Home People Roshanay Afridi— Pakistani fashion’s latest obsession

Roshanay Afridi— Pakistani fashion’s latest obsession

by Saad Sarosh


Pakistani fashion’s latest obsession

The hottest face on the fashion scene, Roshanay tells us all about her experience working in Pakistan and the good, bad and the ugly of the fashion world.

Residing mainly in the USA before moving to Pakistan to pursue modeling, Roshanay was born in Amsterdam and spent most of her early childhood in a town nearby. Later, her family moved to California where she was brought up and pursued her studies.

“I felt I got to experience a lot of different cultures since I lived in California which is a melting pot of different cultures,” she said while telling us about her life in the Golden State.

Unknown to many, the award nominated model is not just a pretty face but a true definition of beauty with brains. Having studied Psychology and medicine, Roshanay has worked in dentistry while also having studied at Oxford in UK and then in Japan.

Medicine being one of the highest paying industries in the USA, we asked Roshanay what was it about modeling that made her switch from a lucrative position to the fiercely competitive world of fashion and modeling.

“It was always something I was truly and deeply passionate about,” she said adding that she was first scouted in New York City but her parents didn’t let her pursue modeling at that time as they wanted her to complete her education first.But as luck may have it, Roshanay was again scouted in LA when she turned 18 and was able to pursue modeling part time while also finishing her degree before diving into the industry full time.

Telling us more about her experience working in LA, she tells us that talent recruitment is a little different there and everyone needs to bring their portfolio and a pair of black heels with them at all times.“I have worked with brands like Forever 21, Nylon, hot topic, Toni and Guy, Zara, Paul Mitchell, Toofaced to name a few but the list goes on,” shares Pakistan’s current brandfavourite.

Having been working with some top brands in her hometown, we wondered what was it that made her move to Pakistan and continue modeling here.

Roshanay shares that she had no plans of working here and was just visiting when she was discovered by Tabesh Khoja AKA Khoji, who convinced her to try out for a Sana Safinaz shoot— her first ever modeling job in Pakistan.

“I guess I did pretty well because they hired me right then and there and I  immediately joined the shoot that was already happening with other models,” she said.

Having an international element in her way of modeling, Roshanay told us that people actually loved it about her. “My poses, camera angles, the way I model is a bit different and I think that really helped me.”

However, she shared that often she had to tone it town for lawn but the overall experience and appreciation has been overwhelming.

“I would only wear shalwarkameez for Eid when living abroad, so imagine going from that to having to wear it on a daily basis on shoots and making it look nice. It was very new and exciting for me,” she jibes about her ‘desi American problems’, literally.

Having had worked with leading brands and designers like Sana Safinaz, Elan, Sunsilk, Zaha, Manish Malhotra, Sapphire, Republic Womenswear, Ethnic, Esfir and Nabilas among others, Roshanaysaid she’s highly grateful to have had worked with all these brands here.

“I usually keep working for the same brands multiple times as I would like to hold some exclusivity and loyalty with the brands I’ve worked with in the past,” she maintained adding that she however remains open to working with other brands as well.

Talking about her fashion week experiences and doing ramp, Roshanay said she was a little nervous during her first show but has since been opening and closing several shows. She also divulged that walks here are different from international standards and there is a lot more smiling and the walk is also slower whereas internationally, models walk in a straight line and without any expressions.

Furthermore, talking about her experience working in Pakistan so far, Roshanay said it has been incredible with most people being kind and supportive. While timing; according to her is one of the major differences she found between working abroad and in Pakistan as the former are a lot more punctual about it.

She also added that the teams there are more careful about the models’ hair and skin and thinks it would be better for everyone if we adapted similar practices over here. Another difference would be shalwarkameez as she had never shot desi clothes before so understanding how to pose with them was a fun thing to learn.

Nevertheless, “There is some sort of a comfort I have here which is indescribable,” she said.

Regarding her decision to move to Pakistan,Roshanaysaid that her parents were a little concerned at first as a lot of people would tell stories of phones being snatched and not being able to walk outside. “But now that I am here, I can tell you that it’s not the case at all,” she claimed adding that, “Karachi, honestly is a fun city to live in.”

Talking about her Lux Style Awards nomination for best emerging talent in fashion, Roshanay said it was something she had not expected to happen so early on in her career but is grateful for being nominated and for the respect and love received from the industry and people.

Not only was she nominated that night but also stood out for her beautiful silk gown, which she revealed was something she had in mind and worked together with Mohsin and Khoji to achieve it. “I always prefer a classic look on the red carpet. I feel like these timeless looks are the ones I would like to be remembered by.”

However, we do know that a new face is always a threat in the modeling world and Roshanay revealed that she too faced a lot of opposition from models that would be kind to her face but behind her back it would be a different story and this is one of the saddest things in this industry.

“We’re supposed to support each other instead of getting threatened by each other,” she stressed.“I understand people can feel threatened by me, but please I don’t consider anyone my competition, because I do not think this way,” she maintains adding that the only person she competes with is herself and she strives to be an even better, kinder, stronger, and more patient version of herself each day.

She also firmly believes that whatever is meant for you will be yours but most people here think that you will take their jobs from them. “I’ve even had girls go out of their way to take me out of runway shows by using their connections which really didn’t work out for them.”

“I’m saying this because I want our modeling family to be so strong and supportive that we encourage and lift each other up instead of pulling each other down,” exclaimed Roshanay.

However, while mentioning such incidents, Roshanay also said she felt blessed for people who have not only been encouraging but also helped her out greatly in her career.

Meanwhile, talking about models and their growing obsession with plastic surgery, Roshanay said she has seen many models be put down for their physical attributes causing them to then resort to plastic surgery and facial fillers because not feeling confident enough or being told to do so.

“I have nothing against procedures but I absolutely despise people having been told to do plastic surgery in order to be good enough for the modeling world,” she said hoping for new talent to be encouraged for their looks rather then turning them into a photocopy of someone else. 

As models get more and more involvedin social causes, Roshanay too believes that the lack of drinking water in Pakistan is something she’d want to play a role in improving.

“This is such a basic need for every human however we still aren’t able to provide clean water for our people,” she expressed her concern further sharing that she had earlier worked with the UNICEF in one of their programmes for providing clean water to areas where it might not be accessible.

“I hope to continue doing this work in Pakistan and would love it if others joined me as well.”

Lastly, being highly interested in skin care and passionate about modeling, Roshanay finds herself being involved in either in the next five years while also hopes to launch a skincare brand all while being happy and content with wherever life takes her then.

“Don’t give up. Don’t give in. You are you and that’s your power,” she advised all aspiring models.

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