“DREAMS SHOULD NEVER BE TAKEN LIGHTLY OR IGNORED”
There was a time when models with soft and delicate features were all the rage but then came an unconventional model called Sadaf Kanwal; her chiseled jaw, edgy features and super bold eyebrows took the camera lenses by surprise and blew everyone away! She has successfully changed the fashion industry’s definition of what a supermodel is all about. With her hypnotising smile, captivating eyes and humble persona, Sadaf has become one of Pakistan’s favourite models. It is safe to say that the distinctive beauty has made a mark for herself in a competitive industry where newcomers are not always welcome.
In just a short span of time, this tenacious model has proven that she not only possesses all the qualities a model should have but has also shown every person who doubted her ability that talent speaks for itself. She not only stands out as one of the few models who have the X-factor but also has a ferocity and attitude about her which compliments her irresistible appeal. Despite her success, she holds her seniors and mentors in high regard, and respects her colleagues and contemporaries, making her a well-grounded girl.
Did you always want to become a model? At what point did you feel like this was the career choice for you?
Sadaf Kanwal: Fashion always intrigued me but I would be lying if I said that I always wanted to be a model. In reality, it just happened before I could really get a grip of it. I actually chose this field as my future career when I was participating in the Veet Miss Super Model contest. It just felt so right!
You were a runner-up on the show; did you anticipate the success that was to follow in the coming days?
SK: Becoming a runner-up gave me the morale boost I needed to pursue this as my profession. For the first time, it wasn’t only me who thought I had it in me. And the rest is now history!
Tell us about your first ever fashion show; how anxious were you?
SK: It was scary to say the least. I had no clue how to walk the ramp, what expressions to bring out and most importantly, being able to grasp the right attitude. I was fortunate enough to have Frieha Altaf there as the choreographer of the show and she passed on some of the most important lessons to me. And I still value them.
How supportive was your family about your career choice?
SK: It was an uphill battle for me if I’m being completely honest. Initially, no one supported me; it was expected though coming from a typical Pathan background. But soon things changed, and my family has had my back since.
Did you have a role model growing up?
SK: I didn’t exactly have a role model but I have always admired Mehreen Syed and looked up to her as a senior [model], elder sister and she is probably the finest of the lot. I have learned a lot from her.
The trend of models stepping into acting is increasing. Do you also plan to jump on the bandwagon?
SK:However, I don’t like to be hasty and take these kind of decisions instantly. I am cautious about my choices and the opportunities I ultimately choose to avail. And this is coming from someone who actually wanted to be a doctor! [Laughs]
“Plans are a funny thing; I don’t plan anything. I let things plan out for me with time. But yes, I do have a desire to step into acting and I have been offered many scripts.”
In the last decade, the fashion industry has evolved beyond anyone’s expectations. What are your views?
SK: One word – phenomenal! The gap between the general audience and the fashion fraternity has drastically decreased making us [models] more visible, exposed and well acknowledged compared to before. It is worth mentioning that people have become more fashion-oriented and trendy in their daily lives as well – working women, housewives, students, brides, etc – which is great.
In just a short span of time, you have taken the industry by storm; what advice would you give to other aspiring models?
SK: Dreams should never be taken lightly or ignored – you never know when they become a reality! But when they do materialise and you are where you have always wanted to be, then your attitude towards fellow colleagues and seniors should always be positive and nothing but respectful.
It is often said that fashion designers have their favourites (models) and they only work with them; how true is that?
SK: Yes, lobbying plays a major part in our industry when it comes to territories.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would it be and why?
SK: The one thing I would want to change about our industry is the negative energy and friction created between models at fashion week; who will open the show and who will be the showstopper.
Modeling is a competitive field; what sets you apart from the pack?
SK: Yes, there is competition in every field. Although I find it healthy most of the time, it can take an ugly twist when things get personal which is very unnecessary and does good to no one.
“I feel it’s my mindset and attitude towards the job which makes me different from others. I only compete with myself and strive to do better every time.”
Have you ever been asked to cross a line to get somewhere in your professional life? If yes, how did you deal with it?SK: Actually, there was this one time when this guy suggested something of the sort and it resulted in my handprint on his face!
What do you consider your biggest achievement in life?
SK: It has to be my recent win at the Lux Style Awards where I was handed the title of Best Emerging Talent.
Describe your ideal man. Have you found him yet?
SK: I have a list of things in fact. He needs to be sweet, caring and definitely good looking! But most importantly, he needs to be supportive of my dreams, my vision and career. And no, no one has been able to tick all the boxes on my list yet. I guess Cupid hasn’t been so supportive either! [Laughs]
Do you believe in love? Would you like to settle down in the near future?
SK: Indeed! I think love is a wonderful feeling and I would want to experience it with the right man. And about marriage, as I said, plans have a funny way with me – I’ll see when the time is right.
What has been your biggest regret in life – something you wish you could travel back in time and change?
SK: God has been very kind to me and I am delighted to say that I don’t have any regrets in life. He has given me my dreams, and I am forever humbled.
There is always a lot of pressure on models to remain a certain size. What do you do to stay fit?
SK: I have a healthy life routine. Although I’m a foodie, I follow a strict workout routine to cut all those carbs. Of course, there is pressure regarding fitness and I believe it is a good thing. Everyone should work hard to look his or her best. But at the same time, I do know the difference between staying fit and being malnutritioned.
As a model, do you feel boundaries and limits are important?
SK: I have come a long way in my career as a model. When I started off, I was made to believe that models should not have any limits. But now I understand that limits are extremely important. I run away from shoots that promote vulgarity and I try to follow the same routine on ramps. I am a girl before a super model after all!
Tell us about your craziest fan encounter?
SK: I ran into this super hyper fan this one time at the mall when I was picking out a pair of boots. She started telling me how her day starts off by stalking my Instagram account. I have never seen a fan go ballistic like that on me – it was frightening and wonderful at the same time!
Sadaf tells it like it is…
Would you ever date someone overweight?
SK:No, thank you!
Favourite international designer?
If you woke up tomorrow in someone else’s body, who would you want it to be and what is the first thing you would do?
SK:Kareena Kapoor! And then I would ask Shahid Kapoor to have coffee with me…
Favourite local designer?
SK:Republic by Omar Farooq.
Three make-up products you swear by?
SK:YSL lip-tint, Chanel lipstick and Marc & Jacob’s concealer.
Which Pakistani model do you think has a lot of potential?
Which international model would you compare yourself to?
What scares you?
SK:I have always had a fear of heights. So whenever my friends talk about skydiving on our next foreign trip, I feel like hiding under a pillow!
One male model you think you’d have great onscreen chemistry with?
Define the perfect model in three words.
SK:Style, attitude and good PR skills.
Describe yourself in three words.
SK:Funny, blunt and classy.
One person you can trust with your life?
Your greatest strength?
The first thing you notice in the opposite sex?
SK:The way he speaks.
The weirdest compliment you’ve ever received?
SK:That I look like Mila Kunis!
The longest you’ve ever gone without sleep?
SK:Not a fond memory but I have stayed up for 72 hours.
Your most embarrassing experience on the ramp?
SK:I was about to fall face down when my feet got stuck in this heavily embellished bridal dress.
What’s on your mind right before you go on the ramp?
SK:Hoping my legs don’t tremble, having complete control over the dress and making sure I don’t lose my expressions.
INTERVIEW: FIZZA FURQAN
COORDINATION AND STYLING: FIZZA FURQAN
PHOTOGRAPHS: SHAHBAZ SHAZI
HAIR & MAKE-UP: OMAYR WAQAR