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21 May

Saheefa wants to break out of the supermodel stereotype

With her edgy boy cut and endearing smile, one model that really stood out amongst all others at PSFW ‘17 was Saheefa Jabbar Khattak. We noticed her in the eye catching lawn campaign for Nishat Textiles and at fashion week, every time she’d saunter on to the ramp we couldn’t help notice her quirky hair, plus the fact that she was always trying to hide her smile and keep that fierce ‘no-nonsense’ look models are known for.

What’s intriguing is the fact that Saheefa seemed to be demolishing all the stereotypes that we generally associate with Pakistani models, like the fact that they prefer to look pretty when walking down the runway or that they should always have long gorgeous tresses, adhering to the ideal of beauty in this part of the world. The average Pakistani model lacks attitude and prefers to play within the lines. We reached out to Saheefa to find out what she might have to say about the fact that a model can’t experiment with her looks, in the fear of losing her career.

“Well it is true yes; I’ve been in contract with a huge textile brand since a while now. I was hired because they wanted an educated girl to be the face of their brand, but they’re letting me go now; it’s clear that it is because of my new hair,” Saheefa told us, even though she did expect such repercussions she was initially concerned when this happened. “But there are quite a few brands out there who want me with my new look, and are waiting for me to be available.”

Speaking of the leeway in our fashion industry for experimentation with looks, Saheefa, in her very honest and nonchalant manner, spoke of how the lawn industry especially has no room for following trends.

“Even when I began my career my hair was cut into a bob, and there would always be extensions and wigs used for me. Now two other models have followed and cut their hair short, and they’ve told me that I was the one who gave them that idea!”

Saheefa Jabbar

“I can’t keep long hair and this was my dream haircut!” Saheefa told us. Image by Haseeb S. Khan

Speaking of her inability to hide her smile on the ramp, Saheefa laughed and told us it’s because of her hyper personality and how she’d always be having a ball backstage, so when it was her turn to walk the ramp it was difficult to control her expressions.

“Smiling on the ramp takes away from the clothes; like you just asked me why I was smiling means that you were noticing me more than the clothes. Which is why we’re supposed to keep a straight face. Like if Cybil, who has a beautiful smile, smiles on the ramp that’s where all the attention would go!”

Saheefa also admitted that she is tired of being the “bubbly girl with the cute smile.” “A supermodel isn’t someone who just does lawn and bridal shoots. I want to be a supermodel and I don’t think I’ve reached my true potential yet. Which is why I’m looking to do more editorials and different shoots now, especially with this hair.”

At a time when our fashion industry tends to get lost amidst the consumerism of lawn and bridals, it was truly refreshing to see and speak with someone like Saheefa, who is all set out to experiment and break away from the stereotypes.

  • Featured image by Faisal Farooqui, outfit by Sapphire.
Mariam Tahir

The author is Assistant Editor at Something Haute, plus a fashion student who loves reading, traveling, eating and sleeping but manages to find time in between to write.