LAHORE: Natasha Hussain – or Natty, as most of us know her – ruled the ramp throughout the 90s.
A keen sense of her own strengths and exuberant personality made Natty a supermodel of the truest form. Look past her ever-glamorous façade and you’ll meet someone surprisingly inspiring. For Natty, her two daughters Tania, 19, and Zara, 10 are the biggest blessings of her life. “I am a full-time mom and housewife. My daughters are my best friends. The eldest one is studying in London but having her home for the holidays is the highlight of my life,” the model-turned-event manager tells The Express Tribune.
Along with modelling, she appeared in several TV serials and even worked as a host. Her charisma has endured and people are thrilled to see her every time she graces the red carpet.
At 47, Natty understands that modelling is a young woman’s game. According to her, models, like food, tend to get spoiled after a certain age. “There is a lot of hard work, determination, blood, sweat and tears that go into modelling. In our times, we worked really hard to make our mark in the industry.”
Natty recalls how people from the fashion world had no nakhras and didn’t care about the conditions and facilities (or lack thereof) that they were working in. “That is the reason why we came out as real supermodels. Our hard work made us not just into super girls but super models and that’s why people still remember our names, be it Iraj, Tanya Shafi, Vaneeza Ahmad-Ali or Aaminah Haq.”
Unlike her contemporaries, Natty continued modelling till her late 30s. Even though she believes there is a limit to how much a model can stretch her career – even in Pakistan. “I left the industry when I was 37 and that too because in our country, you can extend your career a bit if you’re still physically in shape,” she says. “However, after some time, you start looking stupid. You neither do justice to the ramp, nor to yourself. There are models like Fauzia Aman and Nadia Hussain who have three or four children and they just do not give up! If you exit at your peak, you will be remembered as a supermodel. Otherwise, you’ll be a leech.”
For Natty, the best part about modelling was working with no budget and resources. All the designers, photographers and models of that era were just starting out. “We would all get together and come up with concepts and shoots and if you take out any shoot from those days, you will see those were the most rocking,” she states.
“And of course, we would travel together, spend 14-15 hours together and not get bored. Now, I see girls who can’t spend two hours together without ending up in a fight.”
She continues, “We were all growing together, whether it was photographers such as Ather Shahzad or Tapu Javeri. Designers like HSY, Umar Sayeed and Sara Shahid, even fashion houses such as Lajwanti, wanted educated and classy models. So we worked really hard and did our best. Just compare any shoots from the 90s to those today and you can tell the difference!”
Natty feels today, TV stars have become bigger than fashion models. “In our times, super models were more popular because we were the perfect package. People would get spellbound when walked the ramp.”
Maybe it is a generational affair but Natty much like her other colleagues is of the opinion that the new girls don’t have what it takes to be a supermodel. “Models should try to be number one and not dou number,” she exclaims “I regret to say that but there is absolutely no class in models today. They have no education and that is why they have no respect and name. At least complete your education, learn to communicate, groom yourself and then work with passion and determination,” she asserts.
“I don’t know the names of any upcoming models but if you ask people who the supermodels were, they will mention Vaneeza, Atiya Khan, Zainab Qayyum and Aaminah because we came from a background where education was mandatory. Wearing tight clothes and carrying a designer bag does not make you a super model, it makes you run of the mill.”
Throwback Thursday is a weekly feature documenting the lives and careers of Pakistan’s veteran models.
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