio by doing many different shoots in that realm,” advices Mister Supranational Canada 2018.
Finally, Mangat reflects on his journey to where he is at today, and says it has been gradual and step-by-step. “In life you never know where you go and which roads life will take you down before spinning you into another direction altogether. Ultimately, don’t be afraid to take a chance on something, especially if it is something that you are willing to fully dedicate your life to, for a period of time. Sometimes there is a great life experience waiting for you if you just take a real chance at pursuing a goal, passion or dream,” he concludes.
Image courtesy: Aaron Mangat, getty images/Arun Nevadar