Bold, blunt, beautiful- that is Rimal Ali for you, if you know nothing about her you would have never noticed that she is not your average girl next door. Though she has strived to be one; physically at least. Rimal is Pakistan’s first transgender model who is willing to do whatever it takes to fit in.
When I met her for the first time, I couldn’t help but sneak glances at her. She has an aura of talking, walking, moving and even sitting like a superstar. And why wouldn’t she? Struggling in the industry for almost 9 years-she has finally made her name. For the right reasons or not? That’s for you to decide.
With a degree from Punjab University, Rimal still went up for what she is most passionate about- dancing.
For her, it’s a catharsis, a form of art which should be given respect as much as the others. “When I dance, it feels like I’m opening my soul in the wind; it’s my passion and I’m not ashamed of it.” Dancing for a transgender is nothing new in Pakistan- but how she does it is what’s enticing. Rimal, no doubt has a very controversial online presence that is hard for an average Pakistani to accept but according to her, she portrays the real face of the society. She says if people can see bold scenes in Hollywood or Bollywood films then why not here. “Either stop making films in an Islamic country or if it’s a democracy, show the reality and the number of views on my videos portray the true face of Pakistan.”
Rimal’s endeavor with Soch Band has been huge and we won’t lie, that is what actually caught our attention. “Is ishq na janay tenu ki keeta, hai dard bhi kamli, tu has k peeta. Is ishq wafa may tunay kya paya, hai apnay sath hi, dhoka keeta.” – these lyrics have especially been written for Rimal who is a childhood friend of the band members. It is rumored that Rimal fell for someone who didn’t accept her for being who she is; true or not- the lyrics have such a deep feel that anyone with a heartbreak can relate to them. This song had been planned years ago but they were afraid of society’s reaction- however, it recently, surfaced the web and even caught attention of BBC World and Now This.
Rimal believes criticism is everywhere so she only listens to it if it’s positive. However if it is for pushing her back, judging or hating her; she simply ignores it. “What else can I do? I get scared of their attitude at times.”
This is the reason why she hid the fact of being a transgender when she first hit the industry, “I was scared of people judging me for my sexuality but couldn’t hide it for long. When people found out I had to suffer a lot of negligence in addition to being thrown out of projects; but now that it is out in the open there is nothing stopping me from anything.”
This is the reason why she wants everyone like her to never hide or lie about their reality. “Come out of the darkness and the world WILL accept you. Just be bold and strong!” Rimal pleads to ‘regular’ people to accept them, as it is not their fault for being born this way. “What if a baby like us gets born in your house? Would you toss them away or raise them as they are? Spread love; the world is already too full of hate.”
As for Rimal herself- she’ll stay a simple human being; searching for happiness, love, respect and acceptance in a world that has been brutal and cruel to her.