It won’t be wrong to say that Bollywood and the fashion industry have finally come of age. This year alone has seen some major revolutions in both fields. From showcasing bold topics in the movies to shattering several stereotypes on the runaway, 2016 has somehow brought about some phenomenal yet much-needed changes. Whether it’s addressing taboo topics like homosexuality in the film Aligarh or the problem of widespread drug addiction in Udta Punjab, a certain level of maturity could be seen in the ever-evolving world of cinema.
The fashion industry wasn’t far behind. On one hand, we saw many plus size models gracing magazine covers, walking the runaway and breaking stereotypical notions of how only thin women are sexy. On the other, we saw pregnant models turning into showstoppers for top notch designers.
But 2016 couldn’t have ended on a more beautiful note. Anjali Lama from Nepal has become the first transgender model to bag the opportunity to walk at an international fashion week early next year!
Lama has been chosen to walk the ramp for Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2017. It will be held in the first week of February in 2017 at Jio Garden, Mumbai.
Born as a boy named Nabin Wali in Nuwakot, Lama underwent a sex change operation and became a woman after moving to Kathmandu in 2010 for higher studies. However, it didn’t come easy for the beautiful lady. Her transformation and struggle has been so inspiring that a documentary called “Anjali — Living Inside Someone Else’s Skin” has been made on her life.
But if you thought this successful Nepali model is all about the looks, hold your horses, because your perception will take a massive beating. Lama is not at all afraid of being vocal about the issues of transgenders. Calling it a ‘scorching topic’ globally, she was confident that India could not have remained immune to it.
“Transgenders being ‘T’ of LGBTQ are undoubtedly a scorching topic in the global context. India too has not been untouched by this debate. There has been a continuous effort to bring in transgenders to the forefront and give them their due respect for their work,” she told IANS in an email interview.
Daughter of a farmer and now a sister of four brothers, she further said,
“Except for a few, Indians are far more broad minded and receptive to witness this inclusivity constructively.”
According to her, this selection has got her a lot of appreciation from her community. In fact, she wants to take this as a golden opportunity to inspire people like her to shed their inhibitions, step out and do the same.
“I am continuously trying to change the overall self-evaluation criteria of individuals like me in my community. I want to tell them to build their abilities, harness their energy, focus their aim and then work towards it without thinking a moment about hardships and challenges in the outside world.”
She even went on to shower praises on the fashion industry in India, saying,
“The entire industry has a big global influence in a positive way. This, entwined with creative freedom and a strong self-expression, makes the industry all encompassing. India is little more developed in this area. People here are by and large helpful.”
Lama gives credit to the helpful attitude of the industry as it made her decision to come to India and pursue her passion and explore opportunities easy. She even recalled how she had to face a lot of rejection when she started building her career, because she is a transgender.
“Fashion is a strong subject and it has the possibility to turn around the overall environment and psychology of even the most rigid minds”.
For Anjali Lama, the silver lining is that she thinks that the change is already happening. She said,
“I credit education for this favourable change. People are moving out of their shells, breaking the taboo and talking about things which never happened earlier. Also, I certainly believe that fashion and media are the vehicles for this (change)”.
While the future looks quite promising for Lama, she now plans to settle in Mumbai – a city that has accepted her and given her hope for a better future, not only for herself but for many others of her community.