Published August 21, 2008

Mix of both the worlds!

Farzana Ahmad

  Bibi Russel, a Bengali model-turned-fashion designer is known in international fashion industry as a woman who markets handmade bags, clothes and shoes to the Western world next to Armani and Versace. She is an inspiration for Farzana Ahmad, who has met with Bibi at a store in Jackson Heights.

Farzana is a stunning but humble young lady often seen in New York fashion scene as a fresh face among a growing number of South Asian models. At American Desi Fair and Festival, she was an alluring and dazzling model that caught eye of many who admired her performance. In most of the fashion shows, she comes with her elder sister who acts as her critic and manager. She has appeared in number of different commercials also.

At home, Farzana was taught to speak Bengali before she could learn English at school. She graduated from Fordham University this summer in Marketing and Management and aspires to be an entrepreneur like her parents. South Asian culture is ingrained in her. Just as she loves desi food and clothes and, of course, Salman Khan (since the age of 3), she believes, she fits into the American business world also. She calls herself “mix of both the worlds.”

 Lack of South Asian event coordinators who can bring out the best of South Asian culture remains a farfetched idea for American event coordinators who do not fully understand or appreciate the South Asian culture. Farzana feels that she can fill this void for the South Asian community. She, therefore, aims to go into catering business

Like many, she holds that South Asian community is divided into small fractions. In the absence of centralized leadership, “we’re not united,” she said thoughtfully. If these small groups can come together, she feels, “we can hold much larger societies, clubs and events as Indian, Bengali or Pakistani culture are not that different.”

At Fordham University, she was thrilled to be involved in FUSE, a South Asian club. The question about FUSE fills her with passion, whereby she describes it as “a wonderful wonderful entity.” She eventually became the President of FUSE. FUSE attempted to bring together the South Asian student bodies of various New York colleges, however due to lack of leadership and time, the effort could not move beyond planning stage. South Asians, at Fordham, are united under FUSE.

If you are thinking that Farzana was involved in extracurricular activities only, you’d be surprised to learn that she has interned with a Human Resources Manager at Albert Einstein Medical Institute and at Rockefeller University. Although “job field is not that great because of the economy,” she has had quite a few offers that would lead her to achieve her dream.

As a Muslim, she has not come across any ethnic or racial bias, however she feels that majority of Americans are liberal and the racist comments are made by a few only. “We’re not conservative conservative at home, we follow, we practice Islam and all that,” but her parents would be perfectly fine with her right to choose a life partner for herself.