Growing up in a small village in Nepal, Anjali Lama never thought she would ever be where she’s at. Born a boy to a farming family, 32 year-old Lama has trudged a long, hard road to get to where she is today — the first ever transgender model selected to walk the ramp at the Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW).
Understandably confused about her identity as a child, Lama thought that, like her father and brother, she would spend her life farming. It was in college that she discovered her identity as a transgender person. Blue Diamond Society, an LGBT rights organisation in Kathmandu, played a major role in helping Anjali deal with coming out. She transitioned in 2010.
Despite being gifted and confident, Lama faced a lot of rejection after she transitioned and started modelling. In an interview she said,
I did not get any work even after the training. When I asked my agency owner why I wasn’t getting selected, he said it was because of my transgender identity.
When I asked the same question to judges at fashion shows, they told me that though my performance was good, I wouldn’t have been accepted.
After having been rejected for LFW 2016, she put in a lot of hard work, studied international models, and tried again. She was selected for the Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2017 after an audition with 100 other aspirants. Anjali believes that,
Fashion has the possibility to turn around the psychology of even the most rigid minds… I think fashion can be a modern-day vehicle of change.
Anjali Lama has moved to Mumbai to prepare for her moment in the sun. She dreams of working with Manish Malhotra and, perhaps, one day being the face of a major brand campaign. Here’s wishing her all the luck!