Nepalese model Anjali Lama will make history as the first trans woman to walk at Mumbai's Lakmé Fashion Week. Just last year, Lama did not even make the cut.
"It wasn't easy for me in the early days when there was so much rejection and discrimination," Lama told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Now I am getting an overwhelming response from the fashion industry after being selected, and other transgender people tell me they are proud of me."
Jaspreet Chandok, fashion head at IMG Reliance (an organizer of the event), commented that part of the goal of this year's show was to have a more diverse program in the hopes of "[redefining] the future of fashion." According to Out, Chandok advocated for the inclusion of gender non-conforming and plus size model in order to raise "the national consciousness."
“The ability to work really hard (at what I hope to achieve) is my greatest strength. I am determined, have a never-give-up attitude, and surround myself with people who encourage me to prosper,” she said. "I am thrilled, this is indeed the highest recognition I’ve had in my career till date… Lakmé Fashion Week is not a cakewalk. This opportunity has come to me after two strong denials. LFW has been working on being more inclusive, season after season, and I am happy that a platform like this exists in India.”
Lama has overcome considerable adversity to get where she is today. In fact, she had backed away from her family due to her identity long ago: "My family, friends and relatives were not all supportive," she continued. "All of them wanted to ask the same question: ‘why’. So I preferred to disconnect myself from them… Transgenders are treated fairly unfairly everywhere. Be it accommodation or jobs, nothing comes easy for us."
Here's hoping we'll be seeing more of her in the future.