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Tuesday May 21, 2024

Tale of lost dreams and hopes

2022 Sep 14, 12:04,
Representative Image (Photo: Pinterest)

For this week's Women Wednesday, NepalNews spoke to a woman who tried to follow her goals in the glamorous world hidden behind pseudonym but ran into both mental and sexual harassment.

Jessica Lama,

Ever since I was a little girl, I've wanted to be Miss Nepal or work in modeling. I was aware of my desire to appear on television and gain notoriety. After finishing my schooling, I began looking for a chance to realize my ambition. A station at the time was hiring for positions such as producer and video jockey (VJ).

I got over the moon and decided to scroll for VJ without telling my parents. I was about 17 years old at the time and was doing my +2. I submitted an application on that platform, left my resume, and awaited a call. I received a call later and went to the interview.

As I waited with the other 3-4 girls, I grew impatient and kept resting my leg on the sofa because the interview was taking so long to complete. A producer named Sujan Bhattarai (pseudonym) approached me and started a chat with me a short while afterwards. He was only a few years older than me, so our ages were similar and our vibes matched. I then concluded my interview, returned home, found out I had been chosen, and even notified my parents.

That evening I got a drunken call from an unknown number. The person on the other side started cursing at me without introducing himself and threatened me. As the first step in realizing my dream, I was utterly astonished by that phone call. I gently answered and asked him to speak with me in person, but he declined.

He even started saying that he was observing me and began discussing the events that had occurred during my interview. Even worse, he threatened to terminate Sujan if I spoke to him. I didn't inform my parents about the call since I was concerned they would be scared and wouldn't let me do this work.

I went to work the following day, did a screen test, and then headed for home. On my way, I got a phone call and that guy started saying that I was looking beautiful today. He asked me to wait for him and go for lunch with him, and asked me which hotel I wanted to go to. He refused to give me his name even after I requested.

Next day, after finishing my work, Sujan and I headed back home. I told him about the phone calls and in the meantime I got a call again and received the same threat. But this time, while Sujan was with me, he recognized his voice and revealed that he was a different producer. For a long period, the same thing was repeated over and over.

When we were in the office, he would not say anything but would always call me after work. I couldn't confront him because he was the producer of the show I was hosting. During the shoot, the guy would focus the camera on my breasts and in the name of managing my hair, he would touch me inappropriately. Because I was so desperate for my dreams, I couldn't say anything to him.

Sujan later took over the program, and I worked there for three months. They didn't pay me for my work, and I didn't even complain about it. I just wanted to give it a shot because it had been my dream. But, as a college student, it was becoming increasingly difficult to work and study at the same time, so I had to quit my job.

I left my job without informing anyone, and I went missing. The guy was so bad that he threatened me with throwing acid in my face, accused me of sleeping with Sujan, and threatened to make me sleep with upcoming artists.

I can't prove to anyone that I worked for them as I only worked for them for three months and the video didn't even air. But I do remember going through a lot. That one person shattered my childhood dream of becoming a model, appearing on television, and becoming famous.

I began to believe that this is what happens in the glamorous world. I once shared my story with a mentor of mine. She told me to stay strong. I'm not sure if she was telling me the truth, but her body was burned as a result of the torture she endured in the previous days.

At that time, the models and VJ I knew were all girlfriends of producers. I didn't want to be one of them, and because I was only 17, I decided to leave that job. While shooting, I was both mentally and physically harassed, which left a scar on my dreams.


Women Wednesday NepalNews sexual harassment physical harassment glamorous world video jockey VJ Producer Resume platform application pseudonyms Goals Follow notoriety
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