Model Mushk Kaleem opens up about her battle with body dysmorphia, colourism

Model Mushk Kaleem opens up about her battle with body dysmorphia, colourism

She also spoke about her father being kidnapped 10 years ago and never being seen again.
08 May, 2023

Model Musk Kaleem opened up about a lot of personal struggles she has faced in her life, such as her father’s tragic disappearance, society and the fashion industry’s obsession with fair skin and how she dealt with body dysmorphia in a recent interview with Frieha Altaf.

Kaleem said that her father was kidnapped 10 years ago while working for an American cargo shipping company in Nigeria. “He was kidnapped on February 22, 2013, so this year actually completes 10 years of him being missing. He was taken hostage, they took him off his ship and transferred him to a pirate ship,” she said.

“They were Somalian pirates. Back in 2013, I remember I was in my second semester of university and we found out that his ship had been hijacked and the ship he was in broke down in the middle of the sea. We knew this because there was another Pakistani man on the ship who managed to come back,” she explained.

The model said that a day earlier, her mother told her that her father’s death certificate had been made “because in Pakistan, you can’t get the paperwork done for a missing person that easily.”

When the host asked why she hadn’t spoken about this before, the model responded that she didn’t want any pity. “I have worked really hard to be where I am. I have come so far because I carry merit with me. I don’t want people to say that the girl needs a break because she has been through so much. I haven’t been through a lot, I am very privileged. This isn’t the defining moment of my life, it’s just one part,” she said.

Kaleem also spoke about the importance of financial independence. “I talk about this (the importance of financial independence) so that people realise this is an important aspect to think about for everyone at every age.”

The model was also vocal about lighter skin insecurity in the modelling industry and society in general. “I was only nine years old when my grandmother suggested I use a fairness cream,” she said.

“What really ticked me off was when I was getting my makeup done, the photographer came in the room and first applied the foundation that I had on my face on my hand, which was the same as my skin tone and then he applied a foundation that was seven to eight shades lighter than my skin tone and said, ‘Apply this on her arms and legs’. I got really pissed off and I wanted to leave,” Kaleem narrated.

However, she said she has mostly worked with people who wanted a tan skinned model. Kaleem previously posted on Instagram that she will no longer entertain clients who ask her to ‘whiten up’ for shoots. “Can we just say #DarkAndProud?”

The model also revealed that in the initial years of her career, she was insecure about her weight. Kaleem previously opened up about her experience with severe body dysmorphia. During the interview, she added, “No matter what size I was, what I ate, I always felt I was overweight. Even though I was only 48kg because I had body dysmorphia.

“I stopped looking at myself in the mirror because I was so scared. I stopped taking showers. It was so bad that I was depressed because of it.”

She said that her depression reached a stage where she couldn’t get up or even more for almost 20 hours.

“It was the fame, money and validation,” which caused it. “I was taking fat burners to lose weight and my brother caught me. After that, I went to therapy, changed my social circle, and got out of a bad relationship.”

In a society where people find it far too easy to judge someone by looking at their public persona, it’s important to look beyond the surface and realise that you can never know what another person has gone through. Kudos to the model for opening up about her struggles and life to motivate those who are going through something similar, especially since not many artists talk about body dysmorphia.