LAHORE: Janira IDER has created ripples in Pakistan’s fashion industry and is recognised as one of the emerging supermodels of the country, however, behind a pretty face lies a journey of insurmountable courage and resilience.
The Pakistan Daily interviewed Janira to find out more about her and her life in Pakistan.
Hamza Azhar Salam: Tell us a bit about your background, what did you do before embarking on a successful modelling career in Pakistan?
Janira IDER: I am originally Algerian (Dad) & Spanish (Mom). Born in Spain, my parents and I moved to Paris when I was 6 years old. I studied Design Applied & Business Management in Paris. Along with my studies, I started modelling and working at part-time jobs (retail, hostessing…). I started travelling and love discovering different cultures, different countries.
After graduating, I decided to move to London on my own. I joined the Asian modelling industry at the same time while I worked in different jobs (barista, waitress, retail, management…).
I decided to do a diploma in aesthetics and opened my own beauty salon in the same year but later on, I decided to leave everything and take the risk to go into full-time modelling because I felt that I was not living the life I really wanted and fulfilling my dreams and passion for modelling.
Everyone around me, my family and friends had been worried about my decision, thinking I will not be able to pay my bills with only a modelling job, but took the challenge and had hope and faith. I then modelled full time in the UK and India.
This year, I decided to come to Pakistan. And I think it was one of the best decisions I ever made. In fact, since the first time I came to Pakistan, I love being here.
Hamza Azhar Salam: How were you introduced to Pakistan? How easy or difficult was it to break into the fashion industry of Pakistan?
Janira IDER: I was already attracted to Asian culture from a young age because of Bollywood movies, music, fashion and cuisine. Growing up in Paris, you get a taste of many cultures. One of my first weddings which I attended was in fact, a Pakistani shadi my parent’s friend invited us to. I was mesmerised by the celebration, dressing style, food and everything else. This is one of the reasons which attracted me so much to the South Asian Modelling Industry.
However, to break into a fashion industry where no one knows your name at the beginning and you want to be successful, it’s never easy.
In fact, it’s a lot of work and energy put into it.
When I decided to come to Pakistan, I took the risk to leave everything behind, again. I left my comfort zone, my work there and my past behind. My family is my strength and being far from them also pushed me more mentally to be successful here, and proving to them that this effort was worth it.
Hamza Azhar Salam: You worked in the fashion industry of other countries as well. Why did you choose to work in the South Asian modelling industry instead of the western industry?
Janira IDER: I started modelling in the West, however, when I entered the South Asian modelling industry I felt more mesmerised and inspired by the designs, the colours and the types of shoot.
And I loved the fact that many different body shapes and weights are accepted in the south Asian industry.
I have been proposed to keep doing western modelling but I choose to go for the south Asian modelling industry and have been devoted to it since then.
Hamza Azhar Salam: How do you find the Pakistani people?
Janira IDER: I have travelled to many countries but the hospitality I received from Pakistani people has been so overwhelming for me. They are family-oriented people with lots of values, love and care.
I made really strong connections over here, people that now I consider as part of my family.
Hamza Azhar Salam: Is there any advice or message you’d like to send to the new generation of Pakistani models?
Janira IDER: Be yourself, work hard and respect your values.
Hamza Azhar Salam: Who is your favourite designer in Pakistan?
Janira IDER: It’s difficult to only choose one favourite with so many talented Pakistani Fashion Designers out there.
Hamza Azhar Salam: What do you think about the traditional Shalwar Kameez?
Janira IDER: I already used to wear shalwar Kameez in London on some occasions. It’s a style which I enjoy wearing and also it’s very comfortable and pretty. In Pakistan, I wear it almost daily.
Hamza Azhar Salam: Which places in Pakistan have you visited?
Janira IDER: I have visited quite a few cities in Pakistan including Lahore, Karachi, Sialkot, Islamabad, Muree, Burban & Hunza.
Each one has been different and beautiful in its own way, in fact, they all have left me with unforgettable memories.
For example, Hunza has been one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The views of the mountains and the lakes are absolutely breathtaking. I look forward to discovering more places.