Attika Choudhary combines catwalk with journalism

Attika Choudhary Attika Choudhary is keen to promote Pakistani fashion

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It has been an "exceptionally crazy" week for fashion model and BBC journalist Attika Choudhary, who has the kind of hectic schedule which would make some career politicians on the campaign trail nervous.

But if this week has been chaotic, next week is likely to be frenzied, because Attika is hosting, presenting and reporting from Pakistan Fashion Week in London.

It's a rare hat trick of skills that she will need to juggle simultaneously.

"I didn't realise how much I had to do until you reminded me," she sighs, "but I will manage somehow. I doubt I will get much chance to sleep or even take a break over the two days but I have a great team behind me who will help."

Attika has been modelling for about 10 years, since her days at university. Like many models, she just fell into the profession and has carried on doing it ever since.

She admits it's rare for someone from her cultural background to be a mainstream model and says she was "very unsure" about it at first, but gave it a try after being encouraged by friends.

Fusion fashion

With this latest assignment she will be modelling fashion from top Pakistani designers, with an emphasis on fusing eastern and western styles. She hopes it will help to raise their profile, especially those designers who are just coming through.

"Pakistan fashion has gone global and showcases all that is positive about the country," she believes.

"Fashion is one of Pakistan's major exports; not only are fashionable clothes made in Pakistan for the European market, but they are now being designed by top designers who can hold their own in European fashion."

Attika says it's a "shame" that the event - which will open in Paris next year - isn't getting more coverage. "It has caused some controversy - one journalist wrote that if it were really that big it would be held during London Fashion Week. But everything big has small beginnings."

Although Attika is enthusiastic about raising the profile of Pakistani fashion, she's not as effusive about the allure of modelling. The glamour, she believes, is "overhyped".

"You get to work with some amazing people from all walks of life, to travel and wear some great outfits, and get your makeup done, but all the preparation can be a little tedious."

Newsreading ambition

She instead prefers what she calls the spontaneity of journalism and the adrenalin rush of presenting a show, interviewing celebrities and politicians, and interacting with fans.

A recent highlight was interviewing Bollywood stars Ranbir Kapoor and Pallavi Sharda.

"I had not done such an interview for some months and was quite nervous. So I prepared carefully, scripting all the questions, but when it came to the real interview it just took off and went incredibly well, although all my prepared questions flew out of the window. Sometimes it is the spontaneous that works," Attika says.

Before too long, the journalist hopes to add yet another skill to her repertoire - anchoring the news on television. It's ambitious, but it's an aspiration.

"I am hoping to get a crack at it," she says optimistically.

"I guess one of the unknowns is the autocue, but I am sure I can master that, given the practise. I would also love to present a chat show on television, probably because I love talking to people.'

Talking is something that comes naturally to her, Attika adds. "Many people have said that I am a good presenter, spontaneous, a bit quirky but never really at a loss for something to say."

It's a good thing, too, because she won't have a lot of time to think about it.

• Attika Choudhary will be reporting and presenting for BBC London, BBC World, the Urdu Service and the BBC Asian Network at Pakistan Fashion Week, 2-3 November

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