Meet the beautiful and talented fashion model Julaikha Shah who is making her name in the industry with her consistency. This young confident woman is working hard towards her passion each and every day. Therefore, she is hustling hard to achieve milestones in her career. Born and brought up in Darjeeling, Julaikha grew up studying in a convent. She was a tomboy, taking an avid interest in sports. But nowhere keen on modeling, although she was fond of dressing up.
For her graduation, Julaikha moved to Kolkata. Initially, it was a struggle staying alone in the city without having the comfort of home. Having to fend for everything for herself. Suddenly one fine day, one fellow photographer approached her while walking on campus. He wanted to take her portraits. Hence, from there, the dots just connected each other. Adding to which she revealed,
“It was an amazing feeling knowing a part of me which I could have never discovered had it not been for that one photographer who most randomly wanted to take portraits of me. That very experience played a huge role in me getting to know my talents and capabilities better. However, I have always been more inclined towards studies. I want to pursue my academics with utmost focus with studying criminal psychology. Being in front of the camera will always be my happy zone. I will always enjoy coming back into my element whenever it allows me to”
Modeling to her is the greatest form of expression. The one which she is most fluent in. Julaikha finds it beautiful to have the ability to be able to speak to the person viewing an image of her, without the use of words, but through body language, actions and emotions. Modeling is a way of bringing to life the ideas of a designer. And models get to play the final piece of that puzzle, completing hours of labor by countless people.
“Having the ability to portray someone’s vision and bring it to life. Being able to speak in an universal language through my images is where lies the true beauty of modeling in my eyes. Being paid for something you love doing is always a blessing. Also, getting to wear the best of clothes and designs and get photographed in them. This is something that excites me till now before every single shoot. Further having the power to inspire others and little girls in the right manner is something that is equally empowering. It is one of the most satisfying aspects of my job”.
Julaikha considers herself lucky enough to come across some of the best people who have helped her in her journey. She has worked for 145 east, Kompanero which was her biggest break, featuring her on billboards across the city. Even as far as the U.K, Femina, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and many other brands. Julaikha’s career really took off after she came back to Kolkata after the first lockdown. Working with the most renowned people in the industry, for and national brands like IDEE, image Eyewear, Dot and key, Dolly Jain, etc. Also for regional brands like Tatwam, Neha Vaswani which featured on Lakme Fashion week, Keya Seth to name a few. Not only this, but Julaikha also had her hoarding in Mumbai for the brand Wearinsom. Moreover, she also was on the cover of The Telegraph Kolkata for Vaani Baiswal.
Recalling her different shoots experiences, Julaikha told about one shoot which she enjoyed the most.
“My most fun shoot ever was when there was an all-girls team (from the photographer to the stylist). It did not feel like working for once. We were all doing what we do best and the outcome was better than ever. Until that day I was always conscious about my smile. Maybe because as models we are mostly needed to keep a poker face on during the shoot and are rarely asked to smile. That very day I was told that I had a beautiful smile. This massively changed my perspective.
I entirely enjoyed the flow of the shoot. The best part was when I got home from an entire day of working, to my surprise I was not exhausted. I did not have harrowing stories of woe to share and I was not drained. Instead what I felt was proud, accomplished and satisfied”.
Julaikha is a humble and down-to-earth person who respects everyone. She wishes models are not taken for granted and the work they do is not deemed to be easy. Behind the glam, lies actual people and not mannequins. Even they feel tired after shooting for hours in the heat and wearing high heels. She often rejects such requests if not asked properly, reject shoots if it does not meet her bare minimum budget. She wishes these little changes make people think and realize that it is important to treat models viewing them in a human light. This can bring about a change in the bigger framework of the modeling industry.
There are big industries that have been accused of not giving fair wages to their workers. Their condition got worse in the pandemic. Talking about the rights of workers as they play a major role in the industry, Julaikha said,
“It is a known fact that during a global pandemic when the entire world was at a pause. It was a knee-jerk reaction from major international brands who put up a series of processes to protect their profits, whilst pushing the cost onto those who can least afford it. This was heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time to think about how far could such renowned brands go to save some extra money while exploiting their workers who were only earning poverty wages. I whole heartedly condemn this and will never be in support of it”.
When Julaikha walked in for her first professional shoot, she had never thought this one camera and a few lights would have such a huge impact on her life. From seeing the tears in the eyes of her parents when they saw her first-ever billboard, magazine feature, and newspaper cover, to being flooded with messages from young girls from the hills back home, of how they cite her as an example to their parents. Her life has taken a huge turn in these past 2-3 years.
Julaikha believes modeling can bring a huge impact on people and society. Adding to which, she says,
“Modeling, although not many might perceive it such, can bring about a profound impact on the lives of many people in society. Contributing to widening the horizon of opportunities for many young girls.
Coming from the hills and from a Muslim household, where even the thought of modeling is frowned upon in most households which are conservative. Seeing one of their own do well with utmost dignity while holding their head up high. This will definitely give wings to the thought of young girls from similar households to not be afraid to pursue their dreams in any career of their choice”.