WOW | Coverstory
Although Priyani Webster is a newcomer in the modeling industry, she has already captured the attention of some of the most renowned photographers in the country and abroad. She walked the ramp for the first time as a 14 year old. On the personal front, she prefers to maintain a low profile.
She is currently working as a Fashion PR intern in London for ZoneTwo UK. A student of Fashion Communication and Business, the ambitious Priyani aims to own her own Fashion PR and Marketing Company in the future.
Priyani definitely falls under the new generation of models who believe in making a social difference in the fashion industry. In this edition of WOW, we talk to the young model about her views on her work, love and interests.
One word that defines Priyani…
What do you anticipate achieving in 2020?
In 2020, I’d love to land my dream job at a renowned company in London called Karla Otto as a Fashion PR Officer.
Your parents are from two different parts of the world. What was it like to grow up as a mixed heritage child in Nepal?
I am incredibly lucky as I have the best of both worlds. I had the privilege to grow up in a beautiful country experiencing its wonderful culture whilst getting exposure to Western education. I have never experienced an identity crisis. I feel as though this community and country are accepting of people from any nationality or background. My friends and family have been a major influence in making me feel extremely comfortable and accepted. It’s also quite nice when someone thinks you’re a foreigner and you end up speaking Nepali which leaves them either impressed or surprised.
What got you into modeling?
While growing up, my sister Sitara used to do quite a bit of modeling in Kathmandu. She’s always been someone that I look up to, so watching her made me want to venture out into modeling as well.
What was the turning point in modeling for you?
I wouldn’t say that I have reached a turning point as such, but I think the most memorable time was during the Nepal Fashion Week 2017. After the show, I started getting more offers for shoots and walks.
What is something that you wish you knew before you got into modelling?
That the jobs you get aren’t always consistent. One day, I could be asked to do three shoots and then I don’t get any bookings for weeks.
How important is it establish a relationship with the photographer you are working with?
Extremely important! They give you a sense of direction. You have to be comfortable around them otherwise it shows in the photographs. Rule no 1: You should never work in an uncomfortable environment. I’ve worked with some incredible photographers in the past, internationally and in Nepal.
How do you deal with criticism?
I’ve had comments about me having acne or not being pretty enough and a whole lot more. I just laugh it off, because criticism is so subjective. Of course I get acne. I am only human. And I may not be pretty enough to some people, but that’s entirely their opinion. If you’re comfortable in your own skin and have the wit and brains to know that, then you’ll be fine. There are more important and pressing issues in the world than to be worried about criticism from people you don’t even know.
The fashion industry is fixated by multiracial women, do you agree?
I suppose it depends on which part of the world you are in, but I don’t necessarily think that this is true. However, I do think that ALL types of women and even men from different backgrounds and nationalities are definitely sexualised in the fashion industry. This needs to be changed and fortunately it is slowly happening. I am also incredibly happy to witness the inclusivity and representation of people from the LGBTQI community, as well as the people who have been shunned by societal norms.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
I have good days and bad days, like anybody. But I am happy with my appearance because I was born this way and I am going to have to live with it for the rest of my life. As long as I am comfortable with myself as a person, I don’t mind. I don’t mind walking into a shop with my ghar basney luga (home clothes), with no makeup and my hair in a bun. I don’t let other peoples’ opinion deter how I feel about myself.
You have a really strong walk. Do you mentally prepare when you’re walking down the runway?
I zone out. I focus on a point at the end of the ramp and pay no attention to the audience. All I tend to concentrate on is the music that I am walking to. I love music; I think it’s so helpful if you need to concentrate on a task.
Who do you look up to in the industry?
I look up to Jameela Jamil. She wears many hats: actor, model, radio presenter, writer and most importantly an activist. I think when you have the platform to raise your voice, you should use it for the right things, make people aware of current issues and problems that should be resolved or brought to attention.
What do you prefer: runway or photo shoots?
I prefer runways. I also love the rush and feeling you get before you step out into the spot light.
Do you think modeling is a luxury?
I think there are luxuries that come with it but essentially, it’s a job. You need to be professional, have a good attitude, work as a team, and also enjoy yourself.
What do you think the biggest misconception about the industry?
That modeling is easy. It’s not. It takes up a lot of your time and effort. A lot of thought goes behind every shoot and concept. You could be working for long hours.
Apart from modeling, we see that you are an avid traveler, any of your favourite places you’d like to recommend?
The Andaman and Nicobar islands has to be one of the places that I can narrow down. I went scuba diving there and it was absolutely beautiful, remote and untouched. The marine biodiversity there is incredible. Another place would be Cappadocia, Turkey. It is unlike anywhere in the world; the hot air ballooning was a particular highlight.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to a foreign country?
Check into a hotel, have a shower to freshen up, and then EAT! I love trying out new and interesting food.
Packing for a two day trip, what do you bring along?
A change of clothes, toiletries, makeup, a book to read, my phone to take pictures, and speakers for music.
Do you have any personal rules that you’ll never break?
Never sleep with my makeup still on.
Are you currently in love?
I don’t think I am at an age where I am able to define what love is exactly, but I can say that I am very happy in my relationship at the moment, so maybe!
I think marriage is a partnership. It is a choice you make. It is being able to spend the rest of your life with your best friend. Something that comes with its hardships but in the end, it is all worth it. I think that it is something that you have to continuously work on, you learn from each other, and it makes you grow as a person, no matter what stage of your life you may be at.
Live-in relationship vs Marriage?
I think either is fine if it works for the people involved in the situation.
Do you think there is a right age to get married?
I don’t think there’s a right age per se but I think until you have your career sorted, head screwed on and you have mentally matured, you shouldn’t get married.
What are the three most important things for a relationship to work?
Communication, compromise and compassion.
If you could change any norms of marriage, what would you change?
Probably the typical “my husband is the breadwinner of this family”. I think women are more than capable of achieving just as much or even more than their partner in a marriage. Society has just deemed that the husband should be providing financial stability.
Your relationship goals
To be with someone who I never get tired of, makes me laugh, knows how to treat me well, has great morals, isn’t afraid to challenge me.
Wedding Wish List
In a place where we both love and are comfortable with – the place we went on our first date
Funny, considerate, outgoing, knows how to have fun, respects my family, has great ambitions.
I am okay with a nicely decorated place, it’s more about the people that are attending for me!
My dream first dance wedding song: I’ll come too or A case of you by James Blake
I think I’d like to have a Nepali wedding as well as a white wedding, so it would be different for both.