I tracked her down and she very kindly agreed to answer some questions for me, so here it is, an interview with an Asiana model:
How did you get into modelling?
I was always asked to pursue modelling from a really early age but was very into my studies until I moved to London for my work placement with Microsoft. I went along with a friend to Asiana Wedding Exhibition a couple of years ago and was spotted by a few members of the team there. They were very interested in me coming into the studio for a casting. I went along and have been working with them since. I have been lucky to travel to some amazing places and meet some inspiring individuals.
Do you have any advice for aspiring models starting out?
The advice I have for aspiring models is if it’s what you want, go for it with everything you have. I would advise you do think about the consequences of everything you do – is it worth it? Is it the image I want to portray of myself? I totally believe that beauty is individual and everyone is beautiful in their own way. The industry is very demanding in every aspect from your weight or the type of shoot you are doing. I am a Muslim model and people in this industry always like to test what your limits are when they already know them. I believe morals make you who you are and that’s how I decide on what to do. My family are my strongest support and keep well grounded when things seem uncertain. Just keep believing in yourself and go for it!
Do you have any do's and don'ts for aspiring models?
Everyone is different and there are clearly things I wouldn’t do that other girls would. That’s life in the modelling business but I honestly believe that there is no one like me; I am unique and know that if I stick to what I think is right for me, I’ll be happy and successful. I mean it hasn’t done me any harm so far!
What are your top tips for looking good?
I would say drink plenty of water, it really helps your skin and hair. I don’t drink enough. Other than that, I can honestly say I am not your stereotypical model where you expect me to be going to the gym 4 or 5 times a week, watching the calories in what I eat etc. I have a very healthy appetite and I walk everywhere so count myself very lucky I don’t have to join a gym or watch my food portions… yet. But my tips would be take care of your skin with a good beauty regime, plenty of sleep and no drinking of smoking.
You've had the chance to model a large variety of Asian bridal wear, if you were getting married this summer, where would you get your outfit from and what would it be like?
This is the question that does baffle me, I have wore every type of Asian bridal wear from couture to very traditional to classic western styles. There are only two ways I would go for; the first being very minimal, natural tones and simplistically stunning so would go to somewhere like Silons or Mongas. The alternative would be very traditional with striking bold colours, beautiful intricate embroidery visible in Seasons and Sana bridal wear.
Tasleem wearing an outfit from Variety Silk House at the Asiana Wedding Show Birmingham
Which do you enjoy more – photo shoots or catwalk shows?
There’s no question; if I am doing a string of shoots I wish I were doing a show and if I am doing a few shows then I wish I had shoots. I have so much fun doing both of these that its impossible to separate them. Photo shoots I enjoy because of the outfits, make up, the people behind the scenes and just being able to capture various emotions in a moment through a picture whereas a show you are able to bring some life to it, interact with others more and have fun with what you are doing.
Do you watch any reality TV modeling programs (eg. Britain's Next Top Model)? and if so, do you think they show a realistic view of the modelling industry?
I really enjoy watching all these modelling programs and do think there are elements of reality to them but you have understand that its such an intense process and done in a short period of time done on a TV program which guarantees management afterwards whereas if you are model outside of that it takes so much more time, dedication and struggle to even get those opportunities. The reality is you have to work hard to be noticed and I think as a viewer particularly the younger generation, can get sucked into all the glamour and naivety of believing that Britains Next Top Model is what modelling is like all the time.
What's the best thing about modelling?
The best things about modelling are the people I get to work with and meet who I can call friends now. I am like every girl so I love the clothes, jewellery and being able to see the new fashion trends before it’s released, the travel opportunities as well as the exposure to different people and networks.
What's the worst thing about modelling?
For me, even though the incredibly early mornings and even later late nights are quite exhausting, I would have to say that you can never really trust people in the industry, it is such a fickle and fierce environment which can really drag you down. Many girls and guys feel the pressure to do or not do certain things which really gives the industry a bad reputation.
What's next for you career-wise? (Where can we expect to see you next?)
I have a few offers to do things on the catwalk and with magazines all in the pipeline. I am going to be doing a lot more mainstream work with fashion and bridal. I am really having fun with what it so I want to keep enjoying it. I have been incredibly fortunate to have done some incredible shoots and the best shows with many designers. My main highlight is making the front cover of Asiana Wedding internationally which in 2 years is quite an accomplishment. It is because of that I have had so many other opportunities have present themselves and I intend to make the most of each one.
Much Love, Tasleem Malik