Nepali model Anjali Lama hailed a "dream come true" on Friday after becoming the first transgender model to walk the runway at an Indian fashion show.
The 32-year-old, who was born a man in rural Nepal, has been strutting the catwalk at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai, India's premier fashion show, which started on Wednesday and runs until Sunday.
"Ever since I started modelling it's been my dream to appear in a fashion week. My dream has come true and I feel so happy and grateful," she told AFP.
Lama was born Nabin Waiba to a family of poor farmers in the remote Nuwakot region in mountainous Nepal.
But she always knew that she had been born in the wrong body and in 2005 took the decision to dress as a woman for the first time.
Lama, who has undergone partial sex reassignment was ostracised by members of her own family when she came out and said it had been a difficult journey to get to where she is today.
"The name I carved out as the first transgender model in India wasn't an easy process. I had to work hard, mentally handle stress and pressure. I struggled a lot," she said.
Lama added that she hoped transgenders across conservative South Asia would take heart from her success.
"Some transgenders may feel scared to come out. If they come out after being inspired by me ... (and) think 'I can be like her' and then believe in themselves, then I'll feel very proud of myself," she said.