Sabeeka Imam - The Spice Girl

Sugar, spice and a dash of more spice, Sabeeka’s persona is a concoction of all that is joie de vivre. From being mounted on panoramic billboard high, with the entire city gazing at her in awe, to charging the runway with an inimitable grace which never eclipses, her’s has been a career jumpstart many contemporaries would envy. What is it about Sabeeka which charms the audience, instilling a growing familiarity of seeing her liven up the ramp each time she walks, which somehow never comes with ubiquity? Perhaps it is her penchant to reinvent herself in front of the camera’s snare and in the exquisite garbs of countless designers she has worn and flaunted. Or perhaps it is her arduous love for her work, which mirrors in everything that she does. Usually the one to hold on firmly to the layers of her personality, Sabeeka sheds them in this interview. Read on...

How would you define yourself as a person?

I believe there are many aspects of our lives that can define us in front of others and to ourselves. When it comes to mine, it is through my ambitions. I deal with them with determination and hard-work. I feel the most fulfilled when I achieve a goal that I've set my sights on and with the support of my family and friends throughout the process, the successes become meaningful. The people that enrich our lives also define us. I think the wonderful relationships I have with people, my supporters, friends in the industry, they really make me who I am. I also believe that our identity evolves through the journey of life. Our experiences help us define who we are and what roles we have in society. I feel my faith, my belief system about the world, giving back to society in whatever capacity I can, empowering those around me, making a difference to people's lives and dealing with life positively are as important in defining the person I have become so far.

What sets you apart from your contemporaries?

I think everyone is doing great work right now and I hope it continues this way for our industry. For myself, I like to focus on the bigger picture and really aim for legacy. I think it's common in our industry to get shortsighted and chase short term achievement, I always try to think further forward.

Being an ace supermodel, you have tried your hand at acting too. What do you enjoy the most?

I really enjoy doing thought-provoking and challenging work. I discover different sides of myself when I am out of my comfort zone. I feel my audience and supporters enjoy this as much as I do. This is something I have been working on for a while now and I want to disrupt the predictable narratives we see about what women should/shouldn't do. I have worked both in film and TV and enjoy them both equally. I look forward to getting back and doing some more drama work soon and working on some interesting scripts that highlight the issues of the new generation.

We are living in the age of social media. There are instances of many celebrities falling prey to online judgement, which at times is called for while often it is not. How do you handle online trolling?

A lot has happened over the past few years through campaigns and people's reactions to online negativity so I think there is a lot more awareness about social media etiquettes. I do feel that things have improved. Everyone is responsible for the content they put out so should be smart when they do share but at the same time the audience should have greater tolerance and acceptance and not be so invested in someone that their content starts to bother them. I try my best to focus on the positive support I get and only give glimpses of my life that I feel comfortable with. I enjoy an element of privacy but I understand that our fans and followers enjoy keeping up-to-date so I regularly indulge them with content that I am comfortable sharing. I am very blessed to have such great followers and rarely have any complaints regarding my social media.

What is your definition of a 'supermodel'? What is it which sets him/her apart from the rest?

I believe it is my interactions with people, how I manage my work, how I create an impact in every project with brands, how I deal with my peers with professionalism and grace. I try to see sunshine even in thunderstorms and endeavour to not only deliver the requirement of the project but add something unique with my personality. I have been told that my journey has inspired so many other female models from abroad to come to Pakistan and work in the fashion field. I believe no work is too big or too small and everyone must be treated with the same respect.

What would you pick as an alternative career for yourself, if given the choice?

I'm extremely happy where I am so there is no alternative career I would have chosen however, I would love to grow and evolve in the fashion and media field and delve into something that showcases my own creativity in the future.

Where do you see yourself 10 years down the line?

Wherever I am in life in 10 years’ time, I hope I have a smile on my face and that those around me are full of happiness. I would love to be in a position either through recognition or financially where I can actively give back and do things for the causes I believe in for this country.

Since models are perceived as influencers, do you think that this 'influencer' badge comes with responsibility? To speak, process and do things rightfully, since you may in a way or other would be influencing society.

I think the term "influencer" is very irresponsibly thrown around these days. I think one cannot claim themselves to be an influencer and it should be an accolade that is given by the audience. Personally, I don't feel I am influencer nor do I aspire to be yet. I don't think I want to be the kind of person that influences other people on which colour bag to buy. Yes, I do share my own style on my social media accounts but it is not to influence anyone, it is just to give everyone a glimpse into my likes and dislikes because I want to inspire people. There are so many great people around the world and we are privileged with the resources and technology to see what anyone is doing at a click of a button so I feel the responsibility actually lies with us. We should be very careful about how and what we want to be influenced by. The choice is literally in our hands.

MUA: Hussain Raza
Photography & Styling: Azeem Sani
Designer: MARYAM’s
Model: Sabeeka Imam