Determined and steadfast in making her dreams come true, Manal Saleem is an artist who doesn’t wait for doors to open, in fact, she creates her own paths and doesn’t let anything dim her light. Be it architectural drive or creating a modeling career, this woman knows how to get it done. Speaking to Social Diary, she shared more about her exciting journey and how she continues to explore and move further:
SD: When did you know you wanted to become a model?
Manal: Always. I had a knack for dressing up and getting pictures taken. Always had people telling me oh you look like a model. But I never imagined I’d actually pursue it. So it wasn’t exactly planned. Came to me quite naturally.
SD: Having pursued architecture, how did you find a balance between the two?
Manal: After my graduation and 2 jobs in architectural design I moved on to fashion set designing. Since I was attracted to the fashion industry, I managed to find a way to fit in it, keeping my design skills at hand. After a while, I started modeling too. It was not easy keeping my foot in both these areas because both are quite consuming mentally and physically so I eventually had to let go of one. Now I’m a full-time model and only do a few architectural projects on and off.
SD: How do you consider the growth of the modeling industry?
Manal: It’s quite slow, to be honest, I haven’t seen much of a shift in the way this industry is progressing on an international level. We’re still mostly about catering to the market rather than taking risks and actually producing something out of the box for the sake of art and fashion.
SD: What has been your favorite project to date?
Manal: That would be my very first shoot because I’ll never forget the joy and satisfaction of finally doing something that just made me feel like me.
SD: Do you feel there is unnecessary competition in this field and how can it be tackled?
Manal: Of course, it’s not unnecessary everyone’s trying their best to be at the top of their game but yes I’d like to see all professionals get appreciation on the basis of the work that they do rather than the kind of company they keep.
SD: How important is it for you to create a proper balance between work and personal life?
Manal: Oh it’s absolutely crucial I believe. Also, it’s quite simple, you just need to prioritize. Yes, it’s exhausting. But as long as you’re sure where your heart is, you’ll just know where you want to be.
SD: Would you ever consider venturing into acting anytime soon?
Manal: If I get any nice opportunities and I feel like I’ll be able to do justice to it then yes definitely. I had been limiting myself to my comfort zone for the longest time but recently I’ve decided to come out of it and just try to experience whatever comes my way, I’m trying not to say no.
SD: The one thing you wish to change about the modeling industry and why?
Manal: The paperwork. Which is non-existent by the way. So yea I’d love this industry to just start dealing on paper so there’s a systematic approach to our work which means fewer misunderstandings and more peaceful execution of projects.
IN A GLANCE
What is your absolute superpower?
I move on real quick
Your favorite model?
A major fashion look that is timeless?
Lady Diana’s athleisure looks
The one thing that is a mood killer?
Three things you have with you all the time?
Which season is the best style statement?
Morning Person or Late Nights Enthusiast
Late night enthusiast
Desi Wear or Western
None. Actually, I’m quite content with my choices
Most Prized Possession
Old pictures. Nothing material
I selfishly make sure I keep my soul happy.
Someone you wish to meet
Top 3 things on your bucket list
Witnessing Northern lights
Exploring African jungles
The best thing about your work
The worst thing about your work
The timing. Takes up all your day
Your favorite brand?
What people don’t know about you?
I come across as bitchy but I’m just terribly shy
Your dream destination
Anywhere in the heart of nature