Discovering Rehmat: In Conversation with Rehmat Ajmal
She is determined, passionate, supremely talented and strikingly beautiful. You probably have come across her Instagram account and definitely looked it up! Rehmat Ajmal is a name that everyone is quickly becoming familiar with and we at Women’s Own caught up with her to find out everything we could about this model, actor and designer!
W.O: Talk to me about your qualifications and your journey into entering the modeling industry. How did it all begin for you?
R.A: I graduated from NCA in 2018 and have ventured into different things since then. I’m a textile designer, model and an actor; whatever pays the bills. I got approached by a teacher at NCA during my second year there. That’s pretty much how it all started!
W.O: What would you say were some of the challenges that you faced initially and how did you overcome them?
R.A: I made my way into the industry as a complete outsider to be honest. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t warmly welcomed. Slowly and steadily, I was able to make my own place here. It took a while to get a hold of how things work but with every passing minute I feel more involved and more evolved. While there was acceptance, there was also a lot of rejection. Still is actually. However, I feel that rejection plays a big part in moulding and shaping your personality. The more I get rejected the more I accept myself. I find more joy in working with people who accept me for who I am and don’t want to change a thing about how I look.
W.O: Your portfolio is incredibly diverse and impressive. How has the experience been so far as you juggle with acting and now designing? What is the most difficult out of all three; modeling, acting and designing?
R.A: I think the most difficult part is the juggling itself. I remember during my final year in college I did two international campaigns and that was the most challenging year for me professionally. I did most of my thesis in planes, on my phone via emails and it did become quite difficult to keep up. In the end, I’m glad that once I put in the extra effort I was able to pass with a distinction and even topped in my department. I can’t particularly point out and dictate one thing to be the most difficult since I enjoy all three equally but it goes without saying that it does get exhausting.
W.O: What is one of the best things about modeling here and what is the worst? And why?
R.A: I think the best thing would be that there’s a lot of room and acceptance for new comers. Outsiders are welcome and highly appreciated in most cases. With hard work and persistence one can make their own place here. The worst would be the fact that there’s no proper system for enrolment but thanks to social media which has made it a lot easier for people to put themselves out there. Other than this, there’s also a lack of unity within the industry; it’s a problem that we as a group are actively trying to solve with the help of a union. I’m hopeful that in the future things will be more systemic and organized.
W.O: You are one of the most popular faces on Instagram in our country. Do you think social media helps in promoting people here as much as it does for celebrities in the west?
R.A: As I mentioned earlier social media has made it a lot easier for people to put themselves out there. It provides a free space where you can express yourself while staying connected with the works of your colleagues. It also brings artists together from all parts of the world and helps you inspire and be inspired at the same time. As for your second question in my opinion, it has more to do with the statistics and number of users of the application here. While it is widely accepted and used here there is still a percentage that does not use it and maybe that has an effect on the “popularity” in terms of followers. However, as far as I’ve experienced and observed our community highly benefits from social media and that’s a positive thing.
W.O: Since one of the biggest cons of social media is trolling, how do you handle it? What’s your MO when encountering trolls?
R.A: Well I try to not engage beyond my capacity for the sake of my sanity. Instead of partaking in keyboard wars it is important to create healthy boundaries for yourself. One should always respond, express and engage as necessary but the moment it feels like there’s no positive outcome, one should stop.
W.O: If you ever got an offer from a movie from Bollywood, would you take it up? Who would you most like to work with on that side of the border?
R.A: Of course, I believe there are no boundaries in creative projects. I have a lot of favorites on the other side and I’d be happy to learn from any one of them. My current favorite is Radhika Apte.
W.O: You have rarely done any acting project apart from a short film earlier on. Why is that? What kind of projects (movies or TV) or roles would you like to do in the future here?
R.A: I have always wanted to be an actor and I was only waiting to fully pursue it after I completed my degree. I have recently shot for a drama serial with Nadeem Baig which will air shortly. I am currently rehearsing for a theatre play which will be showcased by the end of this month. I’m really excited to explore myself as a full time actor. I’d love to see myself doing both commercial and art cinema projects.
W.O: Do you have a favorite Pakistani celebrity? If yes, who and why?
R.A: There are a lot of people who inspire me. Mahira Khan is my favorite. She’s a star and an inspiration to many.
W.O: Your style is quite talked about and loved by many. How would you describe your personal style? Are you a trend follower and like to watch out for them?
R.A: Honestly my personal style is quite simple. I love to keep it easy and comfortable. I do like to follow trends but sometimes I don’t. It all depends on my mood.
W.O: You recently started RehStore, an online store for art pieces, décor items and even saaris, which features your own designs. Talk to me about launching this projects and the idea behind it.
R.A: Rehstore is my baby project; because of the fact that I work as a model and actor I am not able to find the time to work as a full time designer. It is my side business which is very close to my heart. I started it to fill the creative void. I am not in competition with anyone in that sense. With this particular project I like to follow my own pace and provide design solutions to a niche target market.
W.O: Apart from everything else, activism is also that one thing which is very close to you. In the recent times, you have been in involved in several movements which call for change in our society. Personally, do you think that Times Up and Me Too or Stop Domestic Abuse will be able to bring a real and long lasting change within our culture?
R.A: I believe that one should fulfill their social responsibility by speaking up, addressing the issues we face and hold healthy dialogues. Now, whatever your capacity might be it is important to actively participate with a positive mindset. Every revolution starts with a dialogue. I also am a staunch believer that while it is important to creative awareness via social media it is equally important to follow and practice moral values in your daily life by making sure that none of your actions are harming anyone around you. It is also important to understand when and if you are an enabler or a bystander.
W.O: What is in store for the future for you? Where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years?
R.A: I don’t like to speak for the future or draw conclusions. I’d like to see how it unravels! But what I do know is that I’d be following my heart, working and hopefully, inshAllah, living a life of contentment.
W.O: Give a message for readers of Women’s Own.
R.A: We as humans live temporary lives so let’s try to live in the most permanent ways.
Thank you all for taking the time out to read my interview. I’m sending a lot of prayers your way! I’d like to also thank women’s own for being a part of my journey. I hope that I continue to entertain you and entertain myself. Cheers!