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The dream catcher
Anjali Jhangiani | Tuesday, 10 January 2017 AT 08:41 PM IST
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Anjali Lama, the first transgender model to be selected to walk the ramp for Lakme Fashion Week Summer/ Spring 2017 in February, talks about how she persevered to chase her dreams and make them come true.

She’s beautiful. One look at her, or even her pictures, and you will be awed by her drop-dead gorgeousness. But it’s not just her looks that make her beautiful, it’s about the person she has become today because of the way she chose to live her life. Here’s the story of Anjali Lama, the first transgender model to be selected to walk the ramp at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/ Spring 2017 to be held in Mumbai next month.

With mom’s support

She was born a boy — Navin Wabia, and lived in Nuwakot, a small village in Nepal. Growing up with an internal conflict of following her heart or adhering to societal norms,  she knew she did not want to become a farmer like her father and brothers. But it was not until she met a group of transgenders in Kathmandu, where she was sent for higher studies, that she chose to come out of the closet.

“My family cut off all ties with me, except for my mother. She told me that she always knew and she wanted me to live the way I wanted, but just that I should become a good human being and not harm anyone. Let alone my family, no one in the village knew what fashion or modelling was until they heard the news that I’m going to be walking the ramp for LFW this year. Now, my brothers are getting in touch with me,” says Lama, who believes that she has made her mother proud, who passed away in 2010.

Becoming a model

In the same year, Lama went under the knife for a breast construction surgery. “I went through a tough situation, financially as well as emotionally. But I was happy that I’m on the way to get what I have always wanted,” she says.

Reminiscing about her first modelling assignment, where she was featured along with another transgender friend to raise awareness about the LGBT community in the country in a local magazine in Nepal, Lama talks about how she couldn’t get work so she joined a modelling training agency. “But even after getting trained, people would reject me when they found I was a transgender. Weeks, months went by and then my friends urged me to get out of the city and pursue my ambition internationally,” says Lama.  

Perseverance is the key
Lama faced rejection after rejection, but she wasn’t going to turn down her ambition for those who didn’t have the courage to open their minds. They were adamant not to give her a chance, and she was stubborn enough to take them. “When I auditioned for LFW in February 2016, I was nervous. I saw so many beautiful models around, international ones too, who were so perfect in everything that they shook my confidence. That’s probably why I didn’t do well. I had reached the top 20, but wasn’t selected,” she graciously accepts. But that taught her a lesson and made her improve. “I watched tutorials on the internet about how to do my make-up, dress and how to walk. I did research on how to pose in front of the judges in a way that suits my body structure and make a favourable impression. I told myself that I am as good as the other models who came to audition and I had to make it work this time. I worked hard and got selected,” says Lama.

Being a part of the fashion industry
Bagging the opportunity to walk the ramp this year is a milestone in her career. But Lama says she has a long way to go. “In every industry, you will find people who are open to new ideas and those who are conservative and hate change. But this doesn’t mean you sit at home and do nothing. If somebody doesn’t give you a chance, you’ve got to keep at it till they see how good you are and they have to give you what you deserve,” she says.

Her style motto
Apart from wearing her never-say-never attitude, she always wears a light foundation, compact powder and sunblock when she heads out. “I also cannot live without mascara. I believe that you should look the way you are, not put on too much make-up or wear expensive designer or branded clothes that make you uncomfortable just because you want to impress others,” she says.

The author can be followed on Twitter @purplesaga

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