Aneesa Sheikh, a 20 year-old Pakistani-American who is currently pursuing a dual degree in economics and communications at the University of Michigan, represented Pakistan in New York Fashion Week while wearing Indian designer clothing.
In an Instagram post, Anisa shared excerpts from an interview she gave to Vogue and wrote, “When an interviewer says, “You’re representing Pakistan, but walking in NYFW wearing an Indian designer’s style.” My reply: “If wearing rhinestones, 6 inch heels, and false eyelashes will bring people of South Asian descent together despite politics and conflict throughout history, then I’ll gladly wear these designs. If fashion is the first step to unity and ending war and violence then I’ll proudly represent this.”
Writing that she was raised in a household that meshed the dichotomy of Pakistani and American cultures seamlessly, she said that the contrast taught her a valuable lesson on, “how my beliefs may be challenged by others’ views and that compassion and respect are the tools to build the bridge between varying ways of life.”
Offering details about her childhood, Anisa wrote, “Following the footsteps of my older sister as a competitive figure skater, which is where I grew fond of various music styles. Watching my older sister skate to a Carlos Santana medley inspired me to pick up the guitar at the age of eight. Since then, I have never sat it down. As the youngest, I often felt like my voice was drowned out by my older siblings and music was where I was heard. Expressing myself through lyrics allowed me to connect with others.”
Her profile on Miss Grand International stated that she was proud that now as Miss Grand Pakistan, she was using her voice through music to inspire, educate, and empower individuals in medical rehabilitation centers, those at the brunt of the environmental crisis, and females who have limited access to educational opportunities.