Tea peddler to a model; Life-changing photo of an Pakistani teenager

A Pakistani attractive “chai wala” (street tea seller) changed his life overnight after his portrait posted on the internet.


Arshad Khan, 18, was photographed by Javeria Ali serving tea in a free market on Sundays ago in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

Thousands of users in social networks shared the image with comments on his “penetrating” eyes and label #ChaiWala trend turned in Twitter.

Days later, Arshad Khan appeared in his first modeling campaign.


Fitin.pk, an online store based in Islamabad, rushed to sign a contract with Khan and is now using her image as a model menswear.

A message on the Facebook page of the brand says: “Chai wala is no longer chai wala, wala it’s fashion wala now!”.

In an interview with a local television station, Khan said his family had lived in Islamabad for the past 25 years and joined the tea stall selling a few months ago.

He said he did not know nor had heard of Instagram and Twitter platforms. 

The Pakistani daily Express Tribune reported having followed the steps tea vendor become celebrity until he found him in his job.

If he was aware of its emerging global fame, Khan replied: ” . Yes, I am and I feel incredibly happy My friends have been showing photos from this morning.”


A user of Indian origin called @Shruti_writes on Twitter, referred to the current tensions between India and Pakistan calling for peace for the health of tea vendor: “Pakistan has #ChaiWala looking like Please do not bombard,. Thank you”.

Javeria photographer Ali, who published the photo on 14 October, anticipated the global response, writing the caption: “Hot tea” and closing the comment with a smiley winking.

He told the BBC: “I was surprised that he became famous for me as it was a casual and normal publication.”.

Ali, who recently graduated from communication and photography weddings and events in Islamabad, said he was delighted with Khan, the seller of tea.

“I’m happy for him, he deserves it . He’s a great guy. I hope he can handle the fame and that is not exploited by people interested.”


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