From the catwalk to a first class business portofolio
SASHA AQUIL-From the catwalk to a first class business portofolio
We speak to Italian entrepreneur Sasha Aquil about how she has been able to branch out of modelling to build an equally-attractive business portfolio.
There are certain clichés within society that refuse to die, even when the facts are overwhelmingly stacked against them. One of the worst offenders must be that models are lacking in intelligence.
The fashion industry is, after all, one of the most competitive, and ruthless, sectors to operate in. Models need to have business smarts alongside beauty if they stand any chance of succeeding in the long term.
Italian entrepreneur Sasha Aquil’s career to date perfectly embodies this reality. Since she first stepped out onto the catwalk some 15 years ago, Sasha has risen above the competition to become a go-to model for famed brands, retailers and designers including Ferrari, Harley-Davidson, RossyMerry, SebbyZaccoandKorn Taylor.
While constantly in demand for fashion shows and shoots across the world, Sasha has also diversified her services so as not to be entirely dependent on modelling. For the past decade she has been building a second business channel as an international personal shopper and wardrobe consultant, drawing upon her contacts within the fashion world to establish her client base.
For Sasha, her entrepreneurial acumen represents the continuation of a proud family tradition, as she explains.
“My grandmother was an independent woman who brought up three children on her own, including my mother, while setting up a profitable tailoring business.
“It’s thanks to her that I developed an interest in fashion as a child, and likewise that I knew that I could achieve my own success when I grew up. She was an incredible woman and a true inspiration. It has been a genuine honour maintaining the family tradition.”
Sasha, however, might never have entered the fashion industry if her parents had got their wish. To please them, she studied science at university, though quickly came to realise that her heart lay elsewhere.
Describing herself first and foremost as a “people person”, she saw a future in the dry arena of microscopes and test tubes as “a cage” that would stifle her creativity and passion.
“I had to do what I loved,” she explains, “and what I loved was fashion”. Despite initial parental misgivings, Sasha’s unique style soon opened doors for her. Not in Italy, however, but in the Middle East, where she found employment as a hostess at premier events with some of the world’s hottest motoring brands including Qatar MotoGP, Ferrari and Harley-Davidson.
Sasha Aquil started out in the fashion industry as a hostess for premier sporting events.
She said: “In the Middle East it is easier to gain a foothold and establish contacts than in Europe. People judge you by your personality, and as a human being, rather than only by your qualifications and success.
“They believe in destiny, and when you starting out in any industry that belief that you WILL achieve is all that you can bring to the table.
“I was given a chance to prove myself that simply wouldn’t have happened back home, and I made sure to repay that faith by giving my all to any project that came my way.”
It was exciting and glamorous work, but even in those early days Sasha made sure to keep a level head and one eye on the future. Despite a busy schedule that required her to travel back and forth between the U.A.E, Bahrain and Qatar, she made time to train as a facial therapist and saloon hairdresser. This, in turn, led to new work opportunities with a number of luxury spas in Europe, the Middle and Far East.
In 2009, Sasha branched out into acting, appearing in award-winning short film ‘The Choice Is Yours’, directed by Khalifa Al-Obaidly and screened at the inaugural Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar.
Sasha Aquil has worked worldwide as a catwalk model with many leading brands and designers.
Since then she has continued to tread the boards on occasion, but it was in the following year that she found her second true calling as a personal stylist.
“At first it came about through personal contacts and word of mouth. Women had seen me at fashion shows and had expressed afterwards how they would love to find their own individual style, if only they had the time and know-how.
“Middle Eastern countries are renowned for their wealth and there weren’t the same barriers to engaging a personal shopper or wardrobe consultant as there were back home at the time.
“I made sure that my clients were delighted with the results of my service, which transformed their look and made them feel every inch as elegant as a catwalk model. A happy client is going to recommend your service to her friends, and that’s just what happened.
“Over the past 10 years, however, the concept of hiring a personal stylist has come to be more readily accepted in Europe so that has opened new markets for me.”
Sasha has just launched her services internationally, through her new website www.sashaaquil.com, for the first time making them available to women in the UK and across the EU. As she is now based back in Italy, this has only been made possible by advances in internet communication and real-time video streaming.
While her modelling work shows no signs of coming to a close—with an appearance at the world-famous Milan Fashion Week in 2019, working with designer Korn Taylor, being a personal career highlight—Sasha is now investing the majority of her time and energy into her personal stylist services.
She said: “I’m blessed in the sense that I love what I do, and seeing the beaming smiles on the faces of my clients at the end of a project is the ultimate reward.
“It has, of course, taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, but to me, being an entrepreneur is all about leaving your comfort zone and embracing new challenges.
“I have always tried to move forward irrespective of the obstacles, rejections and failures that try to get in the way. I am the conductor of my own life, and I strive in everything I do to do it with passion.
Sasha has successfully diversified her business interests, becoming an international personal shopper and wardrobe consultant.
“With this attitude I have been able to seize opportunities when they come, and multiply the options available to me, making the most of them while continuing to learn and become better at what I do every single day.
“There have been sacrifices, but without them no miracles will happen. You have to be disciplined and invest in yourself to build your reputation. It all pays off in the end.”
Coming from a family of independent, determined women, Sasha is keen to see more female entrepreneurs create their own destiny just like she has.
Her motto is “Being a woman is an adventure which needs courage that will never end”, and she offers three key pieces of advice to anyone wanting to find their own entrepreneurial style:
“Be self-confident and be open to the world. Develop your ideas and realise them and, most importantly, never fear new challenges.”
To book Sasha Aquil as a personal shopper or wardrobe consultant, visit www.sashaaquil.com