BY: KRISTINA RAMCHARRAN
Trying to make it big in a city like Toronto can be quite the challenge. With so much talent and new faces in the entertainment industry, leaving a mark requires full dedication. And for Toronto native Aneesa Badshaw, making moves in the industry is not just a side venture: it’s her main priority.
In fact, Aneesa never dreamed of a career in the arts until pursuing her dreams was her only option. After her father passed away in a car accident back in Guyana, Aneesa was trying to make ends meet with her mom and provide financially to keep them afloat.
“At the time I was working at a burger restaurant just flipping burgers,” says Aneesa. This was her tipping point in her career. During that time, she was constantly being contacted by a modelling agency, which she deemed as “sketchy” since she didn’t have previous agency experience.
She later realized the agency was legitimate and took a leap of faith as she began her modelling career. “The time where I really needed money, I started doing extra work,” says Aneesa, as she worked as an extra in various media like TV and music videos.
As her modelling career developed, her involvement in music videos grew even more. Before she knew it, she had been featured in music videos for major artists like Drake, Baka and Karl Wolf. But as that progressed, she felt that something was missing in the music industry.
“I love when artists’ give me a part where I can actually do something,” says Aneesa on her favourite part of shooting music videos. As an upcoming music artist herself, she would like to create her own music video where she, “wants to at least have a skit, where there’s a story to tell.”
Yes, that’s right. Apart from modelling and acting Aneesa is also working on a music career.
On her influences as a rising woman in the music industry, Aneesa credits Aaliyah and Keisha Cole as her main inspirations and references Aaliyah as an important style icon for her. “I’m still stuck in that 90s vibe,” she says, regarding both her style and music tastes.
Her interest in the music industry sparked as she discovered more to the modelling world. After going to China to participate in the Miss World Canada pageant, she soon saw the ugly side to the world of modelling.
At first, the pageant trip was great, as she recalls meeting a lot of interesting models. But later on, she encountered a group of models with a stereotypical model attitude. “They started dissing everyone when they walked in. They were like, this girl’s too fat, this girl can’t walk, and then they started stealing from people!”
This experience was a wakeup call for Aneesa as she realized the industry wasn’t all glitter and gold. “As soon as those other girls came in, they killed it for me.”
Unlike those models, Aneesa enjoys modelling and staying true to herself, thus resulting in lots of creative expressions. She even styles her own makeup and hair for her photoshoots. “I can basically be myself in my own project,” she says on adding her own flair.
Aneesa’s formula for being a strong woman in the entertainment industry includes lots of hard work, sacrifices and perseverance. She notes that many doubted her choice when she decided to pursue modelling full time. “Everybody would just be like modelling is not a real job.”
With all of her heart in it, she was determined to prove to those around her that it was, in fact, a real job. “When people do it, they don’t do it to the fullest, says Aneesa on most people pursuing the arts. “You basically have to drop everything and just do it.”
Currently, Aneesa is working with Reggae artist Deewun in creating some new music. “I see progress for sure, it’s just getting better and better for me.” She credits all of her current successes to one simple phrase she believes in, “I don’t take no for an answer.”