Atikah Gardezi is surely becoming a force to be reckoned with. She’s a rising star in the industry and already has a number of high profile campaigns under her belt. Her well curated Instagram feed gives us a brief insight into her life, her work and what she likes doing when she’s not working. Her million-dollar smile is infectious to say the least and we caught up with her over a cup of coffee to find out more about this rising star!
Talk us through how you went about getting into the field of modelling?
My journey into the field seems umethodical but looking back I can see how the dots connected leading me to where I am today. While studying architecture in university, I pursued performing arts and used photography and self-portraiture as one of the means of self-expression. However, as I was struggling with acne throughout university, I usually preferred to be behind the camera and shied away from roles on stage. After graduating, I realised that I wouldn’t be able to truly figure out who I was and my place in this world and I was expected to either pursue a 9-5 government job, a Master’s degree or marriage. I believed there had to be more options for me in life than just these three and decided to move out on my own to find them. In order to survive, I did multiple jobs at once to support living on my own, some of which included modelling gigs. Eventually, the work picked up and I realised that I could actively pursue something that I not only enjoyed but that also paid the bills.
You’ve been popping up on our news feed quite a bit, what advice would you give young girls who aspire to be like models they see on social media?
Advice I’d like to give young girls would be that while it is okay to admire and appreciate someone, don’t compare yourself to the people you see online. I believe there is so much beauty in individuality and instead of aspiring to be like a version of someone you only see on social media you should instead aspire to be the best possible version of yourself.
If you could say one thing to your younger self, what would it be?
Don’t let the opinion of people, who know nothing about your life, affect how you see yourself.
We think you’re a rising force in the industry, what advice would you give to anyone who wants to venture into the field of modeling?
Don’t take rejections personally. You might get rejected for one project but be considered perfect for another. Also please don’t feel like you have to look a certain way to be a model, the industry is slowly becoming more inclusive as time progresses and brands are beginning to celebrate diversity in body types. Let what makes you different be your strongest asset.
What has been your favourite campaign to have worked on so far?
For me, the team I work with matters more than the campaign itself. I am very fortunate to have worked with a lot of amazing creative people in the industry and every campaign I’ve worked on thusfar has been a great learning experience in its own way which is why it would be difficult to pick just one as my favourite.
How do you strike a balance between professional and personal life?
I strike a balance by not bringing my personal problems to work or taking my work problems back home.
Describe your skincare regimen in a few short lines?
I wash my face three times a day, apply sunscreen first thing every morning, try to drink at least one litre of water every day and never ever go to sleep with make-up on. These few things along with reducing sugar and dairy from my diet have greatly helped improve my acne.
Who is your role model and why?
My mother is my role model because she showed me what it means to be a strong woman by consistently stepping up during times of crisis for our family. She raised four kids on her own the first eight years of my life, in a foreign land whose language she couldn’t speak back then, as my father worked in a different city. Not only did she manage this but she also ran a school for children of Pakistani and Indian immigrants whose parents couldn’t afford to send them to expensive private schools. She projects a strong persona but she’s also incredibly soft and kindhearted as can be seen in the way she feeds stray animals, whenever she goes for her evening walks she has an entourage of stray dogs guarding her. The discipline I felt imposed on me growing up is what is now keeping my life stable as an adult and I am so grateful for her patience with me and for letting me go to find my own way in this world despite worrying about me as any mother would for her daughter.