Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and ethnicities. Especially in the modeling world, and even more recently in South Asia, specifically India and Pakistan.
Longtime political rivals, India and Pakistan have quietly produced some of the most gorgeous models and actresses to walk a catwalk such Arij Fatyma, Amna Ilyas, Sunita Marshall, Aishwarya Rai and Nicole Faria.
Even in the United States, there has been a noticeable influx of South Asian beauty thanks Priyanka Chopra (Quantico, Baywatch, Thursday Night Football), Melanie Chandra (The Brink, Code Black), Deepika Padukone (XXX: Return of Xander Cage), Archie Punjabi (The Good Wife, Blindspot) and Dilshad Vadsaria (Second Chance, Notorious, Greek)
With more models and actresses from India and Pakistan set to appear more in print, fashion and commercial areas of the industry and film in the near future, could Houston-born Sanya Ismail be the next one?
The daughter of Indian and Pakistani immigrants, the simply-stunning Ismail is as All-American as can be in modeling for fashion brands such as Danny Nguyen Couture, KHG Designs, Chabahll Jewelry and Tereza Suessman Design.
A graduate of the University of Texas, Ismail is an unabashed fan of her beloved Longhorns, in addition to being an aerial acrobat, check out my Q and A with Ms. Ismail as we discuss fashion, modeling, acrobatics and her alma mater’s recent hiring of college football’s hottest head coach in Tom Herman.
Name: Sanya Ismail
Birthplace: Houston, Texas
R.C. What brands have you modeled for? Which one do you enjoy modeling for the most?
S.I. “Danny Nguyen Couture, Couture Poetry, House of Enid, Annie Chyrful Designs, Viet Kent, KHG Designs, Carrie Anne Boutique, Chabahll Jewelry, and many more. Favorite is Tereza Suessman Design”
R.C. Where has been your favorite place to shoot?
S.I. “My favorite place to shoot has been the beach. There’s a natural rhythm I feel with the waves of the sea that makes me feel really relaxed and just happy to be alive.”
R.C. What is the most exciting aspect of modeling?
S.I. “Meeting creative people who are hard-working and passionate about what they do.”
R.C. With winter right around the corner, what fashion tips and trends do you have for looking good when the temperature drops?
S.I. “Biggest thing I try to remember is to wear colors! It’s so easy to fall into wearing black all the time in cold, damp weather.”
R.C. Within the industry, who is your inspiration?
S.I. “I have always loved Gwen Stefani because she brings her own personality into fashion and is never afraid to branch out into new styles. She seems to view fashion as something expressive rather than just keeping up with trends.”
R.C. With the recent growth and explosion of Middle Eastern/Indian models, what are your thoughts on that success.
S.I. “I think it’s fantastic when any industry embraces diversity. All types of beauty should be celebrated.”
R.C. What is your secret to staying in shape?
S.I. “I have been an aerial acrobatics performer for the past several years. It is a challenging and fun way to stay in shape while learning something unbelievably amazing.”
R.C. Outside of modeling, what are your hobbies?
S.I. “I love to read all types of books. I’m never without a book in my purse that I take out whenever I have down time.”
R.C. Sports question: Who are your favorite teams and clubs?
S.I. “I am a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and therefore a huge Longhorns football fan. I also love the Houston Rockets and Texans. One of my prized possessions is a basketball that Hakeem Olajuwon signed for me when I was a kid after going to the Rockets NBA Finals victory parade in 1994.”
R.C. As a Longhorns alumna, what are your thoughts on the Herman hiring, and are you confident he will restore Texas to glory?
S.I. “I think everyone was impressed at the amazing season that UH had under Tom Herman. He has definitely earned all the distinction and praise. The win over Oklahoma was one of the biggest games in school history! When I heard that Charlie Strong was being let go the first person I thought of to replace him was Tom Herman. I am so excited to see what he brings to Texas.”
R.C. Do you feel that Charlie Strong was given a fair shot or was he the “fall guy” from the start?
S.I. Charlie Strong did not have many years to prove himself but I don’t think he was a fall guy. Mack Brown was there for a long time and even though he led Texas to many bowl games including a National Championship, as soon as he started slipping he was let go too.
Texas can be aggressive and impatient when it comes to winning. They basically snatched the hottest new coach in college football from a very unhappy UH student body, and as a UT alum I couldn’t be happier!”
R.C. What are your favorite cities to travel to?
S.I. “I have had the privilege of visiting over 30 different countries around the world as well as many cities in the United States. I love the outdoors so my favorite places are usually ones that I can do a lot of hiking or camping. It’s too hard to pick just one but a recent trip to Utah’s Zion National Park was life changing.”
R.C. What advice would you give to women aspiring to get into modeling?
S.I. “Beauty and art are two things that cannot be defined. So no matter what you look like or believe in, you will always offer something unique and important to the world.”
Special thanks to Ms. Sanya Ismail for her time and assistance during the Q and A. Images used with permission and are the property of their owners. Follow Sanya on Twitter @sanya928, on Instagram at @sanya928 and on her personal website here.