When Anjali Lama walks the ramp at the Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort in 2017, she will also be blazing the trail for transgender people across the world. She will become the first transgender woman to have been selected to walk the runway at the Lakmé Fashion Week.
The path to making history has not been an easy one for Anjali. Born in a small village in Nepal, the 32-year-old model was shunned by her family (except for her mother) when she came out as a transgender. Due to the help provided by Blue Diamond Society, an LGBT rights organisation, she was not only able to understand her identity as a transgender woman but she also received the support system she needed. The idea of become a model was born when she received positive reactions after being featured in Voice of Women, a national magazine in Nepal and underwent training to become a model.
But despite the training, she didn’t book any shows for a long time simply because of her a status as a transgender person. Anjali persevered and even worked in shows for free to get a leg up in the industry.
Her success at a local level gave her the boost to try out for more international stages and she auditioned for the Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2016. But she was rejected that first time.
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Speaking to Elle magazine, she said that she nearly gave up at that point. But her determination and perseverance saw her through. “I remember feeling quite helpless and even considered giving up on fashion. But I decided to try again and this time, I did my research. I watched videos of models walking the ramp, changed my make-up and wardrobe. I practiced posing in front of the mirror so I would be able to present myself to the judges well. And it worked.”
Speaking to HuffPost India, she said she hopes to use fashion as a “vehicle for change” to break stereotypes and set a new precedent for acceptance. Her family has also finally reached out to her.