Young men and women walked a red carpet to background music in traditional, regional, western, and some in more revealing attires in a sprawling Kabul café. Sixty contestants aged between 14 and 30 participated in this recent competition.
The organizer of the show Hamid Wali has spoken about this being a new concept that has not happened before. This is the first time in Kabul that a fashion agency has done something that connects all the models, and fashion enthusiasts at one event. Wali, with experience in India’s fashion industry, returned to Kabul a few years back and has been taking such unconventional steps since. He set up the first professional Afghan modeling agency, in 2018 with the name of Modelstan. His aim is to promote local models.
Hamid Wali said that they, the people of this industry, are Afghans and people think that they are allied to western culture and get funds from their embassy but they are not western culture promoters. He says that they are promoting Afghan culture.
Wali has convinced several models’ families that there is nothing wrong with posing for cameras and being photographed by media, but not all families are convinced.
The winner, Nigara Sadaat herself had to keep her participation in the contest secret. She worked secretly, without the knowledge and approval of her family, and attended the competition. They still stand opposed to her decisions and actions. She was chosen as Miss beauty by a jury of four women and men.
Her relatives called her father to tell him that his daughter has become a model when they saw her pictures on media after the contest. She was not able to go back home so now she is living with her sister who is married.
Murtaza Safi who has become Mr. Beauty, is facing similar issues.
He said there are many people in Afghanistan who are against modeling. He said his father refused to allow him to model. His father even took him to a barbershop, hoping that if he lost his hair, he would not be able to participate in the contest. Murtaza has ignored his family and traveled through the night to Kabul for the first day of the event and participated.
Modeling was a distant dream for the generation of Afghans that came of age during Taliban rule in the late 1990s, when women were not allowed to do outdoor activities, as work and education.
Diana Adeb, a model, has said that we want peace and we have no problem with the return of the Taliban but that the Taliban should respect the rights of others. She spoke of the many issues they are facing, and the many problems created for aspiring models by their families and society. She demanded their right to live freely.
Image Source: Arab News