In Conversation with Pema Chosdon, First Model from Ladakh & Social Entrepreneur

By Yangchen Dolma Leh, Nov 13, 2023
Leh :

Q. Tell us about yourself.  How did you become interested in Modeling?

I am Pema Chosdon from Zanskar. I consider myself a social activist and a model, a unique fusion of two distinct worlds. My journey into the modeling world, however, was far from conventional. I began my career with medical studies in Bangalore, with modeling being the furthest thing from my mind.  It was the encouragement of friends during my college days that sparked my interest in modeling. The journey officially began when the prestigious brand Zara noticed me, marking the inception of my modeling career. The brand Zara noticed me, and that's when my modeling journey began. Since then I collaborated with several renowned brands, including Zara Academy, Flipkart, Myntra, Lifestyle, Tanishq Jewellery, Air Asia, and Rahul Mishra.

Q. Share with us about the NGO Pema Care.

Beyond the glitz and glamour of the fashion world, my heart lies in my community, particularly in the remote region of Zanskar. Pema Care is not just a healthcare initiative; it is a testament to my unwavering commitment to giving back to my community in Zanskar. The idea for Pema Care took root during my school days, nurturing my vision of establishing a comprehensive medical center in Zanskar. Since my school days, I've had this vision of having a medical center with various healthcare services in Zanskar.
Initially, the plan was to establish a hospital, but with the presence of government hospitals in Kargil and future plans for one in Zanskar, I decided to create a wellness center instead. Given Zanskar's colder climate compared to Leh, Pema Care offers vital services such as physiotherapy and eye care, catering especially to the elderly.  My medical studies in Bangalore have been the foundation upon which Pema Care was built, providing essential healthcare services to the people of Zanskar.

Q. Do you think that the profession of modeling is not as easy way as masses assume?

Modeling is often perceived as a profession where beauty reigns supreme. It's a common misconception that modeling is solely about physical appearance. However, I believe we have beautiful features, but being a model requires more than just looks; height and confidence are pivotal. Moreover, deep knowledge of current events and an understanding of the world are equally important. It's not just about looks; you can't achieve everything in life based solely on looks. 

Q. Share with us about the challenges you faced when you first chose a modeling career and how you overcame them.

Modeling comes with challenges; it is all about resilience and determination. I have always worked with agencies, so I haven't faced safety issues. However, for those who want to freelance and are not being taken on board by agencies, I understand that it can be tough. I have experienced self-doubt along the way. However, due to self-doubt, I missed opportunities. However, I consider this self-doubt a valuable lesson as I learned to accept and love myself, ultimately boosting my confidence and determination.

Q. What scope and potential do you see in the modeling industry? What is your advice to young people of Ladakh who want to pursue a modeling career?

The modeling industry is a realm of boundless opportunities and potential. The industry is brimming with opportunities, even for freelancers. In the Ladakh region, there is a wealth of untapped potential for budding models. There is a substantial scope for modeling in Ladakh, with agencies and modeling industries frequently visiting for photoshoots. Local talent is often tapped into, reducing the need to bring large teams and supplies from outside.  

I have taken steps to reach out to aspiring models in Leh, offering guidance and support through test shoots. Ladakh's film and modeling industry is on the rise, presenting numerous opportunities for young talent.

Q. Did your parents support you in pursuing this career? As not many people in Ladakh are aware of modeling how important do you consider parental support in pursuing a career?

Family support is a cornerstone of success, and I am no exception. My parents played a pivotal role in my journey, if there is no support from parents in life, it can be challenging to achieve anything. My journey would have been considerably more challenging without my parents' support. While they may not fully understand my work, they have been supportive and proud of my achievements, such as my recent participation in the Umling La show. Their unwavering belief in my abilities has been a driving force in my success. My uncle has also been a pillar of support in our family. The modeling profession is unpredictable, and a support system is very crucial as one navigates through this dynamic field.

The universal truth is that having a strong support system, especially from parents, can make all the difference in one's pursuit of a dream.

Q. Are there any jobs/ projects you wanted to do or are in process?

I always aspired to be the first representative of Ladakh at Miss India, but due to my self-doubt and the age limit of 25, I missed that opportunity. I went to Mumbai for the auditions and got selected, but at that time, I was in Zanskar for a project. I got a call but couldn't make it in the end. However, I plan to organize a Miss Ladakh pageant for 2024 with the goal of preparing a candidate to try for Miss India in Mumbai. I have discussed this collaboration with the Miss India organizers and the UT government.  They expressed readiness to support the initiative.

Message for readers

“I want to tell everyone that we are all unique in our own ways and lives. Whatever we choose to do, we all strive for success in our own careers. So, just be yourself and don't try to imitate anyone else. Being true to oneself and taking pride in one's individuality is the key to fulfillment and success in life.”