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Spotlight: Rubab

ln the glitzy world of glamour girls with poise, spunk and beauty have been known to make it big literally overnight. But Rubab is one style diva that has been a vital part of the fashion world for a decade, steadily holding her own without making any earth-shattering impression on the industry.

It’s not as if she doesn’t realize this. A sensitive soul, Rubab is still smarting from the fact that she has been sidelined, particularly at the Lux Style Awards 2005, where let alone being nominated for an award, she was not even considered important enough to be made a presenter. “I was in all of two segments, and that, too, right at the back, so it was as good as not being there at all.”

But she takes the rebuff in her characteristic stride, not willing to point fingers at anyone, although she does suspect she has been the victim of politics. So one has to respect her decision at this point in time not to participate in LSA this year.

Says she, “I am not jealous of anyone, and feel my time will come. I know I am in demand, and justice will be done some day.” So does she think she has upset the style mafia and is, as a result, being denied her fair share of the limelight? Rubab doesn’t seem to think so. She claims she is on “extremely friendly terms with all the models, choreographers and designers”, but does concede that she is a “home-bird” and doesn’t “like partying.” She believes in doing her work and heading straight home afterwards, rather than pursue professional contacts. What’s more, she likes to maintain the image of a pretty, sweet thing and has never attempted to appear coquettish or brash and bold.

Considering that both these traits go against a model trying to make it to the top, it is not surprising that Rubab has not ‘arrived’ as yet. “I’ve never been a party animal, even before I got married, and I strongly believe that I am respected for it. I’m very domestic and like to look after my home and my son during my free time. As for my image, that is who I am, and I like to be thought of as just a ‘pretty’ girl,” she says in self-defence.

So what induced her to break away from that image and make people sit up and take notice of her recently in a Lahore show by doing a scintillating dance number as a tribute to the late Bollywood actress, Parveen Babi. Says Rubab, “I had never planned on doing something like it but maybe because it was Parveen Babi, I decided to do it. However, although it was well received by the media, and everyone appreciated my performance, probably because they didn’t expect it of me, I personally regretted taking it up, and my husband and close friends weren’t too happy either. It was just alien to my nature, it didn’t suit my personality. It was the first and the last time.”

Rubab is still smarting from the fact that she has been sidelined, particularly at the Lux Style Awards 2005, where let alone being nominated for an award, she was not even made a presenter. ‘I was in all of two segments, and that, too, right at the back, so it was as good as not being there at all’

Rubab says that her mother and her close friends were a pillar of strength and support for her when she started modelling, and after she got married it is now her husband. “Today, whatever I am and the good reputation I enjoy is solely because of him. It is easy to model prior to marriage, but to be able to continue after that is not so. My husband trusts me and has been very supportive, otherwise it would not have been possible to pursue my career this far. I too, try not to hurt him in any way.”

In fact, Rubab has been lucky that not just her husband, but her mother-in-law, as well as her colleagues have all been very supportive. In fact, she says her mother-in-law is even more so than her spouse. “We lived together for a few years so she understood me perfectly and knew where I was coming from and what kind of a nature I have.”

She also recalls the days she used to take her son to work and even on her travels — in fact she took him till he turned one — when all her colleagues would turn into uncles and aunts looking after the baby. Although she speaks highly of all the models, she admits that she is the closest to Iraj, perhaps because they always share a room when travelling.

Taking the cue, I ask Rubab whether it is time the senior models retired and made way for the younger lot. “I feel that if there is a demand for senior models, they should continue. It’s not their fault that they are still around for the public obviously wants to see more of them. That is why they are still being sought after.”

As for the younger lot, Rubab feels that they are very lucky that the media industry is growing at such a tremendous pace, allowing them the opportunity to grow equally fast. “There is so much work now that these young girls are coming to the forefront really quickly. It took us very long as there was hardly any work then and a whole lot of restrictions.” She continues, “But, I must say that they show the senior models a lot of respect and take our advice.” However, she does admit that some of the youngsters have acquired airs really early in life, and says she makes no bones of speaking her mind to them. “I tell them that they have no reason to complain for they hardly appear for one rehearsal and get the opportunity to walk the ramp with their seniors, and get paid substantially as well. On the other hand, we had to go for as many as 15 rehearsals before our show, would hardly get paid Rs1,500 and couldn’t dream of being on the catwalk with the creme of the modelling industry. It’s immaturity on their part when they think that just by doing one or two shows or covers they have become big names.”

Among the relatively new lot of models, Rubab feels Tooba holds the promise. “In such a short time, she has already made a name for herself and has done catwalk modelling, plays and even signed a filmed. She is clever and educated and has what it takes to become a success.”

With so many shows behind her, Rubab recalls a Rizwan Beyg show she had done at KPI as a particularly enjoyable. “I love doing Rizwan’s shows as just wearing his clothes is a lot of fun. Also, I like doing simple, straight-walk shows. And Shamael, Frieha (Altaf), Rezz Ali Shah, Imran Kureishi and HSY’s shows have been great, too. The latter’s show in Muscat is positively unforgettable — especially the opening in which all the models appeared in black abayas and scarves and yet each of us stood out for our individuality. Frieha’s cultural show in Japan was also a great experience. We modelled Amin Gulgee’s jewellery and Sonya Batla’s clothes. The first show I did with Imran was also brilliant — From Kolachi to Karachi — complete with camels. The styling, clothes, fitting, music, everything is looked into when you do a show with these professionals.”

With many models now venturing into other related fields such as acting and compering, Rubab says she, too, is entertaining the idea of acting in TV plays. “I was offered film roles before I got married, but I am not filmi material. However, I would like to act in plays, but have been avoiding it so far because I find it difficult to give it time with my home, child and family. But if I get a good offer for a lead role, I’m definitely willing to take it up,” she says.

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