We asked our favorite people their plans for Valentine’s Day and here are their answers!

Sumrina Khan

At the spa, pampering myself!

Sophiya Khan

I will be spending the day with my original valentines, my Nano & Ammi, with a home cooked meal.

Mohsin Khawar

My wife and I don’t specifically plan such days. We often go out, buy each other gifts and have gup shup sessions over tea. So for us, every other day is special like this. Alhamdulillah.

Hassan Shehryar Yasin

This year I plan to spend my Valentine’s with my Mother. She hasn’t been keeping well for some time and in the time I’ve spent with her, I feel that a day dedicated to love should be spent with the person who gives you unconditional love.

Rubia Moghees

I used to be quite finicky when it came to celebrating Valentine’s Day a few years ago; however the excitement has gone down recently. I believe that each and every day that you are alive and well should be celebrated. There should not be any reason to dedicate one day for love

Rana Noman

I want to take a holiday and sleep!

Zainab Reza

I’m just going to be chilling at home with Mommy.

Amna Baber

I don’t believe in Valentine’s Day!

Aamir Mazhar

I will spend valentines day by celebrating one of my dearest friends birthday over lunch! I also plan to give flowers and gifts to my parents to celebrate their love and blessings in my life.

Mohsin Naveed Ranjha

I am spending my Valentine’s with my significant other and both my kids! I cherish every second I spend with my family.



Meher Hasan

I’m spending Valentine’s Day with my Valentine! My dog, Dodo.

We talk to Lahore based therapist Izzah Zainab about mental health practices in Pakistan, tools to overcome anxiety and what you should look for in a therapist.

Can you tell us a little about your work and your education?

I am practicing as a mental health counselor in Lahore, Pakistan, and I work primarily with adults (ages 18-65). After my undergraduate from Lahore University of Management Sciences, I went to New York University as a Fulbright Scholar for my Master’s in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness. I received my professional training in New York City as well, at a mid-sized private practice in Soho.

What led you to begin a career in therapy?

My interest in psychology dates back to my childhood when I would religiously follow the “Psychologist answers” section in every magazine I could find. I always had a penchant for understanding the human experience, but for some time, that inclination was overpowered by the drive for more “socially desirable” careers and the race to climb the corporate ladder.

I quickly found my way back when I realized that the most rewarding moments of my day were the ones in which I experienced raw vulnerability with another human being – whether it was sitting with someone in their pain or hearing them talk about their dreams with a spark in their eyes. I thrived in those hours of connection and that realization made me commit to this field as a lifelong career. I couldn’t be happier with that choice.

What, in your opinion, are some challenges of being a therapist in a country like Pakistan?

One big challenge is the lack of resources and formal networks such as support groups, rehabilitation centers, helplines etc. An individual’s mental health is not a one-person job; it needs several systems to thrive. Those who finally seek counseling are often restricted by their financial, social, and systemic constraints in the face of their challenges.

There is also a huge gap in the increasing demand for therapists and the limited supply, and many therapists have months-long waiting lists. It hurts to send people away who reach out to you for support just because you don’t have the space to accommodate them.

What are the different sorts of therapies and which one do you practice?

I use a trauma-informed, emotion-focused, and integrative approach to suit each clients’ unique needs and goals. I borrow from several modalities, including Psychodynamic theory, which looks at your unmet needs and the role of caretakers in your early childhood; CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy), which focuses on dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs; Gestalt and relational therapy, centered on the experience of ‘here-and-now’; and Internal Family Systems (IFS), which explores how different “parts” of us interact with one another.

Has there been an increase in virtual therapy since 2020?

Definitely. 2020 changed the course of therapy services across the globe. Clients and therapists alike are exploring the newly discovered power, accessibility, and convenience of virtual therapy. In fact, many therapists now practice entirely online. However, telehealth comes with its own limitations. A lot of body language cues are lost in transmission errors and masked behind the 17-inch screen.

What should people look for in a therapist? What some important qualities a therapist should have?

Besides the appropriate training, experience, credentials, and adherence to established ethical guidelines, the right therapist meets you where you are, while providing enough challenge to encourage growth. Here are some questions to ask yourself: Do I feel understood by my therapist? Do I feel seen? Do I feel respected? Do I feel challenged?

The same therapist may be a great fit for someone else but not for you. Hence, the process of finding your ‘fit’ requires some trial and error.

What are some of the most common mental health issues you see amongst people in Pakistan?

I’ve found anxiety, depression, and emotional dysregulation to be fairly common across clients. Most of my work is with young adults struggling with difficult family dynamics, life transitions, and self-esteem issues. Particularly in Pakistan, I see clients repeatedly bring up the theme of societal pressure and judgement toward their choices.

What affect has covid had on your patients? Has there been an increase in the number of patients?

Certainly. For many of us, this pandemic marks a time of unprecedented uncertainty and collective isolation. The lack of human touch and social stimulation led many into a downward spiral with their mental health. In contrast, some of my clients with social anxiety found comfort in wearing masks and the reduced pressure to socialize.

Covid-19 also left a traumatic impact on our collective grieving process. Those who unexpectedly lost loved ones were often unable to travel, hug, and comfort their family members. I believe that even after the pandemic ends, the mental health repercussions will probably linger for generations.

What are some tools that you recommend to people who are struggling with anxiety or depression?

Many CBT-based tools for anxiety are easily accessible online. You can keep a journal or use a mood-log application on your phone to mindfully monitor your thoughts, feelings, and symptoms. There are also plenty of videos and helpful guides for learning breathing skills, grounding techniques, and mindfulness-based exercises (try the apps “Calm” and “Headspace”).

With depression, it can be hard to find the motivation to even look for any of these fancy tools. So it’s important to start slow and aim for motivational “baby steps”, even if they seem as simple as taking a shower or getting out of bed today. Remember: one baby step at a time.

What is your advice for people who want to embark on the field of therapy/counselling?

Start within. To empathize with someone else, you need to be connected to your own vulnerability first. Seek therapy yourselves and know your own biases, blind spots, and limitations.

What’s your advice to someone who wishes to start therapy but is reluctant because of the stigma attached to it?

It’s okay to hold some shame around seeking therapy because the stigma is deep-rooted indeed. However, when a part of our body is hurting for too long, we seek a professional, a doctor, without any shame. Then why treat our mental health any differently from our physical health?

Contrary to what the stigma tells you, you are not broken for seeking help. In fact, it requires immense courage and vulnerability. And alongside the reluctance, there’s a part within you that wants to feel better. Connect with that part and embrace the compassion that it holds for you; you deserve every bit of it.

Celebrity stylist Aarinda talks to us about her personal style, her favourite celebrities and her wardrobe essentials

Describe your personal style.
I would say my personal style is casual chic. I like to choose classics and jazz them up with some statement pieces here and there like a pop of color in an otherwise monotone look or maybe a bold accessory.

What, in your opinion, are 5 wardrobe essentials?
1. Well-fitted denim
2. A tailored suit
3. A nice watch
4. A white tee
5. A timeless silk scarf

Describe the most challenging person you have styled Hah! Ahem ahem! No, on a serious note, it would be myself! Which celebrity’s style do you admire?
Oh, I love so many people for so many things. For example, internationally, I love Lady Gaga for never shying away from being daring, Zendaya for her stunning public appearances, Rihanna for always pushing boundaries, Cara Delevingne for her androgynous looks and bushy brows, the Olsen twins for being so quirky, Ariana Grande for always being cute and fun. In Pakistan, I have always been a fan of Mahira Khan and Hina Rabbani, I simply love the way they carry looks with such delicacy and femininity.

What do you think is the most rewarding aspect of being a celebrity stylist?
Conceptualizing and executing a new project everyday with a whole new vision is something I truly enjoy.

How do you go about selecting clothes for a new client?
It depends. I love keeping the client’s personal style in mind while I am planning something for them. I like creating looks that my clients would be able to carry confidently while looking stylish at the same time. I also try to bring my clients out of their comfort zone because sometimes you are just too scared to try something new but once you do, you just can’t go back!

Maya Ali turns heads in this jazzy electric blue number by Zena Presley. Our favorite thing about this outfit has to be the silhouette. Maya kept it simple with a pony tail and accessorized with small blue earrings that matched the dress

Influencer Sophiya Khan makes a strong case for florals in this trendy red saree. We love how she paired her saree with a polka dotted blouse. The perfect fusion of east and west

Mahira Khan can do no wrong and she proved this in a shimmery dress with by Georges Chakra. She wore her hair wavy and kept her makeup minimal

Next on our list is Mansha Pasha in this blue dress by Ayesmodacouture — a Turkish courtier known for their glamourous creations. Everything about this look, from the long train and the sequined bodice to the sleeked back hair and foxy eyes, is a hit!

We’re swooning over Faheem Ansari in this shimmery gold dress by Shehla Chatoor. The sultry slit on the side makes it eye catching and sexy

Mehreen Tiwana is ready for winter in this oversized pastel blue sweater. She pairs it with a pink skirt and fluffy heels. The perfect look for this season


opens up to Sana Zehra on who needs a makeover!

What is the biggest fashion mistake women make?

Wrong shoes

Favourite place to find budget buys?

You can find them anywhere really, depends on how much you have in your pocket.

Favourite place to shop in Karachi and why?

Zainab Market because of the endless options

If you’d choose to give any celebrity a makeover who would it be and why?

Mathira for sure because she badly needs one!

What are the must-haves a woman must have in her closet at all times?

Basic black, basic white, denim and a pretty lawn suit (Just one?! We at GT don’t agree with that one!)

Favourite all time designer?

From couture fashion designers, I love the craftsmanship of Umar Sayeed, Shamaeel, Bunto etc. Out of high street brands, I think Stoneage and Outfitters are doing great work.

If one is really stuck and you don’t know what to wear, what would you suggest?

LBD (little black dress) or a white shirt/Khaadi top with blue denim.

Item worth splurging on?

Be a spontaneous buyer and buy something you really, really like.

Any suggestions for men?

Start wearing colour.

What are some of the famous names you’ve worked with?

Manchester City Football Club, Aditya Rai, Shahid Kapoor, Fawad Khan and almost all the celebs in Pakistan. I’ve also worked with a lot of international models including a show on Fashion TV in Gulf where I got a chance to work alongside Jean Claude Van Damme.

Who is your favourite person/celebrity to style at all times?

I would like to go back and style the Manchester City Football Club. Aditya Rao Kapoor was also so much fun to work with.

Who is the most difficult celebrity you’ve worked with?

Someone who is not a celeb but is pretending to be a celeb is always difficult to work with.

Who is your favourite makeup artist?

It varies but I like Vimi Joshi, the head makeup artist for MAC in the Middle East.

What is the worst makeup mistake women ever make?

They don’t know how to do makeup tbh (to be honest). Watching these videos does not make you a makeup artist. You need to enhance the features not slather on foundation and powder.

What is your favourite food?

French cuisine

Do you know how to cook?

Yes, at times I do cook. I love to experiment with food so give me ingredients and I will make you a dish.

Favourite vacation spot?

Europe, Europe, Europe! For the history, architecture and culture

Have you ever been in love?

Yes! Every second moment I am in love.

With whom?

Myself (laughs)

Any fashion related message?

Keep shopping, put it all together well and flaunt what you have got.

Any styling advice?

Just be yourself. Don’t wear a lot of things and come out looking like a clown.

What does GT mean to you?

Good Times!

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