As a devoted Muslim growing up in a conservative Muslim society in Karachi, Pakistan, religion and culture prohibits partial nudity yet alone full nudity. I've alway been shy and hesitant to take my shirt off in public.
I initially withdrew and declined from DEFIANCE, but somewhere recessed in my subconscious, I wanted to be rebellious and participate eagerly. I didn't give Ronald a clear answer and lingered on the thought for a good two years. The challenge was overcoming the way I was brought up and getting comfortable being nude. DEFIANCE became a project for my own personal growth and inner obduracy: Confidence in my own skin, body, and sexual orientation.
I thought I was ready, when I finally made my decision to come out of my shell and being part of DEFIANCE. I was extremely nervous and it took a great deal of talking myself out of the utter shame I was feeling being naked. I kept my back to the camera for a long time while several thoughts were running by my mind: What if my family members end up seeing these pictures or my friends or colleague?
I had to constantly remind myself the sole purpose of DEFIANCE: expressing confidence and freedom in your own body! I suddenly had no fear and shame of being nude! I finally turned and faced the camera. Participation in DEFIANCE was an exhilarating breakthrough! I felt free and confident.