The Pursuit of Happiness

Despite her cushy job as an accountant, Khai Kamaruddin decided to start a second career as a plus size model. Her reason: just because she likes it.

Written by Fateen Ariff

Even with her soft-spoken words and traces of shy smiles, there’s something quietly intimidating about Khairunnisha Kamaruddin (or Khai, as she prefers) when you first meet her. Perhaps it’s the arch of her brows or her killer cheekbones or the way she carries herself – regardless, any of these can make you think, “Wow. This is one fierce queen.”

And she knows it, too.

Love Thyself

“I like fashion and I like taking pictures of myself. Also, I feel like I’m actually quite pretty,” she adds with a laugh when asked why she decided to delve into modelling. Some may find this answer off-putting but we love the confidence! In a world where people's self-esteem can be shattered due to preconceived notions of how they're supposed to look, Khai's attitude about herself is refreshing. For so long, women have kept their heads down and played by the rules - and that goes double for curvy girls. They've been told to look thin, to feel flawed, and to remain unseen.

Yet just in her twenties, Khai has managed to do something so many women strive for years to achieve - she's silenced the external voices and has stopped dissecting her shortcomings. More importantly, she's not only learned to accept her body the way it is, she's celebrating it the way she likes (and making some side income along the way, to boot!).

How did she get here? "I went to boarding school when I was very young. I also travelled around the world with my school orchestra team. All these made it necessary for me to learn how to be independent and trust my own abilities. These experiences have given me the courage to try new things. If you don't try, you won't know."

Of course, independence doesn't mean that she's alone. Fortunately for her, Khai has a solid support system to help her should she ever falter. "I get a lot of compliments and support from my friends and family regarding my appearance. So that also boosted my conviction to show people that we are beautiful in our own ways and sizes. It's not just about displaying my looks and styles - it's about selling the confidence, too."

I'm a full-time hustler; between my accounting and modelling, I don't plan on stopping either.

Shake It Off

While Khai has become more self-assured, she's not unrealistic. She's aware that she may not be everyone or every brand's cup of tea.

"As a novice model, going to dozens of castings and receiving rejections are one of the challenges which can harm my self-esteem and motivation," she shares. "However, I understand that rejections are normal and they play a vital role to my progress as a curvy model. I believe that as long I'm determined and my spirit is willing, I should never stop!"

"When life gives you curves - flaunt 'em.

Happier Than Ever

There's a saying that if you do the things you love, you'll never work for a day.

But Khai understands that this isn't always true. In order to do the things she likes and for the sake of a happier life, she's willing to put in the effort. To get where she wants to be, she's made changes in behaviour and her surroundings. Very significantly, she knows that happiness comes from within, and that she has to tame the negative thoughts and embrace every day with zeal and optimism.

This almost zen-like unbothered philosophy isn't only enviable - it's darn right inspiring.

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.