Anjali Lama, the first transgender model
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
The society has set some rigid norms leading us to believe that anything outside that boundary is a disorder or a malfunction. Due to that, so many people have struggled with feeling comfortable in their own skin. If one doesn’t accept themselves for who they are, they might need to take some time to find their authenticity, and that can be quite challenging in some situations.
Similar is the situation of Anjali Lama, a 32-year-old model from Nepal, who became the first transgender to walk at the Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai. She beat more than 120 others to win a competition to take part in the event. Comfortable in her skin, Lama came to Mumbai, after Nepal Fashion Week rejected her for three consecutive years.
Her journey wasn’t easy. She was born into a farming family in Nuwakot, Kathmandu. Named as Nabin Wabia, she was the fifth son of her seven siblings. As she kept maturing, her behaviour started changing. In an interview, she said “I started behaving like a girl. So everyone in the family and the village started teasing me. I felt mentally tortured. I used to wonder ‘Why am I like this?’”. After moving to the capital of Kathmandu, she came in contact with the Blue Diamond Society, an LGBT community group where she first realised her identity.
Her friend nudged her towards modelling because of her height. At 25, she gave it a shot. As she kept modelling, Ms Anjali Lama found herself being rejected by casting agents. She would receive comments like how everybody knew she was a transgender, so they didn’t want her as a model. It was disheartening for her, but she never lost hope.
She felt close to her dream but it continued to elude her. After years of struggling, it was her third shot when she finally made the cut. She walked on runways for Indian designers including Tarun Tahiliani and Anita Dongre.
Currently, she’s been living in Santacruz, Mumbai with a Nepali friend of hers. She says, “I think the acceptance hasn’t been full. It is just the beginning. But at least through me, some transgender people are feeling more empowered than before.” She even urges her friends from the transgender community group to come out in the open, as one shouldn’t hide their identity by leading a double life.
VamaIndia Salutes the courage and efforts of Anjali Lama !!
Written By: Eesha