W Magazine Videos

Albanian Model Arselajda Buraku on Immigrating and Embracing Her Body

While receiving a bold new haircut from celebrity hair stylist Garren, Arselajda Buraku tells stories about her native Albania and becoming a model in New York City.

Released on 5/1/2017

Transcript

00:00
I'm not completely free.
00:03
I can't go to Milan.
00:06
I cannot go to Paris.
00:07
I cannot go to London like the other girls.
00:09
(mysterious music)
00:14
Arselajda came in and she had gorgeous dark hair.
00:17
She has got these very exotic eyes.
00:20
She's a star in her own right,
00:22
but her hair was doing nothing.
00:27
I left my hometown.
00:29
I was actually living in the capital,
00:30
in Tirana in Albania,
00:33
and I left my family there.
00:35
I left my mom and my brother
00:37
because I had to find a better place.
00:41
It was an inner courage inside of me that made me move.
00:45
It was about finding freedom,
00:48
and also being an aspiring artist.
00:56
In Albania, people weren't allowed to express themselves,
01:02
even paint with a different theme.
01:06
I didn't have a platform where I was able
01:08
or even had the chance to show who I really was.
01:12
People didn't really understand me back there.
01:21
So after I had the chance to have certain documents
01:25
such as social security number,
01:27
or even work permit authorization,
01:30
I ran into my agency and then I just told them
01:34
that I want to model because
01:37
that's the way how I love to express myself.
01:39
I love my body.
01:40
I love the way my body moves,
01:42
and love the way how my hair waves.
01:48
And share my story in every picture that I'll take,
01:51
because every picture for me,
01:53
it's a moment of past, a moment of present,
01:57
and a hope for the future.
02:06
I discussed with her that I wanted to do
02:07
something quite severe.
02:08
I wanted to give her a very short heavy fringe,
02:11
sideburns, bob.
02:14
And to use her wave and dry it naturally.
02:17
And as soon as I cut the fringe, she just lit up,
02:20
and she became this character,
02:23
and I think it's gonna serve her well.