Multi-hyphenate Athina Kamarudin has various professions under her belt. Despite having dipped her toes in a medley of industries, the content creator and dancer is destined to be a model — at least, that was my thought when I first met her during our feature shoot. “I’ve always loved being in front of the camera, but I’ve never had the chance to pursue it professionally until my debut at the Alia Bastamam show.” During Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2022, Athina swept attendees off their feet with her unapologetic panache — her irresistible charisma landed her two modelling contracts with The Models Lab KL and Who Knows Models.
It was a gloomy Thursday; rain was pouring when we met with her for the shoot. However, the inclement weather did not hold her back from pulling off a storming act. Once the downpour subdued, Athina got down to business in a heartbeat and struck pose after pose like a veteran, making modelling seem like child’s play when, in fact, she just embarked on her modelling career last year.
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In less than a year, she has chalked up several major achievements — she signed with not one but two modelling agencies, fronted both international and local magazine covers, served up ineffable fashion shoots, walked for Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2023, and was awarded Women of the Year by a prestigious fashion title this year. “It was an honour to work with such amazing people in the industry. I have always been thankful whenever an opportunity came knocking at my door, whether I crossed their mind for that specific idea or people offered it to me as they believed I’m good at what I’m doing.”
Going for the brass ring, Athina’s modelling journey has not always been a bed of roses. Like many models who made a name for themselves, she faced spiteful remarks before coming through to be one of the most coveted models today. “Growing up, I’ve always been a little bigger and taller than everyone around me. It was funny because when I looked at old photos, I found myself looking great and healthy, but the public made me feel otherwise. During my career, there were times when people who worked with me found it easy to put me down with just a simple comment. It was infuriating because, most of the time, we were not even friends or acquaintances for them to speak of me. Conversations about bodies should never be touched, ever.”
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As time passed, her priorities were at the top of her agenda — she learned that her happiness should take precedence over others. “I’ve always stayed true to myself. I nitpicked sometimes, but I gave up eventually because it gets tiring when you cater to other people’s happiness over your own. You’ll never find joy within yourself over time.”
Regardless of her gloomy get-go, Athina Kamarudin is undoubtedly a rising face that glows with the light of a supernova. The promising talent is game for a bright future, setting her sights on the international platform. “I do want to test out the market elsewhere. Maybe Jakarta since I have already worked there from time to time. I’ve been contemplating this idea for a year because of what-ifs. Other than that, I will keep doing what I do openly and unapologetically until I become recognisable enough in the scene. Good things happen when we least expect it.”
Photography Jaya Khidir
Grooming & Hair Jenn Teh
Outfit Jacket, MYSD; Dress, boots, Athina’s own