Nepali model Anjali Lama, who recently became the first transgender model wo walk the runway at India’s fashion week, has described the experience as a “dream come true”.
The 32-year-old has starred in India’s premier fashion show, the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai, which runs from Wednesday through to Sunday.
“Ever since I started modelling it’s been my dream to appear in a fashion week. My dream has come true and I feel so happy and grateful,” she told AFP.
It has not been an easy journey to get to this point in her career, as she has faced numerous rejections on the bases of discrimination.
“The name I carved out as the first transgender model in India wasn’t an easy process. I had to work hard, mentally handle stress and pressure. I struggled a lot,” she said.
Before reaching this point, the model was signed to an agency in Kathmandu, but was still living as a trans woman in secret. However, somebody found out and told her family who cut off communication with Lama.
“My mother, to some extent, was more accepting but there really wasn’t much awareness then,” Lama said.
“There is more awareness and acceptance now in Nepal, and that has helped more people like me to come out,” she added.
The fashion week that Lama is starring in aims to promote inclusivity and pass the constrained boundaries of gender, size and beauty in fashion.
Lama wants to support that message, and hopes her public presence will inspire other trans people to come out.
“Some transgenders may feel scared to come out. If they come out after being inspired by me … (and) think ‘I can be like her’ and then believe in themselves, then I’ll feel very proud of myself,” she said.