It took a while for the sawdust to settle. When it did, two distinct careers – modelling and interior designing in contrasting styles – emerged for Asmi Shrestha. A part of the fashion industry for the past 14 years, Asmi, also Miss Nepal 2016, is today enjoying the life she has carefully curated. As someone “interested in all things creative,” design was an essential part of her growing years.
“I used to always keep changing the furniture and decorative elements around at home and make spontaneous design suggestions to friends. Engaging in creative work gives me a sense of calm and achievement. A career in interior design was a natural progression,” says Asmi, who did a year-long online course in the subject during the lockdown.
Today, under the banner of ‘Interiors by Asmi’, she has completed a handful of assignments and loves the reviews she is getting.
In an interview with WOW, Asmi recounts her life trajectory, her love for interiors, and why an alternative career is important for a model. Excerpts:
Is it important for a model to have an alternative career option as it is seen as a short span career?
I would recommend every model to have an alternative career. For me, the name that I have earned in modelling has helped me build my base in interior designing. If you are someone who loves exploring, working, and not limiting yourself, I am in favour of having a career option. Ever since I found my love for the interiors, it’s made me more confident. It has created a beautiful synergy of being able to connect and transition from modelling to interior design where I found my space. There’s something for everyone and it can be anything – cosmetics, fashion, food, and more. If you have the capability, there are immense possibilities.
In the fashion industry of the country, what are the three things you absolutely love and three that need major improvement?
First, it takes you places, second is the networking and people you meet, and third is fame. Talking about the things that need to be improved in the industry, the pay scale has to escalate, there has to be systematic management of modelling agencies, and lastly, the working conditions need to improve.
What is your fashion statement?
Mine is very basic. I like to keep it very simple. Classic styles are my cup of tea because it never falls out of fashion. I am always up for ensembles that look good on me rather than running after trends.
Did you always want to become a model?
Pageantry was planted into my head a long time back. When it came to fashion modelling, there were no plans. To be honest, I was influenced by my family. My father used to love dressing up and photography, and he used to take a lot of pictures of me and take me out in my childhood. Things like these influenced me. I didn’t plan it but when I tried it out for the first time, I enjoyed it. My love for modelling grew and from there on, there has been no looking back.
How do you view pageantry over the years?
Pageantry has broadened, and it’s become more inclusive. Competition is getting tougher and the facilities are getting better.
What are the things you keep in mind when associating with a brand?
I look for the brand image, the professionalism of the team that I am going to work with, and a question that I ask myself, ‘Does it go well with my personality?’ That’s how I choose my projects instead of aimlessly picking them.
Do you also take into consideration the impact it could have on the people that follow you?
Just posting content for the sake of satisfying your followers can lead to limiting yourself in your comfort zone. Being in the industry for the past 14 years, I am learning to accept the other side of me, the unseen part. The Asmi on the screen doesn’t always have to be sorted. We are chaotic and I am trying to show that side in a good way.
What are the key elements that you use in designing?
Minimal and neutral, these two are the essence of my colour palette. If the client doesn’t have any particular demand, I try to keep it as neutral as possible and I love using fabrics like linen, particularly cotton. Also, I would love to implement cane and rattan into my designs but have not been able to do so yet. Nevertheless, when it comes to my zone, it’s always neutral, matte, basic, clean, and often ‘no-no’ to busy textures.
Besides the sorted Asmi that we witnessed at this shoot, what are you really like?
(Laughs)… I am crazy. I can be weird, I can be fun, and have got weird things to say. My close friends, they’ve seen me. These days I really like to have fun and just enjoy life, soaking in every moment.
What are some of the conscious changes that you have made for yourself?
Transitioning to love for the interiors is foremost, I have to admit. Besides that, my self-esteem has elevated, not focusing on negative comments… there are plenty. I believe I’ve gone through phases from a young teen to an adult. And I’m quite proud of where I am now.
Are there any people that you look up to?
I draw my inspiration from people around me, my family, close friends, and especially my father. Ever since my sister got married, I have grown much closer to my father. Even though he doesn’t know much about interiors, he has an eye for it. He’s completely unaware of his hidden talent but I got to learn so much from him, that’s where we share our passion.
What do people tend to get wrong about you?
“She might be boring”. In my defense, I am a fun person but only disclose this to people close to me. I also think people assume me to be close-minded.
What brings you joy?
• Seeing people around me happy really matters to me.
• A lot of good moments where we are just having fun.
• In the little things in life, I find my joy. And the feeling that our life can get difficult at times but it eventually passes and we eventually come together.
In moments of doubt, what gives you courage?
Talking to ‘my people’ is the biggest solution. I am that person who really has to let it out. At times I overwhelm people around me, but I make it up to them by really listening to them, especially my best friend. I have close friends now that I count on. Another thing is astrology (laughs). It is a vast topic but whenever I feel lost, I look for signs and astrology is the medium.
What are you like in a relationship? What are your expectations from your partner?
Very loving. I’d like to give my all and take care of the person whom I am with. Also very emotionally involved, and sometimes tend to lose myself but I am working on that. Losing your individuality doesn’t help. And the things that I expect from my partner are space, honesty and respect for each other as individuals rather than blending in. You don’t have to be one person in a relationship, two people with different backgrounds and personalities can come together.
A friend of mine told me, “You have to fit in like puzzle pieces”. That’s what I would expect from a partner. We need to time and again remind ourselves that relationships are not perfect; also you don’t need to make them perfect. It’s something that you have to keep working on throughout your life.
If you could go back in time and talk to the younger Asmi, what would you tell her?
I’d have told her to be more confident and carefree because I wasted a lot of my time thinking about what others would think of me. I was too cautious of my self-made image. Instead, I should have just enjoyed that time.
There have been times when I pulled myself back from good projects because I didn’t know to deal with the situation, and there were instances when I didn’t speak up for myself. Those were the days when I was thinking too much, missed opportunities, and now I find it very naive.
‘To let go, to be carefree, to enjoy, and to be confident’ – I would have said these words to my younger self.
What’s next for you?
Home Interiors. It’s like breathing into a new life and cherishing every moment. The clarity that I received from my modelling career is helping me in my design occupation. Interior design is something that I will never get tired of despite the challenges. Given the fact that I have just done my diploma and not graduated, I would love to continue taking courses and expanding my knowledge in this field. Maybe in the coming future, I would like to have my home decor brand.
Photographer: Suzan Shrestha
Coordinator: Ankita Jain
MUA: Nilima Basnet
Hair Stylist: Asmita Kandel
Stylist: Asmin Silwal
Accessories: Anx Studio
The Terraces Resort And Spa (terracesresort)
Surrounded by 100-acres of private forest, The Terraces is a tranquil paradise surrounded by pristine pine forests, hundreds of varieties of fruit trees, herbs and exotic birds. Perched on top of a hill, the resort sits at an altitude of 2000 meters and one gets to enjoys stunning 180-degree views of the snowcapped Himalayas. From its unique vantage point, one can also gaze down at the ancient cities of Bhaktapur, Lalitpur and Kathmandu