Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dark Skinned, 5 Foot and in the Modelling Industry! Surprised?


If you know of anyone or believe that you have a special story to share that you think should feature on my blog. Message me on Instagram: @undercovermathu or drop me an E-mail: 

"Once I stopped seeing my skin colour as a flaw but a gift from God to change society’s view on what it means to be beautiful, the magnitude of my confidence grew."

Hey guys!

It's that time of the month again when I introduce you to someone new, someone inspirational, someone with a story.  "Dark Skinned, 5 foot girl in the Modelling Industry" - don't you think that I sound like one of those judgmental newspapers or magazines. I did this to make you realise what this girl went through all her life. Today I would like to introduce you guys to Sabby Jey. 
She is of Sri Lankan ethnicity and is the child of first generation immigrants. Her parents had to relocate to New Zealand due to the Sri Lankan civil war. 
Being a dark skinned girl who is 5 foot aspiring to be a model is very difficult in the modelling industry. I would like to tell you her story of how she pursued her dream of becoming a model and the problems she encountered on the way and what she is trying to achieve in this industry. Just hang on and listen to this girls' amazing story and you can read my interview with her below! There is SO much to learn from this girl and her story. 

Sabin has always had an interest in the modelling industry but she was afraid of the norms and opinions of society. She originally started looking at online website calls when she was 17 years old. At this point she lived in Brisbane, Australia where she modeled some clothing for the House of Khloe boutique and did a Schwarzkopf hair show. She says that she has never been a very confident girl and she considered herself to be "quite chubby" back then. Among her brown friends and especially boys she would frequently hear comments about being too dark or black and she had to keep her feelings of insecurity to herself. 

When she moved to New Zealand she was rejected by every single agency. During this time she made it her aim to "improve her appearance". She lost 13 Kg, wore make up, changed her hairstyle and started to dress according to what is in fashion. After this she still continued working towards her goals and a year or two after a boutique modelling agency reached out to her in 2014. She received her first modelling job to model a wedding dress for A La Rove, for that year she received a few jobs. She then decided to further pursue modelling in India where her look would be needed.

"I was very surprised when I arrived in India to see how much they differentiate between fair and dark girls. I was literally told I was too dark for many jobs. Compared to western countries, Indian castings state “ FAIR GIRLS ONLY.”  I was shocked and disappointed to see such a backward fashion industry especially in this day and age."
After gaining more experience she managed to sign with a commercial international agency (Joyce Management). She was also a semi-finalist for Miss Universe 2015 New Zealand and she is a semi-finalist this year as well. She will soon find out if she is a finalist. In a month she will be moving to India to pursue an acting career!
" It pisses me off to see  the all of South Indian heroines portrayed as extremely fair, in fact I have not seen a single dark skinned actress rock the screens which is a inaccurate portrayal when a majority are darker skinned. I love my skin colour though it took time to embrace in this society and hope to make a difference in the industry when I join it, I am not sure if I will get any work but I hope for the best and hope to help darker skinned women out there build their confidence."
I believe that if you have a dream or passion that whatever your physical appearance of what others tell you should not impact your decision – screw everybody and do what makes you happy. 

I don't promote swearing but you go girl. Everything she said, the passion, dedication and motivation that comes through in her words really is astonishing.

What inspired you to go for a modelling career?
I guess everyone in life knows what sparks a light and fire in them, like that one thing that makes them super excited or happy to do. I have always been enthused with the fashion industry and was obsessed with Miranda Kerr since I was a teenager. When I realised this is what I like and this is who inspires me, I realised why not try even if it might not work out.

You consistency is very admirable. After all the rejections you still continued and didn't give up. How did you manage to do this? How did you not give up ?
Well I have faced rejection in many areas of my life- Sports teams, part time jobs, boys. When you face rejection constantly, sometimes you realise things aren’t for you, you aren’t passionate about them anymore, you stop thinking or caring about certain things. But with Modelling, it just never left my mind, it was always there through school, university and working in different jobs. So I realised, perhaps this is a sign, if it hasn’t left my mind It means that I fully haven’t seen where it can take me or put in adequate effort to call it quits. I strongly believe in listening to what my heart and soul wants, it doesn’t matter if it isn’t practical or realistic, if shit keeps bothering you, showing up in your dreams or excites you – it’s a sign to pursue it.

Did you ever think about pursuing any other career?
I actually just finished a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and International Business. As you know brown parents are very set on having highly educated kids and I did my degree to please them, I probably would have become an investment banker or something similar. I currently work as an Operations Manager for a modelling agency and for a couple of Brand Experience companies so I did have many options.

Well done and congratulations to you for getting scouted by an agency in India to pursue a career as an actor.  Are you in the position to give us some exclusive details about your plans there? Do you have any movie offers yet, if so which?

I have had a couple of offers but nothing set in stone yet but when it is I will definitely be posting it and giving you exclusive details. I have been scouted and sponsored for my Visa to come to India for 6 months from early June this year till December by a productions company so I can tell you that much.

What made you get back up and feel confident in your own skin again?
You have to love yourself and believe in yourself no matter what, it doesn’t matter how many times you fuck up and honestly I have made so many mistakes that I regret but I know what I want to do with my life and what makes me happy and won’t be satisfied until I have at least tried till I am around my late twenties, if it hasn’t worked out then I’ll pursue a nine to five job and find a husband on a Tamil matrimonial website. 

What would you tell girls who are in the same or similar position as you were?
I would say don’t be afraid to know what’s right for you and to pursue it, it may not always be the most conventional career such as the holy grail of being Doctor, Engineer or Lawyer. Do the things that make you light up and excited, it may just be a hobby but who knows, you could make it your career if you be smart and work hard at it. Also no matter what you look like or what people say about your appearance love yourself and be confident to show the world who you are. People have called me fat, Karrupu (dark), not pretty and man I just have a huge list of insults that have been thrown at me that are way too graphic to go into, but I learned to love myself and find myself beautiful and once I did others saw that in me as well J.

It's very disappointing to see that the industry in India and many other south Asian countries differentiate so much between fair and dark skinned girls. Do you  believe that there will be a future where dark skinned girls get treated equally?

Yes definitely especially with movements such as unfair and lovely and Dark is beautiful gaining a huge following and popularity on social media. As more people take a stand against lighter skin being the definition of beautiful and more darker skinned girls come out as confident and won’t take any criticism about their skin colour I see it happening; I know it will happen.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?  Where do you see yourself?
Haha to be honest I don’t know how to answer that question. I am going to India to pursue a career in acting so it would be great to see that go well. In terms of commercial modelling I will continue to do that and hopefully see that improve as well. I really want to go to India and make an impact with at risk young women or help women build their self confidence especially as we spoke about somehow changing the general south Asian view of darker skinned women.

She will be off to Chennai in a month.
If you would like to keep up to date with her shenanigans follow her on Instagram: sabbyjeyxx


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