The secret to success is indeed an undying passion to pursue something that you love doing, besides hard work and determination. In the July edition of Ritz, South India’s leading lifestyle magazine, we catch up with two dynamic personalities from Chennai who share their inspiring stories. Both of them carved a niche for themselves and worked their way up the hard way. Presenting Siddharth Kannan, fitness model, trainer and actor and Anitha Sivakumar, the founder of the South Indian restaurant chain, Parambriym.
Written by Riya Sonny Datson
Photography: Maheshwar Singh
Styling: Sunil Karthik
Location Courtesy: Novotel, Chamiers Road
Hair & Makeup: Page 3 Luxury Salon and Makeover Studio, Chennai
During his schooling at the Chettinad Vidyashram, his passion was always cricket. But after his graduation from Loyola, fitness training became his mantra and that slowly led him into modelling. His hard work and passion for fitness paid off when he started to win accolades at Mr Chennai, Mr India and Mr Asia pageants. But his ultimate dream was always to get into movies. RITZ gets into a freewheeling chat with Siddharth Kannan as he finally gears up for his first Kannada film project!
Tell us how you started your acting career?
I have always been passionate about fitness and working out and I continue to work as an online fitness consultant and a nutritionist. I still help people (both in India and abroad) with their fitness regimes and nutritional needs. It was through my fitness training that I initially became a fitness model. It was only later that I got into professional modelling, which turned out to be the stepping stone for my acting career. Yummfit takes care of my nutrition and they send me customised meals.
How did your passion for fitness start?
I have always been passionate about working out and I wanted to take it to the next level. So I decided to participate in competitive events and started training in 2015. Unfortunately, I suffered a wrist injury and wasn’t able to train for about 6 months. After which, I got back on track and started working out with a plan to participate for Mr India. In order to qualify for it, I had to participate in the regional pageant here in Chennai, and that’s how it all started. I won the regionals and moved to the next level of Mr India in Mumbai and won there too. Slowly moving up the ladder, I participated and won in the Mr Asia competition and later at other events. Fitness for me is more than a passion.
Tell us about your most unforgettable modelling experience.
My most unforgettable modelling experience would be the one I had when I participated in the Mr Asia competition in Singapore. It was my turn on stage and they had called out my name. But I was late and I remember I had to literally run on to the stage. That was a truly unforgettable experience!
Which is your favourite sport and do you get time to play now?
Yes, I was a sportsman when I was younger and played cricket at a competitive level. I started playing when I was 8 at school and played close to 20 odd years. Unfortunately, I had to move past the game because by nature, cricket is a slightly injury prone game, and I couldn’t afford to get injured at a stage where I am training 3 to 4 hours a day. Also, my busy schedule and commitments do not give me the time to concentrate on sports at a competitive level. My favourite sport is still cricket, but I also play a bit of badminton now and then and enjoy swimming. I enjoy casual sports as it helps me to relax and also gets the soreness out of the system.
What inspired you to make the jump from modelling to movies?
Acting was always the bigger picture. But since I didn’t have a background in the film industry, I needed a platform to establish myself and slowly move up the ladder. It took me two years and I had to do a lot of networking to finally get to a stage where I could venture into something on my own.
Tell us about the movie.
Right now, it is too early to talk about the film. The little I am going to say about it is that it is a bilingual thriller which will be releasing in Kannada and Hindi. The director of the movie has assisted one of the best directors in India and has worked with him for a long time. The film has a completely fresh cast and crew. It is slated for release next year, and the shoot is expected to finish probably by the end of October this year.
How do you think your modelling experience will help you in cinema?
Initially when I got on stage at the start of my modelling career, I used to be very shy. Be it wearing the kind of clothes that a fitness model generally does, or being on stage in front of a crowd – it used to be difficult. But slowly, after doing a lot of events, I got the hang of it and in fact, I started to like it. I did a few TV commercials and that’s where I learnt how to act in front of the camera. I always knew that acting was something that I eventually wanted to do and now am moving towards it.
We know that you love traveling. Tell us about the traveller in you.
About the traveller in me – simply put, I need to get out of a place after a while. I can’t stay in a place for more than a couple of months at a stretch. I get bored and need to step out of the city or for that matter where ever I am. I have travelled to more than 20 countries. I am up to travel anytime no matter where I am.
You have also won accolades in the national and international level body building competitions.
I won the third place in Mr India as well as in Mr Asia. These are two of the biggest awards that I have received. Bodybuilding was not something that I dreamt of doing when I was younger because cricket was my main passion then. But once I got into fitness, I realised that I really enjoyed it and slowly it became my passion. Winning accolades and excelling at it always meant and will continue mean a lot to me.
How important is diet to maintain fitness?
I would say that diet plays an extremely important role. About 70% of fitness is a result of diet in my opinion. Personally, I have been on a flexible diet for close to 2 years now. I cannot go on a very strict diet because the body cannot take it after a certain period of time. When the diet is too strict, one might start getting sugar and other cravings, or want to binge eat or even stop working out. Since I have not been on a very strict diet it has worked out well so far. I think I am complete this way.
What do you think the future holds for you?
Frankly speaking, I didn’t know what I was heading for two years ago. But now I am acting in a film! I am waiting for the right opportunity to move up the ladder. You could say that I am just taking each day at a time!
Follow him on Insta @siddharthincognito