Anjali Lama, a transgender model from Nepal, will strut down the catwalk in one of India’s most prominent fashion events: Lakmé Fashion Week.
According to a feature in The Washington Post, Lama hails from a poor farming village in Nuwakot, Nepal. The notion of transgenderism simply did not exist there. Lama could not fully comprehend her feelings until, as an adult, she saw a TV program about people who did not feel that their identity matched the gender assigned to them at birth.
In 2007, Lama began participating in beauty pageants and in 2009, she was featured in a national magazine called The Voice of Women. The start of her career corresponds to a shift in attitude within Nepal; in recent years, the country has made great efforts to acknowledge and validate transgender rights. Since 2007, Nepal has formally allowed citizens to choose their own gender identity, and it is one of only a few countries to issue passports in a third gender category.
Still, Lama struggled to book gigs. She decided to move her focus to India — another country that has recently enacted legislation to ensure equal rights for transgender citizens. Her audition for the 2016 Lakmé Fashion Week was not successful, but after auditioning for a second time, she was selected to appear in this year’s show, which will take place during the first week of February in Mumbai. Lama is the first transgender model to be featured in the event.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.