All I Want to Know is Who Plays the Afghan Miss Jay.

Afghan models do the catwalk.

In a move aimed “to show the hidden beauties of Afghan youth,” Afghan entrepreneurs are creating a TV show for the country that’s been likened to Tyra Banks’ America’s Next Top Model, here in the U.S.

Afghan Model will be produced by Emrooz TV, a new channel in that country, privately owned by parliament member Najib Kabuli. As reported by Reuters,

Applying eye liner to Afghan modelThe aspiring models [right] will be selected through a series of contests by Afghan judges who themselves have no experience in modeling, said [24-year-old Arash] Shenasa, a university medical student who has worked in the media for the past several years.

The panel of judges includes a self-proclaimed body fitness champion, a fashion designer and a cinema artist.

The contestants will decide for themselves what they will wear, with clothing styles ranging from European, Asian, American or Afghan designs. Emrooz will choose the fashion ensembles in the final round of six contestants.

The final six will have a chance to appear in TV advertisements, which have mushroomed in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, who had banned TV among their many other restrictions.

Twelve private stations and one state channel now broadcast in the capital, their content, however, monitored by government censors.

Burqas got back—Afghan modelEmrooz has drawn criticism already, due to airing some movies and music that, in this socially conservative Muslim country, would, no doubt, make the Disney Channel look like softcore. On the set of Afghan Model, right,

Four girls in brightly colored traditional costumes with baggy pants and long loose-fitting shawls and headscarves strode down the impromptu catwalk decked out in traditional Afghan rugs. Seemingly less confident than their Western counterparts, they avoided the gaze of the all-male film crew and press.

A quick change later, the same four appeared in camouflage combat trousers, sneakers and embroidered smocks. Then came denim jeans, open-toed sandals and colorful lightweight jackets.

None of this would be at all risque in the West, but in Afghanistan, such attire can spark outrage, especially when broadcast on television.

“According to Sharia law, Islam is absolutely against this,” said Afghan Muslim cleric Abdul Raouf. “Not only is it banned by Islamic Sharia law, but if we apply Sharia law and to take this issue to justice, these girls should be punished.”

Despite these setbacks, one of the judges sees Afghan Model as a positive development for the nation.

“The program of modeling makes youth pay attention to their bodies, for if you do not have a good body you cannot compete, and you can only have a good body if you exercise,” said the fitness judge, Khawja Farid Ahmad Seddiqi.

“It is the best way of eradicating narcotics,” he added.

Opium distributionOf course, in Afghanistan, that is no small issue: Just this past weekend, 700 British troops there seized over $70 million in heroin in a raid on a Taliban facility. The country is the world’s largest producer of opium, right. According to Nationmaster, were “the entire opium crop were processed, 947 metric tons of heroin potentially could be produced.”

Model your butts off, ladies.



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