The Struggle of Pakistani Models

Pakistan is an Islamic state and has religious values. Women modeling and showing off their bare body in public is forbidden in Islam. So, it was intricate for Pakistani fashion industry to flourish while having issues like religious background and thoughts at hand.

People feel modeling isn’t a respectable profession -  Frieha Altaf

Former Pakistani model Frieha Altaf says, Modeling has never been considered as a respectable profession by people, Pakistani’s in particular.

First Fashion Show in Pakistan

First fashion show was held in the year 2009 at Marriot Hotel, Karachi. It was set by Maheen Khan, CEO of Fashion Pakistan Week (FPW).

Zia’s Regime: Fashion Shows Condemned for Provoking Religious Paradise

Zia-ul-haq was the sixth president of Pakistan. Zia was a pious man. He made every effort that he could, to bring conventional society towards religion. Islamization became a part of Pakistan under Zai-ul-haq’s regime. Events like fashion shows and everything else otherwise were condemned as they provoked religious paradise. His ultimate mission was to put a stop to immorality, vulgarity and obscenity.

Pakistani Models of Zia’s Time

Few Pakistani models of Zia’s time include Frieha Altaf, Simi Shoro, Nina Dubash and Anisa Rashid Khan. These models and other liberals of his era cribbed on being enforced but somehow managed to keep up with the policies that were implemented by the government.
According to an article published in Express tribune, former model Frieha Altaf says:

“You did fashion shows covered up or camouflaged as cultural events. The public and media would be told we were only walking the ramp for charity.”

1970’s Pakistani Super Model: Rakhshanda Khattakpakistani_model, super_models_pakistan, top_models_pakistan

Late Rakhshanda Khattak was Pakistan’s first super model (1950-2011) who was born in Burma. She belonged to a Pashtun family. However, her mother wasn’t a Pathan but Burmese. That explains her extraordinary beauty. This exotic looking lady had to go through a rough path in her life to become a super model.

Highest Paid Model in 1970’s

Rakhshanda Khattak was once accompanied by her husband at a photo shoot. Her husband after witnessing his wife working unbelievably hard for a single pose couldn’t resist and demanded the director to pay his wife ten times more of what she was getting paid earlier. Since the director could not lose her for the advertisement, he agreed to pay. She later became the highest paid model in Pakistan in 1970’s.

Frieha Altaf (1980’s)pakistani_models, Pakistani_fashion, top_models_pakistan

Saira Irshad from Herald magazine introduced Frieha Altaf to the world of fashion. Saira spotted Frieha in 1986 at a hotel where Frieha was attending an art exhibition. Asif Raza’s Fashion collection was Frieha’s first project. She says in an interview that there was no turning back from that point. Frieha Altaf got to know few famous personalities of Fashion industry of Pakistan and after few more projects she flew to Honk Kong to pin-up in a video for “Heer” which was as instrumental song by a Pakistani band which was known as “Junoon”. She later did a project for Gul Ahmed.

“There has always been a feeling that modeling is not for ‘respectable’ girls. I was the first model for Sunsilk in Pakistan, but my face was not shown clearly on the billboards. People used to have a sick mentality. Girls were asked to avoid the field to protect their reputation and ‘because you have to get married’.”

Frieha Later Became the Victim of the Similar Sick Mentality: Forbidden to Model

“I got engaged in 1988 and was forbidden to model, so I had to give it up. Giving up on my dream wasn’t easy but I did it for the sake of my family. My marriage only lasted ten months, and I re-entered the field not long after. I had no choice – I had to earn a living!”

Frieha Altaf has put in a lot of effort and introduced new models to the Pakistani fashion industry.

“I launched Iffat Omar and Kiran (Tahira Syed’s daughter) in Lahore and Seemi Pasha and Sadaf Malaterre in Karachi, as well as Vinny and ZQ. HSY tried his hand at modeling but I told him, please do something else, and then later he decided to become a designer.”

Establishment: New Pakistani Models

Things changed immensely after the year 2000. There were more models willing to take a step and build a career as a super model with their families supporting them. Fashion industry of Pakistan flourished in every possible field. There were new agencies introduced. There were universities who offered majors in designing. The establishment was rapid and the outcome was that younger, good looking models were required.

Top 12 Models of Pakistan

Pakistan’s fashion industry is overflowing with stunning faces. Both men and women on ramp dazzle with extremely attractive personalities that increases the magnificence and elegance of the approach. Pakistan’s fashion industry up to date is finest compensated industries in world. Following are top 12 Pakistani models: