Best Version of You - Chaitanya Ch talks with You & I

Gone are the days when it was only celebrities, socialites, and those with high-profile jobs who were expected to put their best foot forward. In today’s day and age – and in particular thanks to social media – everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame, and so naturally everyone wants to look and feel their best. Numerous studies have shown that a positive self-image tends to make people more successful in the workplace. This is where image consultants have found a niche in helping people achieve their full potential. This week, we caught up with Chaitanya – one of the first certified image consultants from Hyderabad.

Tell us a bit about your background.
I grew up in a boarding school in Bengaluru, then moved to Delhi as my dad got into politics. I pursued the latter half of my schooling there at the Mater Dei School. When I got married I moved to Hyderabad. I belong to the first batch of Image Consultants of Hyderabad, having begun in 2011. We were a batch of five then, and are currently the only active ones.

What’s the most exciting part about being an image consultant?
The ability to help someone achieve their goals is a great feeling. It is very rewarding when I hear back from my clients about how my services helped them improve different aspects of their lives – from relationships to career promotions. The excitement and feeling of helping a person achieve their aspirations is unmatchable.

Who typically hires the services of an image consultant?
Anyone who wants to make a change in the way they look and feel about themselves, and improve their social and communicative skills would benefit greatly from an image consultant. I have a very varied and wide spectrum of clientele, as everyone has their own specific requirements. From the education sector, to hospitals, the IT sector, hotels, and the television industry, I have done it for them all.

What are some of the misconceptions people tend to have when it comes to image consulting?
Some people believe it deals with just changing the way a person looks! It often gets confused with being a fashion stylist. What I do as an image consultant is much more three dimensional. It involves a deep analysis into the needs of the client, and is tailor-made to improve not only appearance but also grooming, social, and etiquette skills. Everybody deserves to look and feel their best. That’s what we as image consultants strive for – to help anyone willing to make a change.

Who would benefit the most from your services?
I think that working professionals usually tend to benefit more from the services. Let’s face it: no matter how good someone is at what they do, it is mostly about how one projects themselves, both physically and socially. That’s what really draws attention at the end of the day. To move forward and up the ladder, one needs to acquire professional grooming, confidence, and business etiquette to create a lasting impression. Even teenagers, mothers, CEOs, and celebrities would benefit from being their best selves, which I as an image consultant help people achieve.

What is the basic process involved in image consulting?
I start off by hearing the requirements of my clients, and make an analysis of their body shape, appearance, and personality. Then come the aspects of grooming, personal styling, and shopping. And last but not the least, etiquette skills come into play.

It sounds like a service that might appeal more to women. What is the role of men here?
That’s a misconception. I have had an equal ratio of men and women coming in for help. The general notion that image consultancy deals with fashion makeovers leads to a lot of men to believe that it is not for them, and hence they don’t consider it. Image improvement is for anyone and everyone; there’s no age or career limit. Who doesn’t want to look their best and be appreciated for it?

How has your life changed after getting into image consulting?
It has changed for the good, and in fact image consulting has aided me profoundly. It’s a very rewarding experience every time I am through with a client, as I know I have done my tiny little part towards making the world a better place for someone. I have also learnt a lot, as my profession is a two-way street. I learn a lot from my clients and their experiences, professions, and perspectives on life.
            --- as told to Suneela