Mom Power! Alyzeh Gabol

Two-year-old Miraal beams with delight as Alyzeh reaches out to her in spontaneity – truly a sight to behold, for anyone who is present. The affectionate exchange between the mother and daughter is a pure personification of a mother’s love. A camera-friendly baby, Miraal loves being photographed as she shrugs past her mom to pose for clicks. “Miraal is growing and knows how to dress up. She knows about her hairstyle and chooses what to wear, in fact she is posing so well,” gushes the 23-year-old mother Alyzeh Gabol, as we chat ahead of the photo shoot. Alyzeh, who is a successful model and face of numerous fashion labels, is also a constant feature of Karachi and Lahore’s fashion runways. Being a young working mom, it is a tough call for her, but she is pushing boundaries and setting a new precedence for working moms in the field of fashion. In this Mother’s Day edition, MAG catches up with the pretty lass to talk about the joys of motherhood, managing her professional commitments and how she continues to look picture-perfect. Excerpts:

"So how did you feel when you were expecting?” I intriguingly ask. “When I found out about the pregnancy, it was a surprise because it wasn’t planned. There were no such signs so I realised very late. It was exciting, for I did not know how to feel to have a life grow within me. It felt like a miracle,” Alyzeh tells excitedly.

A few eventful months later, there she was – Alyzeh’s bundle of joy, firmly grasped in her arms. “When I woke up after the operation, I just wanted to see her face. The feelings, when I held her in my arms, cannot be described. I was just looking at her toes and hands, and kept thinking that moments ago she was within me. She was a blessing and I felt proud of myself to have actually given birth to a little human being.”

It is a fact that the bond between a mother and child is matchless. Ask any expectant woman whether she wants a girl or a boy, the response would be nothing different from what Alyzeh had to say. “I only prayed for a healthy and beautiful baby. My daughter is beautiful and means everything to me. It wouldn’t have made any difference, even if I had a boy,” she asserts as we shift our conversation to Alyzeh’s own childhood as well as her relationship with her mother.

How was she as a kid herself? “I was a quiet and chubby kid who was not naughty at all. she reveals. Alyzeh shares a vivid memory from her days as a little girl. “When I was a kid, we were in London for a holiday and my parents took me to a play area where I hid and they couldn’t find me. For 20 minutes, they kept searching for me. Obviously, they were really upset and concerned. They eventually found me but I realised my mistake of annoying them for no reason because my mom was really upset. I will always remember what I did back then,” she reminisces her quirky childhood days, and says how she can now empathise with her mother if Miraal did the same thing.

Being the only child of her parents, she received all the love and affection without having to share it with a sibling. It’s no surprise that she has been pampered a lot by both her parents, especially her mother. “She is not just a mother to me, she is my friend,” Alyzeh divulges, adding, “I have a very close bond with my mother and share everything with her because she is my biggest support.”

Alyzeh tells me how she wouldn’t sleep without her mom by her side and how her mom was always worried about her. “My mother used to be very possessive about me. If I ever fell or tripped, she would start crying,” Alyzeh recalls. However, she is now fully aware of what a mother goes through when she sees her child in pain while talking about her own daughter’s vulnerable moment after a minor injury. “Miraal once fell and hit her eye. I couldn’t even touch her, instead, I started to freak out, while Miraal kept quiet. Since her father was there, he put us in the car and asked me to relax. So, I am a hundred times more sensitive than my mother was. I can now understand her pain and associate my feelings with her.”

Donning a cute Donald Duck costume, her daughter Miraal trots here and there – a cute distraction indeed, which urged me to ask how she toggles between her professional commitments and her time with the two-year-old. “It’s really hurtful at times. It’s not a good thing but I obviously have to work for her and want her to grow up knowing that I am her mother whom she can look up to and be proud of,” Alyzeh states in an overwhelming tone.

Pakistan’s fashion industry is budding and so are the models; with Alyzeh being one of the best in her craft, it is undeniable how challenging it could be for her to prioritise both work and family, especially with Miraal, who at this stage constantly seeks attention. “I do not prolong my stay unnecessarily; while travelling for shoots and fashion weeks, I try flying back the same day, if possible. I never spend an extra hour if it’s not for work. Since I am based in Lahore, modelling requires me to travel almost every week,” Alyzeh talks about her hectic schedule and spills the beans on her time management skills. Keeping that in mind, I was curious to know how accepting is the industry towards moms like Alyzeh who are always on their toes despite having a family behind. “They (the fashion industry) are very accepting in that sense. No one has ever put me down for being a mother or refused an offer. In fact, they appreciate that I am managing everything so well at the same time.

“Whenever I leave her back home she cries and it breaks my heart. Sometimes, I cry during flights knowing that I’ll be away from her. The only person I can trust with Miraal is my mother, as she loves and takes care of her a lot,” she notes hoping her daughter will appreciate the sacrifices once she grows up.

Like any other mother, Alyzeh also dreams about her daughter’s future. “I want her to be best in whatever she does. I’m not the kind of mother who will force her to do anything. I just want her to make me proud,” the young mommy exclaims with aspiration in her demeanour.

For Alyzeh, the best thing about being a mother is knowing, “you will not grow up old alone. You’ll have someone to take care of you when you are not doing well.”

The supermodel loves spending time at home. She takes her toddler out for rides and a fast food chain that she is a fan of. Being a super busy mom, Alyzeh is bound to travel, however, she communicates with Miraal over calls and Facetime, whenever possible. I ask if Miraal is anything like her? “No!” snap comes a reply, “Miraal is very naughty, stubborn, clever and intelligent, she knows what she is doing, while I was a dumb child, she is nothing like me,” shares the proud supermum, who might look sharp while walking the fashion runway but surrenders to her daughter’s quirky habits.

Alyzeh stands tall in the league of many other moms who juggle between their careers as well as their personal lives, which is a testament to their dedication towards both their work and family. Her words of appreciation for such moms who are in any way struggling to raise their kids are undoubtedly encouraging. “My message goes out to all the mothers who are struggling to raise their kids alone. They are strong and can perform the role of both, a father and a mother, simultaneously and be good at it. Children of such mothers are the strongest; they grow up being tough and can deal with hurdles because they have seen their mothers fight all their life. Such women should focus on making their kids proud and work on them, instead of giving up,” Alyzeh advises while ending our tête-à-tête with a quote that inspires her. “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”