THE SPANISH-ALGERIAN MODEL JANIRA IDER MESMERISING PAKISTAN
We exclusively caught up with Algerian-Spanish model Janira Ider who has taken the modelling industry here in Pakistan by storm. Her face is seen in every other fashion campaign and we were intrigued to learn more about her. The sweet soul filled us in on her modelling journey, why she choose Pakistan to hone her skills and what its like living and working in a foreign country. Read on…
Tell us a bit about yourself and your ethnicity?
I was born in Spain, my parents and I moved to Paris when I was sixyears-old. My dad is Algerian while my mother is Spanish; my ethnicity is technically half European and half African-Arab. Having a bicultural identity allowed me to assimilate each of my parent’s cultures and values. It had a huge impact on how I view the world, it taught me to respect and appreciate all the diverse cultures and traditions. It aspired me to travel, discover new countries and even made me have that feeling of being adventurous and fearless.
‘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’
When did you start modelling? Was it always the dream?
At 18-years-old, a casting agent who was selecting models for an upcoming pageant spotted me in Paris. She encouraged me and told me that I have really good features and if I work hard I can be a really good model. Being a model has always been my ‘hidden’ dream since a young age. I was aware that my reality was different as I was a student, working part-time jobs and had always seen my parents work extremely hard on low-income jobs. So when I first told my parents about the pageant, modelling career and about travelling to other countries, they said ‘No you are not going no where…’ but my stubbornness made me go for it and convinced them to let me go.
At 20 after graduating with a degree in Design Applied and Business Management I decided to move on my own to London to acquire work experience, learn English and pursue my dreams. I joined the Asian modelling industry while working in different jobs. I kept persistent and working hard.
Few years later, I decided to get a diploma in Aesthetics and opened my own beauty salon that 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 I took the challenge - I had hope and faith. I then modelled full time in the UK and India.
When did you come to Pakistan? What made you decide to move here?
First time I came to Pakistan was in November 2020. It all started with a conversation with my best friend and this sentence stuck in my head ‘Why don’t you try Pakistan?’ and this was it! I prepared my travel documents and came a few days later. During that month in Pakistan I visited few cities, been invited by Pakistani families and made some genuine friendships who are like family. After a long time I felt really happy inside and felt really grateful of being here. When I came back to Europe, I started missing Pakistan so I decided to come back.
‘What always amazed me, even after working with so many different brands is that every piece of clothing is different from another - the colours, fabric and design never cease to mesmerise me’
How did you get recognized as a model here?
It’s taken a lot of hard work and resilience. You have to constantly work and improve yourself and keep doing projects that provide you with right amount of exposure. I think associating yourself with brands that are respected and have a healthy audience reach is also important when you are looking to be recognised. In addition to that I think social media plays a big role too. I have been lucky but more than luck it’s been hard work and strategic thinking.
What are your thoughts on the Pakistani fashion industry?
I think that the Pakistani fashion industry is full of potential with it’s many creative and inspiring artists. What always amazed me, even after working with so many different brands is that every piece of clothing is different from another - the colours, fabric and design never cease to mesmerise me. They are able to make wonderful and grandiose set-ups every time for their collections, putting so much efforts and work into it. It has been an amazing opportunity to discover the artisanal and traditional aspect behind it while being in Pakistan; it’s so much ‘savoir faire’.
According to you, what could Pakistan adopt from other countries when it comes to modelling?
To be honest, I have recently come to Pakistan. In terms of modelling, I don’t think that the Pakistan has anything to envy about other countries. But since you asked, I would say maybe we should have more modelling agencies in Pakistan as I believe this would give a good platform for newcomers.
‘We should have more modelling agencies in Pakistan as I believe this would give a good platform for newcomers’
Three favourite things about this country?
There are many beautiful things about Pakistan so it’s a though one. But since I only have three options I’ll go for:
1) Warm, respectful, generous and family oriented people.
2) The hospitality of Pakistani people is one of the best one I have ever received. I’ve been to many countries and based on my experience I can easily say Pakistani people welcome you with open arms. I urge all those fond of travelling to visit this beautiful country.
3) And finally, the beautiful Northern Areas. I’ve been to Hunza, Bhurban and Murree side they’re breathtaking I loved every bit of my visit there.
Your favourite Urdu word/ sentence?
Kya baat hai! One of my friends always used to say this sentence to me whenever I was looking good or performing well. Now in my Pakistani friend’s circle we often use it.
‘The hospitality of Pakistani people is one of the best one I have ever received. I’ve been to many countries and based on my experience I can easily say Pakistani people welcome you with open arms’
Are you in Pakistan for just work or do you have plans on settling down?
The first time I came to Pakistan, I came without a plan. I just let destiny decide in terms of modelling work. After spending a few months, Pakistan has given me a homely vibe. I had fleeting thoughts about settling in Pakistan.
What does your daily routine as a model look like?
Everyday is different in my life. It all depends where I am in the world. My day usually starts with a run and a long shower. It wakes me up and I do most of my planning and check my to-do list while I stand in the shower. I am scrolling through my emails and messages and replying to booking while drying my hair and by the time I have had my press coffee or fresh smoothie, I have half of my day planned and I am ready to go. Show days can be both stressful and rewarding at the same time. I try to plan on show days more as this is where I get a lot of exposure and bookings.
On my days off, I try to switch off my work mode which I think is really important - just pause, breath and think about your surroundings…self-reflection and ‘me’ time is necessary when you are living a life when half your time is spent on travelling.
After my coffee time, I usually go for a swim and then hit the sauna room, spend time with my family and try not to think about work. I don’t get to see them a lot because of my routine but as you grow up you realise that your parents need you as much as you needed them when you were young. I take my dad or mom out and spend some quality time with family. And in the evening I usually see my girlfriends who I am comfortable with and who are usually not related to work or the fashion industry
INTERVIEW: SAFA ADNAN
PHOTOGRAPHY: SHAKEEL BIN AFZAL
- Tags: spanish