Gone too soon: Fashion industry remembers Zara Abid

KARACHI: “I can still hear her laughter in my head,” celebrity stylist Aneela Murtaza told The Express Tribune, reminiscing about late-model Zara Abid. “Last Eid, she came over to my house and we had a blast!”

Zara was one of the passengers on the ill-fated PIA flight PK 8303, which crashed in a residential area of Karachi last Friday. The 28-year had been route Karachi from Lahore upon the death of a family member.

And so, the Pakistani fashion industry lost an integral part of itself. Other industry bigwigs, friends and colleagues of Zara’s shed light on her life and career.

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Fashion designer Shehla Chatoor remembered the youngster as someone who knew her craft too well. “Zara was extremely hardworking, so very dedicated! For us as a brand, she was such an integral part of everything,” she recalled. “She had walked for both of my solo shows. She was one of those models who would help the designers with the other models. You never had to work with her; she knew the craft so well.”

Shehla added that Zara didn’t really care about the competitiveness in the fashion industry. “She knew how to carry herself; how to own her uniqueness. Zara was confident in her skin and it didn’t matter who was being compared to her. It’s rare to find someone with such a personality and work ethic, all wrapped in one.”

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Aneela had always been close to the late supermodel as well. “I first met Zara Abid in 2018, on a campaign shoot which I was the stylist for, and the one thing I remember is how hard she was willing to work,” she told the publication. “In life, you meet very few people who are willing to go all the way for their craft and Zara was one of those people. We had a bunch of common friends so we would always meet at events and through various projects.”

The one who broke stereotypes 

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Salon owner Nabila reminisced about the time she took Zara under her wings. “I think it was around four or five years ago when I was working on my Zero makeup palettes,” she began. “I needed someone to represent the majority, the dusky skin colour Pakistani women have. Zara was the perfect fit. She was the representative of brown women.”

Nabila revealed that with Zara’s help, she found the caramel shade she had wanted for the palettes and it later became a best-seller. “I remember Zara wasn’t getting a breakthrough. Many discovered her after the Zero makeup campaign because she owned her skin. She was unapologetic about it.”

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Later, a controversy developed around one of the campaigns, when Nabila and the team were accused of making Zara’s skin tone darker. “That was ridiculous because, in reality, Zara always wooed everyone with her stunning complexion,” she asserted. “She played such an important part in advocating for brown girls globally. I always liked breaking stigmas. Zara was one model who helped achieve this goal in a massive way.”

Fashion consultant Tabesh Khoja had known Zara before she came onboard with Nabila though. “I introduced Zara to Nabila when we were working on the No Makeup palette,” he revealed. “We had been working on almost all the projects since. She was such a talented individual, who struggled a lot in her life. Zara came from a very humble background, with no one from media or the industry. She still managed to wow everyone. That’s the power she had.”

‘Sikka’ 

Aspiring writer Ahmed Sarym shared how he came about working with the late starlet for her first short film. “Zara was an absolute angel. I’d approached several actors to work with me on Sikka but with the shoestring budget that we had and it being shot in Islamabad, it was near impossible for us to get a prominent face to do it,” he divulged. “I had randomly messaged Zara on Facebook, which lead to a phone call where I narrated the screenplay to her and the next thing I knew was that she had flown in to do the film.”

Reminiscing about the time they spent together, Ahmed added, “She and I would spend hours discussing how we wanted to approach both the characters. She made them her own, gave them backstories from her own personal experiences.”

A void that can’t be filled

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“Zara was was a plain joy to work with,” Shehla shared. “She had such a fiery elegance that I don’t think many have. We both won awards this year and shared a platform that gave us so many memories.”

Aneela added, “In her short time, Zara has left an unforgettable legacy that will continue to inspire those all over. With all young souls that leave us too soon, this one will never be replaced.”

Nabila shared Zara was taken too soon. “She was always so gracious towards us because of the platform provided to her. Zara was courteous and grateful for everything life gave her.”

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Model Hasnain Lehri, who was with Zara’s brother at the crash site, when the latter was trying to find her in the wreckage, remembered Zara as someone who has been extremely respectful.

“She built herself up from the ground. She was one model who used to address me as ‘Hasnain Bhai.’ It was all about respect to her. She gave it, she demanded it,” he said. “Zara was hardworking. She had struggled all her life. She’d be the last one standing in scorching heat if need be. She was an editorial model, a print model and a ramp model.”

Tabesh shared Zara was always proving herself. “Not once did I see her back down from her commitment. Come summer or winter, she would always keep good on her word. She became the voice for Pakistani women – one many can relate to. It’s a void that can’t be filled. Not now, not anytime soon.”

Zara was a light that was extinguished too soon. Rest in power!

With thanks to By Rida Lodhi

https://tribune.com Published: May 28, 2020

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