| 31 May 2017
| NOP Bureau National


Exclusive Interview with Filipina Transgender Model Sophia Abella by Anjali Mehta

Filipina transgender and internationally known Model Sophia Abella is a great fan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I really appreciate the changes what you have made for growth of India and entire world is talking about your success” she said in a letter to PM Modi recently. And at the same time she also asked -“You have really done great work, but when I see the kind life of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people live in India and not accepted as part of society, I really feel sad”.

Who is the Sophia Abella? It will be interesting to know about her.

"Personified B-L-A-H. Mx advocate athletic damsel. Asiance blogger, volunteer, and insurgent. Vivid taste of Scorpion sting. Pristine water nymph of Salmacis cream. Bollywood lamb trapped in a lion's body. Some say I'm provocative transsexual woman with brains and looks, and I'm always up for trying new”, reads Sophia Abella’s official website www.iamsophiaabella.com . Sophia Abella is a Bindass model, sultry and ‘dare-to-bare’ describes her best. An outrageous package of boldness, wisdom and glamour stunt and hungry for harmonizing efficiency, savvy systems and life hacks makes her a signature model.

Excellence changes and so she is WOW all the time. Slowly and steadily she has made a place for herself in the world of Modelling. She adores Heidi Klum, Sophia Loren, and Marilyn Monroe.

ANJALI MEHTA caught SOPHIA ABELLA in Mumbai from her very busy schedules to talk about her life, journey and her dream to act in Bollywood films and also about her letter to PM Modi. Here are the excerpts:

1. How many you have dated in your life is the experience speak in your blog or the outside scenario?

I have started blogging for a few years now. I had to do a lot of self-assessment and evaluation to find what truly makes me happy. I came to realize that I have to be self-assured first in order for me to genuinely love someone else. Having that special someone laying next to you each morning is a wonderful feeling but finding the right one does not always come easy. It is my personal choice not to wake up each day with a man next to me because of numerous reasons and I do not feel the need to explain them. When you are a transgender, especially if you are in Asia, traveling is our escape to divert our attention, to be some place else where we don’t face a world full of judgments and criticisms. As such, we like to migrate to the US and UK, where equality is best practiced and observed. We find that dating websites are better tools albeit unconventional, than traditional courtship. This is because if you are a transgender, it is not always easy to be approached by men; men who would genuinely like to go out with you and have coffee. We feel unsafe to entertain strangers on a face-to-face level when it is still on a premature stage. So to overcome this impasse, we venture on online dating sites specifically tailored for transgender people. In this day and age, the availability of various media channels such as Skype, Facetime, and Whatsapp, is always an added convenience. That’s how our dating experience evolves- we exchange phone numbers and go from there. Imagine how difficult it was back in the day when we merely have bbm messenger and the like. The men I meet and have social engagements with remain anonymous and I intend to keep their names undisclosed to protect their identity. I do not particularly plan to have a relationship with someone; it just naturally happens.

2.Being a transgender keeping you on front as you have feeling of man and women?

I would say that I have the best of both worlds. If I look at my life now, I feel that I always have the advantage because I see things from both man and woman’s side. I recall a book that I read before written by Steve Harvey called, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” and the title always seems fitting to me because that how I always perceive things. In my position, I was born with male genitalia but I grew up with female cerebral and cognitive orientation; I always have the advantage to understand the opposite sex- why men lie, why men flirt, why men do this and that and among other things. To me, I can naturally understand the men’s behavior so it is always an advantage.

3. What force to you to be transgender?

Even though choosing ones gender is more of sociological, I must say that there was no driving force for me to be a transgender. I have been through a lot to reach this point in my life and I realized that I should just embrace what God has chosen me to be. I am just as human as other people and just as special as any masterpiece. When I was in grade school, I had a lot of questions about my sexuality, why I was different from the other boys, why I liked things that concern the girls etc. It was then that my journey began. I do not think anyone can be forced or prepared to what they become. It’s what you are. Accept and live by it.

4. Being a woman is a tough job in 21st century but it is more bitter and harsh for transgender. So what do you think about this?

Women nowadays are more career-oriented. Their perspectives have changed in the last decade or so. Western culture practices a balance between career and family. They support equality. It is hard on the other hand for hetero people. As a transgender, the challenge is double, even triple. Today, I chase career over love. Love will find you. Believe in your fate. Work harder and be positive.

5. Have you received any reply from Prime Minister to your open letter?

I have been doing this on my own way to express and educate the world. I don’t need to be a Bollywood superstar, or Miss Universe for that matter to raise awareness. I use my own social website, to educate men on how to respect women more so the transgender women. Show your compassion and empathy with or without camera. I guide them how to approach a lady, and advise more effective ways of communicating. As people become more impersonal these days, it does not mean that one has the liberty to ask any questions, as is always the case online. Always think first what to say and there are words better left unsaid.

It is not my cup of tea to appear desperate or to be an attention-seeker like some people that we see on social media. I long for substantial, significant and powerful message to inspire and empower others. It has always been my genuine intention to reach out to my followers and encourage them to read my blogs or my Twitter/Instagram. I am aware of the same sensitive issues is prevalent in India. MODI is a very powerful man, and people chose him as their leader. I fervently hope MODI has the heart to listen and to give the LGBT community a chance to live freely, have equal rights, access to medical facility and healthcare. The LGBT needs more help as they face challenges because of family rejection and social norms. I am hopeful that a day would come that we have a law in place to protect the rights of this community. I believe this will make India an even more peaceful and better place to live in.

6.Why should society accept Transgender?

Societal acceptance is what we transgender seek to materialize in the near future but as different societies progress, we hope to at least feel acknowledged and welcomed. As I mentioned earlier, we are just as human as everybody else. We should not feel alienated, displaced and indifferent. We should be treated equally the same as straight people and we deserve fair treatment from the government, society and peers. We are not lawbreakers. If people care for other living organisms like dogs such that they give them food, love and shelter, why can’t they do the same for fellow human beings? Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people – we are all equal in eyes of our Creator. Transgender people are kind-hearted and by far very talented. It is not about your gender orientation but rather; it is about YOU as a person.

7.You talked about LGBT issues and human rights in India, so what do you think about Triple Talaaq?

In my opinion, it is absolutely unacceptable in any culture; any women in any society regardless of their culture should fight for their rights because this rudimentary rights matter. Triple Talaaq violates the very basic and essence of human rights hence it is consequential that this must be banned.

8. What made you think Btown is your career option?

- I love India and being in btown is a good starting point. I think people have various misconceptions of my purpose in coming to India. In my situation, my sexuality, my sense of visibility to understand people’s behavior especially people from India project a subtle reminder that Kamasutra and Transgender are evident in Hindu Mythology. India is so rich in culture as it is now; it has so much history. To jettison the word Transgender is impudent. I believe utilizing btown to expose people in the Transgender world is a good vessel. I hope everybody gets to understand that Transgender people need love and respect and we would like to be warmly welcomed in the Indian culture.

9. Indian cinemas has accept you with great heart and other end you have view of Indian society don’t accept transgender? don’t you think you are conflicting your views?

- I like character role. That way I can showcase the natural and innate artist in me-- genuine, passionate, and real star to create a revolution in the Indian cinemas and across the globe. I like to face challenges and I have countless of stories to tell. I would like to pose as a living example and inspire many lives in the world especially in the LGBT community. I would like to show them that if I could do it then they could do too. It took me years to master the rope of this industry, to understand how castings work, auditioning for roles, working with producers, modeling and the like and it was not that easy especially Bollywood. So I thought what I could do as a stepping-stone is to enter South Indian cinema. I like to do a remake or something magic like Baahubali film because South filmmakers produce undeniably out of these world movies than Bollywood. It is also a common knowledge that it is the main stream of glamour and super stars. So if you like to use your skills, gift and talent then go for south movies.

10. PM Modi has been saying Make in India, so this made you come to BOllywood?

No, not at all. I came to bollywood before he was elected as Prime Minister. I am aware of bollywood since 2010 and I wrote a letter to Narendra Modi three years ago.

11. Sophia Abella have a feeling of women do you ever think to give birth to a child? and having feeling of mother?

It is highly unlikely for a transgender male to give birth to a child but adoption is always a good option. Guinness World record has one Trans Man.

12. If you are not a transgender then who you will be?

Good question. I would like to think, perhaps Miss Universe? I grew up shy; I was not always talkative and open. Only when I came to accept my circumstances did I improve on my social skills and here I am now.

Website www.iamsophiaabella.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/iammisssophiaabella
Twitter www.twitter.com/sophiaabella
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/iamsophiaabella/

LinkedIn Open Letter to MODI 2015

Here is the copy of letter written by Sophia Abella:

Namaste Narendra Modi Sir,

I am a transgender model living in the Philippines and I always had a dream to act in Bollywood films.

I really appreciate the changes what you have made for growth of India and entire world is talking about your success. You have really done great work but when I see the kind life of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people live in India and not accepted as part of society, I really feel sad.

Is it our fault if we are born this way?

Why India cannot allow same sex marriages and accept LGBT, the way US did?

Why Indian transsexuals are not accepted as part of society? Why they can't get education and a proper job?

Why do they have to live like a beggar?

You have done a great job in taking India towards progress and entire world appreciate your efforts. My request to you is do something transgender people in India. Give them life, get them acceptance in society. You are the man what India needed for change and I hope you will take bold moves and accept the reality and make changes in law.

I am planning to do a Bollywood film - Love Actually, which will feature a love story of transsexual woman, I am not sure if conservative society of India will allow this film to be released.

I am not sure if Indian government will allow me to fly to India and allow me to work on this film and if Indian Censor Board allow this film to be released but I am still willing to make this effort to do this film and I hope it will bring change and might help transgender community in India to fight for a better life.

I hope this message will reach to you and I will get support from you and people in India.

Sincerely, Sophia Abella

LGBT India and Community video 2015 https://youtu.be/wJzlRmEPh40

India edition Glamcob Magazine 2013

Contact Sophia Abella - misssophiaabella@gmail.com

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