This vibrant model shot to fame when she bagged the position of the first runner up in India’s Next Top Model 2017. “The platform was one of the turning points in my career, and after that, there was no looking back,” recalls Sabita Karki, one of the most versatile models in Nepal. From pursuing Chartered Accountancy to becoming a supermodel and the face of many brands, Sabita has hit all the right notes in her journey to fame.
She has now teamed up with The Exhibit Studio for Model Factory which is a modelling agency where they train and provide opportunities to young talent in the glamour business.
Why did you choose to pursue a career as a model?
I wanted to be a lawyer when I was young but my goal kept changing every year. I chose management during my high school. I didn’t really think of getting into modelling but somehow someone noticed me during an exhibition and offered me a shoot. I was skeptical at first but I thought one should grab opportunities and take risks in life. And as I started doing shoots and shows, I started loving it. Now I am a fulltime model and I have huge respect and love for this industry.
How did your experience from India’s Next Top Model help shape your career?
My experience from INTM really helped me. It got me the recognition and with that I got a lot more opportunities. I got to work with many brands and amazing designers. I walked for numerous fashion shows here in Nepal. It not only helped me get work but also boosted my confidence and made me mentally strong since I survived two months of hardcore tasks and trainings. It has been three years and the love and appreciation is quite overwhelming.
How important is it to be associated with a modelling agency?
These days, I think it is important to be associated with a modelling agency but with trustworthy ones. You need to be associated with an agency that can provide work and be transparent about finances and lot of other things.
How successful are the modelling agencies in Nepal?
I have been freelancing since the beginning of my career. There weren’t many agencies at that time. I learned everything through my own experience. Having said that, it would be a lot easier for an aspiring model to learn from a training institute and modelling agency. There would be more work opportunities. Models don’t have to find work themselves. So given the right environment for models, agencies can be successful in Nepal. I know a few agencies in Nepal which are not transparent about the finance part and not that professional.
How difficult is it to find paid assignments and to follow up on payments?
It’s not easy to find a paid assignment and also to get payments on time after the shoot. It didn’t happen every time with everyone. I have worked with many people who paid well and on time. But I have also had few bad experiences that spoiled my professional relationship as well. There was a sound project I did a long time back but I got my payment after eight months. I used to call them every day. That ‘voli’ happened after eight months. I wonder why is it so difficult for them to pay when the work is done. And they lie too. No one wants to plead for their own hard earned money.
Have you ever thought of switching careers from modelling?
I did. Few years back, I thought I should quit modelling and continue CA and make it my full time job. I still want to complete my CA course though. It’s a bit difficult to manage time for me to focus on both.
What are the challenges you have faced as a model?
Initially, it was difficult to get work. Somehow I made some model friends and they used to recommend me for shows and shoots. I was really innocent at the start of my career. People used to pay me very less compared to others who did the same work. But I never complained. I kept on working and learning. I’ve worked with few rude clients who used to yell for no reason and some photographers who asked to show more skin.
How often do you workout?
Before the pandemic, I used to be regular at the gym. But after Covid, I workout at home but not as regularly.
Beauty and diet regime…
In the past few years I have come to realise that skincare is more important than makeup. So, I follow my skincare routine every morning and night as per Dr. Jebina Lama. It’s really simple and minimal. Cleanse, wash, moisturise and sun block and I am good to go. I use all my products as prescribed by my dermatologist. For diet, I wouldn’t say I follow a strict diet every day. I love Nepali ‘daal bhat’. So I just cut down on other food. No junk food, sugar or dairy products.
I am now associated with Exhibit Studio for Model Factory. It’s a modelling agency where we train potential models and create job opportunities.
Advise for novice models
Modelling is not as easy it looks. Hard work and patience is key. Know the people you are working with. Speak up if something is wrong. Don’t let people exploit you. Look out for opportunities, especially now that this generation has all the resources.
A misconception about models that you hear a lot
It’s an easy job and model lai jado hudaina
CA, entrepreneur and choreographer
Favourite photographer to work with
Meiilan Lama, Sanjog Rai and Amulya RI Shrestha
Ramp walks or shoots
Importance of portfolio
A must have in this digital generation
Most hectic fashion event…
The backstage story of every fashion show
Kung Pao noodles, seafood noodles, any noodles
First modelling assignment
Your thoughts on unconventional models
I love them
What do you love and hate about your job?
Love almost everything, not hate but I don’t like unprofessional people.