WOW | Coverstory

Standing Tall – Sabita Karki

Sabita Karki has never been afraid to experiment with her looks and themes. She is considered a muse by many photographers and fashion designers who love her bold expressions, strong poise and ability to stand tall to her strengths.

Four and half years back when she stepped into the world of modelling, Sabita instantly received a lot of attention. After numerous photo shoots and having walked the ramp of some of the biggest fashion shows, she is today recognised as one the best models in the industry. In 2017, she entered India’s Next Top Model (INTM) and was the first runner-up.

But that’s not the only reason why Sabita has earned respect in the industry. Time and again she has proved that she is not just another glamorous face. She values education and learning and chooses to use every opportunity to enhance her education. Prior to a career in modelling, she had set her heart on becoming a chartered accountant.

In an interview with WOW, the woman with legs that never end and a face that captivates talks about fashion, feminism and the future.

Sum yourself up in five words…

Confident, honest, friendly, lazy and adventurous.

When you compare your first modelling assignment with your career now, what changes have you noticed?

I have noticed a lot of changes. At my first modelling assignment, I was very shy and felt very uncomfortable wearing heels. Now I am very confident and I can even run in high heels if I have to.

What did you learn from India’s Next Top Model?

Every task in INTM was challenging and now I feel like I can take on any challenge. I have definitely gained more recognition after it. I have been getting a lot of exposure and better modelling opportunities. I got the opportunity to walk the ramp at the Asian Designer Week in New Delhi and I have been the showstopper for well known fashion shows in Nepal. Also, I have been modelling for renowned clothing lines in the country.

What is the biggest misconception about modelling?

People think modelling is easy. Trust me it is not as easy as it looks. For instance, we have to wear high heels for 7-8 hours and we don’t clock off at 5 pm. Shoots vary from anything before sunrise to way after sunset. Also sometimes in the freezing winter, we have to shoot for skimpy summer clothes and in the blazing summer, we have to shoot wearing wool and pashminas.

What does feminism and women empowerment mean to you?

The core of feminism is gender equality. I strongly believe that every human is equal in terms of rights, duties and opportunities, despite their gender. I am a feminist because I have seen women and LGBT community being treated as inferiors on many occasions. I have experienced the disparity. A perfect world to me would be a world where everyone can act equally. I believe that we (including men) should speak out and act against this unfair culture that is embedded deep in our societies. I feel the first step of empowerment is education and I am positive that with so many people worldwide supporting feminism, generation by generation we will have a more empowered female population and less and fewer feminists because we will no longer need to address the problem.

What are the key areas women have not achieved gender equality?

In our country, women are still falling behind on education which is preventing the increase in the number of professional working women. This, in turn, is making it difficult for many women to be in higher posts such as CEOs, Managing Directors and politicians.

Many claim that fashion is mostly run by men at executive levels and there is the ultra-skinny body image glorification. What are your thoughts? Also, do you feel that fashion and feminism can work together?

Firstly I believe modelling is one of the few fields where female models are more empowered. Secondly, from what I have seen, there are an equal number of female executives in Nepal’s fashion industry. I agree that feminism and fashion can go hand in hand.

However I disagree with the ultra skinny body image glorification as I think times are changing and now people have started to celebrate beauty in all shapes, sizes and colour.

What is your passion outside of modelling?

I want to become a chartered accountant and a businesswoman.

A woman who inspires you…

Anuradha Koirala. She inspires me to be a humanitarian.

What does an ideal life look like to you?

To be happy and have the freedom to pursue my dreams. Living life to the fullest for me is travelling, managing my career and relationships without harming anyone in the process.

How do you maintain yourself?

To be honest, I don’t do much. I can’t give up on my Thakali khana or seafood. I guess I just have to thank my parents for good genetics.

Ten years from now…

I will be travelling the globe with my husband and children.

Sabita’s Style Secrets

My favourite summer outfit: Hat, crop top, basic white tees, cute skirts, white sneakers and denim shorts.

I would never be dead caught wearing… I can actually rock anything that I wear.

I would love to trade my wardrobe with Olivia Culpo

I would want to go bald someday in the future just because I like to experiment with my look.

When I am angry I prefer not to wear any makeup or even style my hair. I just wear any random outfit.

When I am happy, I take a lot of time to choose my outfit. I try on different outfits and choose what’s best for the occasion.

I would buy second-hand clothes if it’s not worn by anyone before and if it’s stylish enough.

The highest pair of heels I have worn is seven inches tall.

My favourite designers are Manish Rai, Tenzing Testen Bhutia, Teyang, Soni Thapa of SONÉ Paris and Daljit Sudan

My favourite shopping spots are SONÉ Paris, Chardonnay, Lane88, Chuplag Studio and Missa More

Text and concept: Mannat Shrestha
MUA: Shradha Maskey
Photos: Milan Lama
Wardrobe: SONÉ Paris
Location: Pulchowk
Instagram: SONÉparis
Accessories: Masala Beads, Thamel
Instagram: masalabeads