Deep brown, almond shaped eyes defined by Cara Delevingne-esq eyebrows, high cheek bones and a full pout explain why Eman Suleman is quickly becoming every photographer’s favourite face to work with. But there’s something more than just physical about her appeal; Suleman has a charming, off beat personality that adds character to whoever she’s embodying on camera.
The university student from Lahore hasn’t been a part of the fashion circuit for long (three months, give or take) but has already managed to create waves and work with some of the biggest names and brands in the industry. Starting out in a shoot for designer Fahad Hussayn, Suleman has quickly acquired a reputation for her striking looks that are complimented by a tall frame.
Instep caught up with the upcoming model to learn more about her journey into fashion and what makes her more than just another pretty face.
In the short span that Suleman has been around she’s walked the ramp for Elan, shot for the brand as well as retailers Sapphire, Generation, and Cross Stitch, among others. She’s been shot by Abdullah Harris, Alee Hassan, Guddu Shani and Umar Nadeem for Zara Shahjahan. Considering that Suleman professes to be picky about the projects she works on, its fair to say that the talented new comer has managed to make a mark.
“I actually got into modelling because of Fahad Hussayn and Zara Peerzada. Zara is a really good friend from university who had been insisting I try my hand at modelling for a while but it was Fahad who really convinced me to give it a shot during the year that he was teaching my class a course at his alma matter. I shot for his couture collection Ghundabad with my brother, who is an incredible photographer but doesn’t shoot much.
The rest, as they say is history. I’ve been lucky in the sense that the work has come to me without me having to chase it, despite the fact that I’m not model size and I also don’t like wearing very reaching clothes, which does restrict you eventually.”
Suleman, as we mentioned earlier is a tall girl but not model petite. Has she had to face discrimination over her weight? “No I definitely wouldn’t say I’ve faced discrimination. No one’s been mean about the fact that I’m bigger than model size but it’s been pointed out politely several times by designers and people from within the industry that I’d be working more if I would just lose weight.
While I’m all for body diversity and positivity, I do understand that the industry even globally has a particular standard that they stick to and if I want to be a part of the fashion scene then it can’t be entirely on my terms. The one thing I do take a stand for though is about how much I’m willing to reveal. I walked out of a shoot once because despite repeated disclaimers that I wouldn’t wear short dresses, the photographer tried insisting I wear knee length shifts and shoot,” she explains.
Suleman was also one of the girls behind the viral university project aiming to raise awareness about menstruation. The class assignment turned out to be more divisive than she and her partner had imagined with the two facing cyber bulling and eventually even death threats.
“It was a scary and surreal experience but I’ve managed to make something good out of it. I am now on the panel of Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan’s first cyber harassment helpline and I use my experience as a means of contributing to the discourse surrounding the topic,” the model reveals.
Not only does Suleman identify as a feminist who is clearly unafraid of tackling gender based issues head on, she also has a humorous side to her which comes out when she takes centre stage at Auratnaak. A collective of female comedians, Auratnaak is a platform where women try their hand at stand up and address issues that most would consider inappropriate, albeit with a laugh. She performed a set last year when the troupe came to Lahore and is gearing up for a second stint later in the year.
Talking about her experience with the troupe, Suleman explains that she’s not a very confident public speaker and in fact addressing a large audience constitutes of one of her biggest fears. Auratnaak not only gave her a platform to overcome that but also the ability to harness her experiences in a positive way. “I’m definitely going to be pursuing stand up further. It’s a great medium of expression and I can’t wait to get back on stage again,” she claims.
While we know models come and go there are some who make their mark and are forever elevated to a position in the hall of fame. Suleman might be new and not yet known extensively but we’ve got a gut feeling she has the je nais se que to be the next big thing.