Girl, Uninterrupted

Tawhidur Rashid uncovers lesser-known chapters of Tangia Zaman Methila’s traveling adventures

The life of a Bangladeshi female model is no cakewalk. Even though it’s 2019, many of us still possess the wit and understanding of cavemen when it comes to showing proper respect to female models. Anyone pursuing a career in the media, particularly modeling, will be frowned upon; there are sure to be catcalls and many other unimaginable ordeals good enough to ruin one’s motivation to carry on. Tangia Zaman Methila is one brave soul who had time and again endured such agonies and kept rocking the ramp. Bold, beautiful and vivacious, Methila’s fierce nature to live life on her own terms has already earned her recognition among her peers. In spite of the many challenges, she has been proving her mettle at modeling. So what antidote does she use to shrug off all the unnecessary criticism? It’s traveling that often relaxes the muscles of her body already fatigued by long hours of standing and posing in front of the camera as well to refresh her mind cluttered with hectic schedules. “I often travel to explore myself,” she goes on to explain, “since we live in a country which is still opening up to the liberal ideas of lifestyles; whenever I go abroad, I feel like I am empowered with the freedom to go beyond the ordinary; by learning new things every second. Like a breath of fresh air, traveling enriches my mind and soul; rejuvenates my body like nothing else.”

Methila fondly recollects the memories of her days spent in the Maldives, a country she visited first and considers to be amazingly peaceful and worth visiting again and again. Of the two islands, she went to, she prefers the Centara Grand Island Resort. “The crystal blue color of the water looks so surreal! The quietness and the serene beauty of nature will leave a permanent impression in your mind,” a nostalgic expression on her face as she expounds her fond memories in the island country. But Methila is not only a nature-lover; cities with colorful nightlife and super shopping destinations also attract her. “As a model, I have to look beautiful and fit, and it’s an added advantage if the picture is taken in a beautiful location”, she explains why her travel destination varies from the affluent cities of Dubai to sandy beaches of Bali. “I believe the exotic experiences you earn by traveling reflects upon your face; the happiness adds to your already existing glam quotient. Whenever I am pent up with the drudgery of the daily life of a model, I seek for an opportunity to unwind by traveling.” At the same time, she mentions the benefits of mixing with the locals of a new place. “They are like conduits to a new world of learning for us”, she adds.

When asked about her favorites, Methila rejoices about her travels to Turkey, which, according to her can offer any international shopper a wonderful experience that isn’t too heavy on their wallets. “Being an independent woman, I have to afford all my expenses and henceforth Turkey, which is also very much updated with latest global fashions, is a heaven for me to pamper myself.” As for scenic destinations, Methila picks a place which might sound a tad offbeat to many. Her visit to a lake surrounded by big hills, away from Pokhara in Nepal still peeps into her mind. After three hours of rafting, she, along with her mates visited that lake during twilight and the jaw-dropping beauty of that sunset not only wowed her but also ignited a strong sense of gratefulness towards the Almighty for creating this world so beautifully.

What’s on Methila’s bucket list then? When asked, she explains that she usually doesn’t make list per se but following famous travelers on Instagram and travel blogs regularly, help her decide where to go next. She packs light when traveling alone; but whenever there is a company, who might help her with a photoshoot or shopping, she packs heavy. Western and comfortable are her go to attire on her travels.

Methila who is fond of adventure travelling reminisces about her skydiving experience in Dubai. After giving the bond-signature, a routine procedure for skydivers, she left a video message to her mother saying how much she loves her and her country and took the dare. “My eyes were shut with fear and at one point I somehow plucked up some courage and dived into the sky from the plane. At first, my eyes were closed; then the accompanying photographer called out to open my eyes and I did so. What an exhilarating experience it was! The hotness of Dubai was gone. While flying in the chilly air hundreds of meters above the scorching city, I felt like I had the world at my feet! Upon completion of the session, for five minutes I didn’t talk, I was just sitting quietly. I wanted that breath-taking feeling to last as long as possible,” she elaborates. She had very similar feelings when bungee jumping as well. Last but not least, she mentions the shark safari in Atlantis in Dubai, 9 feet under the water. “It was scary as hell and needs precise balancing. I took a two-day training session; still, I almost froze when I saw the shark.”

Is it safe for girls to travel solo in abroad? Methila has a straight forward answer to this question. “One has to be bold and confident enough to face any calamity that might come your way.” She talks about an awkward incident during her latest trip to Bali, where she along with her two other female friends were disturbed by some local goons. “At one point, I was so enraged that I slapped the guy holding the collar of his shirt. I had to make that call to save my friend, for whom it was a first of its kind experience. That makes me ponder over the safety issue of girls and women. Are we ever fully safe in any place in the world?” she retorts. However, she is thankful to her mother, who is a housewife has always encouraged her to live life to the fullest. “Having a life with little or no regret is important. We only live once and that’s why we should try to be happy as much as possible and traveling is just that perfect catalyst that can bring a smile on our face even when we are just sitting idle at home with the help of sweet memories,” she concludes.

*Photographs in Bali by Rony Rezaul