Model Anjali Lama from Nepal became the first transgender to be selected to walk the ramp at the Lakmé Fashion Week.
The 32-year-old model selected to take part in the prestigious fashion show after an audition held in India.
Though transgender rights activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi and three transgender rights dancers have already participated in Lakmé Fashion Week, this is the first time someone from the transgender community made it to the show after an audition.
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 changeAnjali Lama
Lama said she was born in a remote village in Nepal and nobody knew anything about fashion in her village. "Even going to a sheher (town) was a big deal," she said.
She also said that she was confused about her identity in childhood and it was after coming to Kathmandu for degree she recognised her as a transgender.
"I thought I would spend my life farming like my father and brother,” she said.
Lama got in touch with an LGBT rights organisation in Kathmandu named Blue Diamond Society and underwent a sex-change operation in 2005.
After the surgery, everyone in her family except her mother cut their relation with her.
“It is only now after I got selected in the Lakmé Fashion Week, that they've reached out to me again,” she said.
She also said that she was rejected in several auditions just because of her identity. She started getting attention after working for a long time without getting paid.
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 acceptedAnjali Lama
It was on her second attempt she made it to the Lakmé Fashion Week after an audition with 100 other aspirants.
The model has now shifted to Mumbai to prepare for her big day.
For her, working with well-known Indian fashion designer Manish Malhotra is her dream. "He was the only designer whose name I knew in Nepal," Lama said.