Sadaf Kanwal: The model with stars in her eyes

They say a model’s career is very short. I’m going to model as long as I can, and then become a (top!) actress, she says

She walks into the salon and flashes a big grin. Even without makeup she’s absolutely lovely. She’s the rare breed of celebrity we all love – earnest, simple, forthright, and says what’s on her mind without the slightest bit of attitude. She is Sadaf Kanwal.

Pink: Tell us about the big beginning.

Sadaf Kanwal: I had heard a lot of things about Sabs Salon, and so I really, really, really wanted to come here to get makeup done for this thing I was going to. Saba Ansari, the owner of Sabs, said, “Why don’t you model?” And I was like, “Er…!!!!!” She told me about the Veet model search show and that I should go and see what it was like. I was a gauche, gawky 15 year old, but I went anyway (in shalwar kameez!) all by myself, came in second or third, I don’t quite remember, and the ball started rolling from here; I did some shoots, Frieha Altaf took me in her shows, I did some lawn campaigns. I’m signed with Fahad Hussain at Citrus Talent for commercial work, and I’m acting in television dramas as well.

Pink: What about studies?

Sadaf Kanwal: I took a break from studies after my first year of Intermediate (Commerce) and I’m going back for my second year soon. I was a teenager when I did Veet and I modeled and studied side-by-side, but then the amount of work grew so much that I thought okay, let’s sock away some experience and make some money, then go back and finish my education.

Pink: How did your family and friends react to your new career?

Sadaf Kanwal: My friends were a bit taken aback. They’d tell me, “No, don’t do that! You’re mad! You’ll meet too many people, your awareness will grow too much. You’ll start wearing tiny clothes! You’ll become too mod!” People have a certain idea about the model lifestyle which isn’t necessarily true, and my friends were worried I’d fall victim to it.

My mum used to get mad at the kinds of shoots I’d get sent. She’d flip through the pictures and say, “What nakedness is this!?!?” I’d have to calm her down. My dad is pretty chill about it, he tells me to do whatever I want as long as I don’t do anything to cause embarrassment to the family. Also, my mum doesn’t let him see the shoots!

Pink: What about other relatives?

Sadaf Kanwal: Oho! My relatives’ attitude has changed aisa waisa! When I was a kid they’d call me “danda” because I was skinny and lanky and stick-like. Now they all want to know when I will visit them.

Pink: What are your friendships like these days?

Sadaf Kanwal: My college friends get a bit insecure; they wonder if I will meet them now and I tell them I’m still the same person! Within the modeling world I have some very close friends – designer Fahad Yaqoob from Deepak & Fahad, Fahad Hussain from Citrus, model Hasnain Lehri . I don’t have female friends because models don’t really make friends with each other. We’re courteous to each other, but mostly we just do our work. I do get along with some of the more established ones, though; Iraj, Rabya Chaudhry, Fauzeya. Give respect, get respect, that’s what I say.

Pink: What was your first day at work like?

Sadaf Kanwal: The first day at Veet was very difficult. I didn’t know anyone, nobody knew me. I went alone, by myself. I don’t like to take my mother along with me like some other girls do because I like to keep my home life and work life separate.

Pink: But someone as young as you should have an older guardian to watch out for your best interests, no?

Sadaf Kanwal: I have friends in the media business who are happy to look out for me. I ask them for advice and guidance, and they share their knowledge with me.

Pink: What were your future plans before you came into the spotlight?

Sadaf Kanwal: As a kid I just wanted to be a good daughter. I’m from a small family, not very rich. I didn’t have any particular aspirations, but as I grew older I decided I wanted to be a “Bara Aadmi”. I wasn’t sure what I would do, but I did know that I would be the top boss in whatever field I ultimately picked. I had an interest in law, so I would have been a top lawyer, just as now I’m going to be a top model!

Pink: Where will we see you in ten years’ time?

Sadaf Kanwal: They say a model’s career is very short. Six, seven years max. I’m going to model as long as I can, and then become a (top!) actress.

Pink: And have your own salon or fashion line, too?

Sadaf Kanwal: Oh no, no! I will get married and have three children! I will keep acting, though.

Pink: Ah! Every parent’s dream – to see their little princess as a bride!

Sadaf Kanwal: Mine have seen me dressed up as a bride so many times I don’t think they can take it anymore! I’ve been all kinds of bride – red, yellow, green – so when I get married for real, I will take my mum’s old-fashioned red dupatta, put on some red lipstick, and that’s it.

Pink: Tell us about your television work.

Sadaf Kanwal: Some friends suggested I should act in a drama, and I got an offer from ARY for “Maika Sasural” directed by Mohsin Talat. Yes, I did play the weepy bahu! I don’t think the tearful bahu is very farfetched from reality –I have seen them in real life. Then my phuppo, Nida Mumtaz, used to be an actress and she’s introduced me to some directors.

Pink: What do you like shopping for?

Sadaf Kanwal: Bags and shoes. A girl may be dressed in simply jeans and a t-shirt, but if she’s carrying a really good bag and wearing really nice shoes, she WILL make an impression. My last seriously major purchase was my car which I bought last year!

Pink: How do you spend your time when not working?

Sadaf Kanwal: I love to sleep, and I love to take baths! Once I went on vacation with a bunch of people, and I got yelled at a lot because everyone wanted to go sight-seeing and I was either sleeping or taking a bath!

I also like to talk to myself. I love looking at myself, as all models do; I sit in front of the mirror and Me and I have long, intense conversations about our future, and our hopes and dreams.

Pink: That’s very honest, to say that you love looking at yourself…!

Sadaf Kanwal: (Earnestly) I do! It’s very important for a model to love herself. I’ve been blessed that this is my job, and just like there are celebrities I want to be like, I know there are young girls who look at me and wish to be like me.

Pink: What do you get complimented on most?

Sadaf Kanwal: My lips and eyes. Some people say I’ve had Botox, but no. It’s all natural.

Pink: Do you believe in astrology?

Sadaf Kanwal: I do! I’m a Virgo. I check my horoscope every night and then I think back to the day to see if what the scope said was true – it usually is. These days I’m in love, and unsurprisingly my starsign is always about romance and love!

Pink: What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Sadaf Kanwal: Designer Nomi Ansari told me never to demand the opening or finale spot during a ramp show. Lots of models do that; they refuse to walk unless they’re either the first or the final. Nomi said, “Just do your best no matter what position you’re assigned, and you will be seen.”

Pink: And your advice to readers?

Sadaf Kanwal: Be nice to everyone. Respect elders, don’t think models are trashy or an alien life-form. They are good people, regular people, so be nice!

This post was originally published here.