South Asian models Mannat and Sirat Kaur want their peers to get their due

In our Youthquake issue this month, we spotlight an extraordinary group of artists from the subcontinent and beyond, made up of up-and-coming musicians, up-and-coming models and radical creatives who are reshaping the spaces and industries that they live. Discover a world animated by their vibrant diversity, innate individuality and general verve.

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Mannat and Sirat Kaur are twin models born in Chandigarh and currently based in New York. Although they started modeling somewhat by accident, the 24-year-olds quickly found themselves captivated by the fashion industry and got involved in different aspects of it over the years. The goal of their work is to recalibrate traditional perspectives on gender, bring South Asians to the fore, and candidly expose the complexities of being, beyond the roles assigned to them by society.

How would you describe your artistic energy?

In the beginning, it was quite difficult to be a role model in this industry where there are so many expectations of what one should look like. Our creative process during a shoot is very natural. If we shoot together, which happens most often, we just interact with each other in a way that makes the other feel more comfortable. Being together reduces the anxiety that comes with being in front of a camera. As we start to feel more connected to each other and the team, we slowly feel like there’s no camera. At this point, it becomes fun to interact with the clothes we wear, with each other, and even with ourselves. Over time, we have also become more protective of this creative energy so that we can preserve it.

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