This boy’s life So what is the pull that the world of arc-lights holds for thiscorporate model type? meer’s experience in fashion has given him oodles of confidence that has allowed him to hone his nascent leadership skills
One goes in to interview a new suspect on the ascendant from the world of glitz and glamour with very necessary doubts and deliberations. And so it was that on a muggy May night in Karachi I made my way to a chic cafe on Zamzama with similar doubts — as to whether the subject in question will show himself as a flesh-and-blood entity or appear as a plastic replica of his ego; whether he would say what he thinks, or mouth words he thinks the majority of people out there would like to hear. Another celebrity, another interview, more posturing and posing — mere verbal eye-candy to compliment an airbrushed image?
After several minutes of waiting outside the cafe, I finally slid a moist palm into Ameer Zaib Khan’s outstretched hand on his arrival. At first brush, he appeared very boy-next-door. Dressed casually in an almost-fitted tee, ill-fitting pair of jeans and circles under his eyes, there was nothing remarkable about the supposed next boy-wonder of the local fashion industry.
However, in the cool interior of the cafe, this writer began to see why Ameer could be the next male Cindy Crawford of the Pakistan fashion scene. His high cheek-bones, chiselled jawline, high forehead framed loosely by wind-blown hair and a slightly hooked nose could present any visionary make-up artist/photographer with the cliched blank canvas on which to wield his brush strokes. His face has a softness to it, a certain elusive smokiness that invites experimentation and encourages transformation.
“I started my fashion career with Nabila’s hair show in 2001, followed by a ramp appearance for LSA 2002 where I got noticed by Khawar Riaz, and then with a nomination for best male model in 2003,” he said when asked about his foray. Then came a hiatus as his priorities urged him to take time out to complete his MBA from the University of Karachi in 2004.
Khawar Riaz then wielded his influence and Ameer re-entered the glamour world with a muffled bang about a year ago. However, with a sensible head on his shoulders, Ameer says, “Modelling is not my sole reason for being. My career in marketing is more important.” He has, in fact, recently turned down a lucrative offer in order not to short-change his nine-to-five job.
I had first seen Ameer in the pages of a local glossy, where he peered out of a Khawar Riaz shoot in Adonis-like perfection, wearing a pair of loose-fitting jeans, smoky eye make-up, a large flower behind one ear, and bee-stung lips. He was the picture of a softer, sensual Greek god, whose very divinity was suddenly questionable.
So what is the pull that the world of arc-lights holds for this corporate model type? His experience in fashion has given this 24-year old oodles of confidence that has allowed him to hone his nascent leadership skills.
And his take on the local fashion industry? Ameer states point blank that there are better male models in Pakistan than female models. He corroborates his statement by citing the work of predecessors such as Farooq Mannan and Nomi Qamar who have managed to raise both the standards and pay scales for the male model fraternity. Also, he doesn’t particularly follow current trends in the international fashion arena.
“I feel that with the trend on cross-cultural fusion, local fashion is more and more reflective of international trends.” He goes on to elaborate at length on the qualities of designer suits, but says, “It all boils down to the confidence with which you carry yourself, whether it is an Armani suit or high-street casual clothing.”
Sports is another area that Ameer is fanatical about. As an amateur karate buff, he had to let it go after a wrist injury. And as an avid footballer, he diligently follows European league matches, literally dreaming of being a football star. It is not for nothing then that he idolizes David Beckham, the quintessential European metrosexual.
The model in Ameer says that he would like to be remembered for quality work. “Within the corporate realm, I am working towards a leadership position where I can inspire others to do their best. I want to get exposure to international marketing trends.” His ultimate goal is to have a vision for how things can be improved in Pakistan.
Born and bred in Karachi, Ameer’s family hails originally from the NWFP province. His vision extends towards the dis-enfranchised folks of these regions as he bemoans the lack of educational and health-care facilities there. His plans: “To eventually make a sustainable difference in the lives of people who live in my native region.” His compassion encompasses all dis-enfranchised people of the world, starting from the street children of Karachi to the suffering people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
So who is the real Ameer Zaib Khan? In his own words: “I am a humble, down-to-earth person, with a compassionate and visionary soul, who very easily affords respect to those who respect me.
He is willing to subscribe to the vision of the photographer/choreographer and do whatever it takes “within acceptable limits, of course.”