“There are many aspiring models out there; they are a dime a dozen. In fact many think they can become supermodels if they start by doing free shoots. It never works that way. I have seen many girls try to get in to this field and fail because it is not easy. There are many hurdles and I’m the sort of person who could cope with that and learn from my experiences. I know I can make it!” This one statement can sum up the confidence and exuberance that Noore exudes in every one of her stunning pictures. She stares from the glossy papers at her growing fan base as the fashion industry lines up to get her image affiliated with their label. For a relatively new entrant in the fashion field she has worked with many big names: Rizwan Beyg, Umar Sayeed, Nilofer Shahid, Deepak Perwani, Tazeen Hasan, Karma, Maria B., Amir Adnan, Chen one, Crossroads etc.
After her debut on a magazine cover Noore disappeared from the modeling scene for a while only to return with great fanfare as Khawar Riaz’s latest treat to all of us.
Noore is right to assert that becoming a successful model is not an easy feat to accomplish. In fact she has had to face many hurdles to get to the level she is at now. Noore had to put up with a strong resistance from her parents, especially her mother, against her decision to enter the modeling field. “There was literally a whole drama going on in my home, as I had to convince my mother to let me give modeling a shot!” Noore confided while shaking her head, “Even Khawar Riaz helped to assuage my mother’s concerns and issues.” Eventually her parents accepted Noore’s choice; after all her elder sister, Sadaf Parvez, had been modeling before Noore started.
She still has to face the usual disapproval from relatives and the preconceived notions of people about models. “Even though modeling has become relatively more acceptable as a job for females, but people still hold many prejudices and biases. It’s not like I don’t know what people say about models. I’ve studied with guys and I know how they talk about models, but I knew that before I got in to the field. It is just something I have to deal with as a result of choosing this profession.” She explained. She admits that the previous generation of models played a role in making this field more respectable but she adds, “On the other hand, the previous generation of models has also maligned the image of this profession because of their conduct.” This brought us to the proverbial ‘casting couch,’ which Noore emphatically declared as an undeniable reality of the fashion field, “Oh yes it definitely exists and it totally depends on the individual model how he/she reacts to the situation.”
I inquired whether she had ever faced any harassment in her job and she gratefully acknowledged that the people she had worked with had always showed respect and never given her any trouble. But what if she faces a situation where, say, a photographer starts hitting on her during a shoot? “Oh my god! I would immediately stop and run away! [Laughs] I’ll straight away call my sisters and pour out everything to them. They are my greatest confidantes. But I will not pursue the matter and inform other people about such an incident. I’ll keep quiet.”
Yes, modeling is not for the faint-hearted; it requires a strong personality to make it in the field while keeping one’s self-respect intact, but it sure pays off! “I make about Rs.80, 000 on a good project. Modeling definitely has its perks. Most jobs start at what? Rs.20, 000 or something while in modeling you get good cash right from the beginning!” Noore enthused. Along with money comes the whole package: fame, contacts, clothes and parties! Noore admits she likes to go to parties, “It depends on my mood, but sometimes I love the change it provides. It lets me explore how crazy I am!” She giggled.
Pakistani fashion industry is marked by competing camps, which are renowned to shun any thought of cooperating and working with each other. In such a disunited field models are usually associated with one particular camp and unable to work with the competing camp. Noore faces the same problem and laments, “I was always open with working for other photographers, but this is something I have no control over.” I prodded her on the rumor that she couldn’t work for Ather Shahzad even though they wanted her to work with them, “It’s a fact that I can’t and wouldn’t want to work with them presently because things are arranged differently right now. But I think they are amazing at the work they do” But doesn’t working with the same photographer restrict her options, after all Zara Shiekh and Ahmed Butt moved out from the Khawar camp and diversified? “It does restrict my options, but I have a good relationship with Khawar and he understands how to portray me perfectly. I benefited a lot from his patronage when I started this job, and now it’s only right that he benefits from my name and success.” Noore concedes that working day after day with the same team does tend to get very emotional and small things begin to bother one, “I have to work harder to maintain a professional attitude as I’ve gotten so close to the whole Ocular team.”
Noore has a great chemistry with fellow male models, like Harib, Ameer and Abdullah, who are also a part of the Khawar Riaz ‘family’. Khawar Riaz’s modeling agency, Ocular, has produced many brilliant male models, in fact it is accused of focusing on male models more than female models. Even Khawar himself accepts that he is giving more attention to nurturing and introducing quality male models to the fashion scene. Does the fact that Ocular is more male-centered and her male co-workers get more attention make her feel sort of neglected? “Well yes it does sometimes. Umm…actually, not really.” She hesitated a bit, “I don’t think it’s like I don’t get my share of attention. I think our fashion industry needs to focus on men as well. After all women are also consumers and we need male models to appeal to the female consumer.”
It is apparent that Noore likes to make the point clear that not everyone can make it as a successful model. According to her it requires a very strong personality and an understanding of how to coordinate your whole image in a way that appeals to the lens of the camera. “I am totally focused on my career and pretty busy with my work nowadays.” It seems like all this work leaves little time for her personal life, “I hardly have time for friends. I’m very busy with my work, my parents and sisters and my house. I’m running around like crazy.” She revealed. Does that mean that she has no love life? “None. I don’t even think about it. After my boyfriend’s death I have thrown myself completely in to my work and family life.” It is indeed a tragedy that Noore’s boyfriend died in a tragic car accident and she herself suffered serious injuries in it. “The experience completely changed my whole outlook towards life,” She sighed, “life can change in a second; you never know.” To emerge stronger from the trauma of sudden death of a beloved one is a testament of enormous inner strength, and that alone makes Noore a model for everyone.
So did she ever think about finding someone new and getting married, “I would like to think about marriage, but I just don’t!” She chuckles, “I’ve changed so much after the accident that I don’t think a guy would even like me that much. I’m very particular now and focused on my work. I’m not a typical girl anyway.” But she added that one never knows how life will turn out and anything is possible. Hmm, sounds like there is a hint of desire for romance in that statement maybe she will indeed settle down with a new guy. But will she leave modeling if she gets married, like many models before her (think Amina Shafat!)? “It depends on whether my husband allows me to work as a model or not.” This means that it’s going to be her husband’s decision rather than her, right? “It will also factor in my own preference,” She clarified, “See I plan to use my name and pursue something related or even change paths and study human psychology from BNU. I want to apply to NCA in June to get a diploma in interior designing. So if I get in to interior designing or psychology I would not have much time for modeling anyway.”
It is essential for models to possess the right attitude; you can’t go very far in the modeling arena without it. Whether Noore has the right attitude for the field or not can be discerned from the way she handled her very first shoot, for a famous newspaper. “I wasn’t at all nervous during my first ever shoot. I think I might have actually been over-confident at that point. I thought I was the best!” and that is the appealing attitude she brings in her images. Judging from her current demand it must have been the right attitude. Noore snickered while she explained that a photo shoot is no easy affair as there is disorder and confusion as a lot of pressure, “Khawar starts getting critical and all bossy saying things like, ‘Don’t stand like a dumb blond there! Change your posture! What is that expression supposed to mean’! What the hell are you doing?’” In the beginning Khawar used to be more considerate and supportive with her, but now that they have gotten so close to each other he expects and gets more from her, “It’s the way it should be. I think it’s good in a way; it helps me in doing my best in shoots. In the beginning I was like, ‘What the hell?’ but now I understand the constructive purpose of it.”
Being a model Noore has interacted with many people from the Pakistani fashion field. She has no qualms in admitting that she doesn’t get along well with everyone, “When one is working in this field you understand how bitchy people can be. I don’t have a problem with working with anyone, but it’s easier to work with some people than others. Like, I get along well with Sara Gillani and Tooba.”
Noore has a clear idea of how she has to deal with people who back-bite and spread rumors, “If there is someone spreading malicious rumors about me, I would not ignore it. If it’s a friend then I would immediately call him/her to straighten things out. Otherwise I would not refrain from publicly replying to that person.”
Modeling is all about the outer physical beauty, and therefore maintaining one’s image is a very pressing concern for every model. How does Noore maintain her figure? She doesn’t workout too much as she has a back problem that prevents her from exercising. “My back problem has caused a lot of trouble for me. I get sick a lot of times because of it, and can’t workout either.” What about diet? She claims that her diet pattern is very upset, but she doesn’t worry about her weight too much. Why should she? She manages to have a stunning figure without a proper diet or workout sessions!
We switched to a discussion of how people in Pakistan think of fashion shows as a display of the models rather than the clothes. “Many people just come to ogle at the models, and don’t even think about the clothes!” Noore mused. Taking advantage of this statement I asked her if she would agree to walk the ramp on a lingerie show. “It depends on my state of mind, and most importantly how much they pay me!” She burst out laughing.
On a more serious note Noore reflected on her ultimate goal and desire; where she sees her self in 10-15 years. She wants to be able to reflect back on her life with pride and maintain her own self-esteem. Ultimately all she would like is to achieve a secure life for her self and her family. This throws light on the fascinating psyche and personality of a rising star in our fashion world. Noore had a sparkle in her eyes as she spoke about her ambition and career, which made me realize that she is one girl that will always be able to shine no matter what she does.