Fauzia is one of the frontrunners for the best female model award at this year’s Lux Style Awards. She has done numerous shows for Freiha Altaf, Imran Kureshi, Rezz Aly Shah, and of the countless magazine shoots that she’s done, she is particularly proud of her work with style guru Rizwan Beyg who, for his part, counts her among his favourite models.
Even though it’s been a while now, Fauzia is still in a trance after her visit to Egypt. She had gone to the exotic and mystical land of the Nile and Nefertiti as part of a show taken there by fashion designer Shaiyanne Malik.
“It was a wonderful trip,” she enthuses. “The event was spectacular wherein 19 countries participated. In addition to the opportunity to experience and see the culture of different countries during the 11-day stay there, we also did a lot of shopping. But the biggest high was the cruise we took on the Nile and a visit to the historic city of Alexandria.”
That is the perk and privilege of being one of the most sought-after fashion models — that in addition to the fame and (yes) fortune. You also get to travel abroad on lucrative assignments…absolutely free. Fauzia has been to India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangkok, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Singapore, London and of course Egypt. She is perhaps the only model who, during the last few years, has made a dent in the modelling arena in a really big way. She has managed to shatter the stronghold of many of the seasoned (and to put it mildly) passé lot who, according to critics, are way past their prime but are still clinging on.
And so this dazzling diva, with her fresh brio and appeal, is now enjoying the fruits of all the hard work she has put in after she sashayed her way onto the modeling turf five years ago. In addition to commanding the attention and adulation of her fans and winning favour with the industry bigwigs, it is only understandable that Fauzia has also made enemies among her peers…more so because she is very forthright and outspoken in her views, not mincing words when it comes to speaking her mind.
When asked about the recipe for her success, she animatedly recites a couplet: “Dil mein pyar hai, aankhon mein nasha hai, baton mein maza hai, chaal mein ada hai, andaz hi juda hai, dosti mein wafa hai, arre isse liye toh har koi hum pe fida hai.”
Fauzia is cocksure of her worth and says it out loud and clear, with no trace of apology or fake modesty, “I think professional jealousy is good as it compels you to work harder. It is personal jealousy that is wrong.” However, she points out that senior models like Vinnie and Iraj are very encouraging towards new girls. It is the new models who are more prone to jealousy and leg-pulling.
Fauzia was already married when she entered the world of modelling and had both her sons, Mekaal and Ayan, after entering the profession. As a photographer, I have fond memories of her coming to shoots when Mekal was just a few months old with a nanny taking care of him as she posed for the camera, and also of the last few shoots that she did while she was expecting her second baby — only to bounce back with renewed vigour and a slimmer, trim figure.
She has managed to maintain a healthy balance between personal responsibilities and professional obligations. In fact, she considers marriage to be, in a way, a blessing for her “as being a married woman, I never got caught up in the false aura and pretense of fame and beauty.” After a pause, she further reasons, “Otherwise, due to this complex, I would never have been able to settle down into marriage and motherhood.” She cites the support and encouragement of her husband as one of the key factors behind her success.
Asked to reflect on her success factor, Fauzia takes an introspective pause and then reflects, “There really is no clear-cut formula or something, other than the fact that I work really hard at what I do. Modelling is not just about glamour, flash lights and pretty pictures. To a certain extent it also involves networking and getting your name out there through your work — projects that you know will benefit you in the long run.”
Her first ad was for a soft drink-manufacturing company for which she was recommended by fashion designer Umar Sayeed. “He personally recommended me to Asim Reza,” she reveals. She then met Imran Kureshi who, seeing the potential in her, took her under his wings. “He took out extra time to teach me how to walk,” she recalls gratefully. No wonder then that in a TV interview not too long ago, Imran, when quizzed about Fauzia, prophecised that she has all the trappings of becoming a top-notch fashion model.
Fauzia has garnered many ‘mega status’ points in her career — she is one of the frontrunners for the best female model award at this year’s Lux Style Awards. She has done numerous shows for Freiha Altaf, Imran Kureshi, Rezz Aly Shah, and of the countless magazine shoots that she’s done, she is particularly proud of her work with style guru Rizwan Beyg who, for his part, counts her among his favourite models.
Asked to comment on the so-called English-medium/Urdu-medium controversy and what she thinks of fashion models being looked down at or sidelined by certain class-conscious people just because they don’t converse fluently in English, don’t party, smoke, do drugs or booze, she says, “When you’re on the ramp, doing a shoot or a commercial, people don’t see you for your smoking and drinking or your fluency in English, they see you for your looks, expression, body language and poise.” These qualities, she says, are essential in order to become a successful fashion model.
Asked to reflect on her success factor, she takes an introspective pause and then reflects, “There really is no clear-cut formula or something, other than the fact that I work really hard at what I do. Modelling is not just about glamour, flash lights and pretty pictures. To a certain extent it also involves networking and getting your name out there through your work — projects that you know will benefit you in the long run.
“It is also stressful with the long hours that you put in. And there are times when people try to take advantage of you thinking that you don’t know any better. You have to be smart and savvy to see through all of it, and also be business-oriented.” She admits that while dealing with people, it is at times hard to tell who has your best interests at heart. “Some colleagues can be extremely competitive and bitchy. But I have learned to handle it now — it comes with the territory.”
Fauzia says there’s room and space for everyone. “I think all the girls who are working in the industry have their ‘thing’ about them which has them doing well in the industry.” She also points that out that during the last few years, the fashion industry in Pakistan has grown phenomenally.
“One sees new designers, fashion publications, boutiques, etc, coming up all the time.I think while fashion must be one of the fastest growing industries in the country, andbecause of this there is so much work and so many options for all of us, so everyone has a cut in the pie which is getting bigger and bigger every day.”
There are many beautiful girls out there but to be able to become a model they must possess that ‘extra something’ that makes them stand out in a crowd, Fauzia opines.
“And this is what a model is all about. In my case, I put a lot of myself in my work. What sets me apart from the other girls is that I have my own presence — a style that is simple, classy and yet sexy.”