Success in modeling looks different for everyone but at its core booking high-profile money jobs, shooting for the mononymous photography giants, and runway glory are milestones the industry can reach a consensus on. For Nepali model Varsha Thapa it has been a long journey, in time and distance, towards success yet something she been anticipating since her debut. With both top editorial and commercial clients calling this past year, it’s hard to believe in a less favorable (read: diverse) market she was struggling to get signed a few years back. Still for the multifaceted muse accustomed to leaps of faith, commanding the attention of those who ignored her is a minimum requirement to fulfilling her dreams. With visuals shot by Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve, Models.com sat with the model to discuss persevering through rejection, finding her breakthrough, and cementing her destiny for herself.
You’re from Nepal, which from my understanding is remotely landlocked – how was the process of getting signed and discovered overseas?
Back in grade school in Nepal, we had just gotten cable and my Mom would always put on her daily soaps. As soon as breaks would come on, I’d switch to Fashion TV so as a kid I always admired the industry. How the models were so beautiful and that their beauty was celebrated by fashion, I really loved that. I was this very gawky, very tall kid in class. Everyone made fun of me, “Oh my god, look at her!” I saw these women being celebrated and loved for who they were, and I was like, “Oh my god, this is where I should be and this is where I’m going to be appreciated.” That stayed with me from school until college and then I thought, maybe I’ll apply to different agencies online. But back in 2011, model agencies didn’t check their emails.
Yes, it took a while for fashion to embrace digital. Now Instagram is king for scouting.
Exactly! Back in the day, I emailed so many agencies and a few of them answered and responded, “No, you’re really not our look.” There was not much diversity and it was very hard for me to be accepted.
My New York agency was great because New York is generally more accepting to models of color, from different backgrounds. But even here maybe it started working out here let’s say three years after people knew me. “Okay, we’re comfortable booking her because we know she’s a good model.” Before that it was this unsureness, this doubt, not having enough tear sheets or not having enough… read more