Pakistani supermodels have revealed their experiences, trials and triumphs of walking the runway in the Islamic republic.
Mehreen Syed, 26, one of the most popular and best-paid of Pakistan’s new generation of catwalk, campaign and magazine cover stars, had to endure severe beatings at the hands of her uncle and brothers when she first voiced her desire to enter the profession, The Telegraph reported.
“My uncles, they beat me, and they said, ‘You are not doing this profession’…but only my mother said, ‘You should do this, whatever you want’….My whole family, they wear burqas, they cover their faces,” The Huffington Post quoted Mehreen, as telling The Telegraph’s Hilary Alexander backstage at Pakistan Fashion Week.
“I chose this profession and I love this profession. And, of course, our culture is different because people think that in Pakistan there’s no fashion shows and there’s no fashion designers. And that there’s no models. But I am glad that our fashion industry is popular and is helping us,” she added.
Aamina Haq, who was one of Pakistan’s supermodels between 1995 and 2007, recalled how difficult it was for her father- former governor and chief minister of Punjab, Mustafa Khar – to deal with her showing off her body and rising to a higher level of fame than perhaps he had achieved. Aamina said she was initially disowned by her father, but was inspired by her mother.
“I started modelling in 1995 at that time things were very different, we hadn’t had terrorism, things were very open,” she said.
Another ramp beauty, Ayyan Ali, began modelling when she was 16 years old and still in school.
“My parents are quite modernised, but we are a Muslim country and quite religious. You just have to watch your image,” she said.
Although she is happy to appear on the catwalk in mini-skirts, she would not model swimwear.
“You should know the difference between vulgar and decent. You can carry a short skirt in a nice way. It depends on you,” Ayyan maintained.
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