Former Miss Bangladesh Jessia Islam talks about life, social media and reveals a side of her very few know about
Being a former Miss Bangladesh, you need to conform to a particular image drawn up by society that is considered to be acceptable. How much of a pressure is that?
It's actually a lot of pressure because people judge on the basis of whatever I do. They expect a lot from me. They want me to do what they feel is right but when I don't, the amount of negative criticism I receive as backlash is crazy. Which is why, I can hardly do the things that I like and that's a lot of pressure! I gave myself a lot of time to think and I came to the realization that I am different and it's not possible for me to conform. I'm following my passion and dreams, and I sincerely hope that they will be able to respect me and like me for the person I am.
How do you deal with it?
I have been facing a lot of criticism recently on my social media – I come across negative comments almost every other day on my social media handles but never in real life. Whenever I come across my fans, they appear to be loving and very supportive, and in turn, motivate me to deal with the rest since I know that there are people who appreciate my work.
Since you mentioned social media, how hard do you think is it to be Miss Bangladesh in an era when social media presence is perhaps the most defining aspect for followers?
Honestly, after ecoming Miss Bangladesh, I've noticed a lot of things about our country on social media. Our people are much more active on such platforms than other countries which has both positives and negatives. Positive in the sense that it is much easier to reach the mass but on the flip side, people on social media are rarely doing anything productive, instead the are trolling public figures. When I was crowned the title, it took me some time to prepare myself mentally in order to face such blatant criticism and hatred.
And you were so young at the time...
Yes, only 18. It felt so harsh that I began questioning myself because my career started with so much hatred. But as time went by, I was able to balance it out and find my own way to deal with it.
Being Miss Bangladesh was never the ultimate goal in my life but surely one of the many, and I'm way too young to properly assess who I am.
A lot, actually. I don't know where to begin but right now, I am focusing on modelling since I love doing it and think that it's my passion.
Not right now but perhaps, sometime in future!
Are you planning to give back to society?
Nope. If I am to do anything for the poor, it will be only for my personal gratification. People can't stop talking about how I don't engage in social work but they hardly look at the back-end of how things happen. It takes a lot of planning, a team, appropriate finance and altogether a separate organization to do something with impact for society. I fell out of contact with the organizers which further hindered my scope to contribute to social work. But I am optimistic that I'll be able to give back to society in the future.
Rapid-fire with Jessia
Best dressed celebrity?
Shahtaj (Monira Hashem) and Safa (Kabir)
Your fashion icon?
Alessandra Ambrosio and Gigi Hadid
Photos: Riyad Ashraf, Styling: Baizid Haque Joarder, Make-up:Tarek Ajmed