Blue-eyed 18-year-old, Arshad Khan, became a social media darling after pictures of him went viral online.

Internet sensation chai wala from Pakistan is now a fashion wala bags modelling contract
news Social media Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 13:42

Unless you’re a social media recluse, you’ve probably seen the "blue eyed" chai wala from Pakistan plastered all over your newsfeed in the last few days. The overnight internet sensation has become so popular that he’s now bagged a modelling contract. 

Eighteen-year-old Arshad Khan, who runs a tea stall in Islamabad's Itwar Bazaar, has been signed by fitin.pk, an online retailer in Islamabad. 

fitin.pk

Making the announcement on social media on Tuesday, the online shopping store wrote, "Chai wala is no more chai wala, he is fashion wala now". 

 

Images credit: fitin.pk/Facebook

"I am extremely grateful for being given this opportunity," Arshad said in an interview. 

 

 

He also said that while he has been working in the Itwar Bazaar for four years now, he started working at the tea shop only three months ago. He never went to school because of financial constraints at home, and reportedly has 17 siblings. 

The attention Arshad has received recently isn’t just limited to the internet either. Arshad told Samaa TV that around 40 to 50 women have come to his stall to take pictures of him in the past few days. 

 

 

Arshad rose to fame after photographs taken by Javeria or Jiah Ali went viral online. She told Samaa TV that she had come to the market area for a photo project, when she spotted Arshad.  

 

jiah_ali/Instagram

"I was clicking a lot pictures and when I saw him (Arshad), I took his photograph as well," she said adding that she had no idea at the time that he'd become so famous. 

 

 

When Express News asked him if he'd be interested in doing films if offered, he said that he is open to working in all kinds of films, be it English or Indian movies. 

 

 

While there's been a considerable amount of fawning over Arshad on the internet, some have also called out social media users for objectifying him and for talking about him in classist terms. 

Farahnaz Zahidi writes in The Express Tribune, "Objectification of both genders is unacceptable. But if it is something that humanity as a race has not been able to fight back yet, then just like the blame of the original sin is shared, let the burden of beauty be shared as well, irrespective of gender. There is a thin line between plain admiration and objectification."

"What I would and do have a problem with is the accompanying surprise that he is a chai wala. That this is a man from an obviously lower income background, and is yet so good looking. Like all things good in life, somewhere the upper tier bourgeois of Pakistan have come to believe that even looks and God-gifted attributes are co-dependent on money and affluence?," she adds.

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