Born Navin Waiba to a farming family in Nuwakot, Nepal, Anjali Lama is all set to break the gender stereotype and become the first transgender model to walk the Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2017.
In 2003, after completing school and doing several odd jobs to pay for her own education, Lama moved to Kathmandu and it was there that she discovered her true identity as a transgender person.
Later, a transgender group that she had once met at a nightclub, introduced her to Blue Diamond Society - an LGBT rights organisation in Kathmandu.
This group later played a vital role in Lama's life, they helped her come out about her true identity.
"I came out in 2005, and it was a torturous experience. I don't want to repeat the cruel names I was called. When my family found out, they said I was dead to them. Only my mother kept contact, she gave me the strength to stand by my decision," said Lama to News18.com. "It's not easy being transgender in country like ours where awareness and acceptance is very low. You have face discrimination in school, within family and by the society. But when you know who you are and accept your sexuality and yourself completely, then there is no looking back. It is then that you move ahead with positive thoughts and beliefs," she added.(Photo : Anjali Lama's Facebook page)
While the journey from being discriminated in schools and by society to being accepted wasn't easy for Lama, she never gave up and strived hard to achieve her dreams. Despite backlash, with positive thoughts in her mind, Lama worked towards turning her dreams into reality.
But being a model wasn't something she had in her mind always. It was her friends who supported and encouraged her to do something and move out of Nepal. "Honestly, during my school and college days this was never in mind but my friends used to tell me I have slim and good body structure so I should try this (modelling)," said Lama to News18.com.(Photo : Anjali Lama's Facebook page)
Motivated by her friends, Lama decided to pursue a career in modelling and took training at a local modelling agency. And although she was initially rejected in several auditions only for being who she was, Lama got her first major break in 2009 when a national magazine in Nepal - Voice of Women, featured her in a photo shoot on Kathmandu's transgender community.
Her journey to the Lakme Fashion Week wasn't easy too.
She auditioned for the prestigious fashion show in 2016 but was rejected. And it was only after she worked on herself, her walk, dressing, make-up, pose etc that she got through for the 2017 edition.
"Lakme Fashion Week is undoubtedly a great platform for me. It is an opportunity to learn and to establish a network in the industry. And although, this is my first international project, I hope to get many such international projects in future," said Lama.(Photo : Anjali Lama's Facebook page)
Even though transgender rights activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi and three others participated in Lakme Fashion Week as showstoppers in 2016, Lama will be the first transgender model to have actually made it to the distinguished show by way of auditioning for it.