It felt as if I had finally found a way to express myself. I could just stand in front of the camera and be my free-spirited self.
Modelling for me is a hobby, but also a protest towards the ageism that exists in the modeling industry. As women get older, culturally, their values decline. A woman is then considered to be less beautiful and unworthy of celebration. There is an absence of representation of women in my age. How often do you see older models walking the catwalk or find fashionable, colorful and modern clothing lines designed just for them?
We are left to wear clothes that look like rags. And I am not going to allow society decide when my femininity and beauty loses its value. I have shed blood, sweat, and tears to have this body. I work out 4 times a week and I am not supposed to flaunt my curves?
The more I share my modeling photos, which are controversial to conservative Afghans in my surroundings, the stronger and certain I became about who I am. I have never quiet, cared about what others think of me, that’s their opinion. I am true to myself and my actions are a testimony to that.
My divorce was also perceived as a taboo, but I had my reasons, and I believe that breaking these “rules” and surviving the “taboos”, enabled me to take a step towards breaking the barriers.
I have never allowed boundaries to stop me from being myself. I didn’t let the taboo of a divorce stop me from doing what was best for me and my future. I didn’t let the ageism in the modeling industry stop me from feeling beautiful, and I have not let people’s opinions about me stop me from being myself. I have raised three beautiful, strong and independent daughters, all by myself. I never received praise for achieving that, only criticism for my lifestyle and the way I dress.
I want to change the attitudes towards women in the modeling industry and to show Afghan women that living for yourself and finding your passion is what life is about. It is not easy being yourself, especially if you are someone like me, always receiving criticism for speaking your mind. Bur I have turned their criticism and negativity to my strength.
Farah Saighani, 50, tax officer