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Anna is a Korean entrepreneur and noblewoman, who hails from a Pakistani royal family. She is the founder and CEO of Anna Korean Beauty, Kim Production, and Kim Traders.

She has made her debut into the field of entertainment with Netflix Korea. Anna will be seen in Netflix’s latest series, ‘Super Rich in Korea.’ This series highlights the affluent lifestyle of ultra-rich people against the multiethnic backdrop of Korea.

Anna tell us a bit about yourself, your family & educational background.

I was born in Pakistan and relocated to Korea with my family when I was five years old. My father is a businessman. We moved to Korea due to my father’s business endeavors, and my mother, who had previously studied at a Korean university, also embraced the opportunity to settle in Korea and now she runs an NGO for foreigners in Korea.

Having lived in Korea for over 25years, I thought I’ll marry Korean but I found the love of my life in Pakistan. Despite initially expecting my future partner to relocate to Korea, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our plans, and after two years of separation, I traveled to Pakistan to marry him. Since then, I’ve been splitting my time between Pakistan and Korea.

My educational journey includes attending Korean elementary school, followed by middle and high school at an American international school in Korea. After completing high school, I pursued a BBA degree from Ewha Women’s University in Korea, renowned as one of the most prestigious women’s universities globally.

I have alot of achievements in Korea such as:

  1. Anna Korean Beauty, CEO
  2. Kim Production, CEO
  3. Kim Traders (SMC-PVT LTD), CEO
  4. Asia Pacific Enterprices (Trading Company), Marketing Director (2015-present)
  5. Secretary General, Melting Pot Nonprofit Organization (2017-present)
  6. English Urdu Interpreter, Ministry of Justice (2013~2019)
  7. UN-Habitat Global Ambassador (2020~present)
  8. Ministry of the Interior and Safety – Safety Public Relations Ambassador (2020~present)
  9. Korea Rural Community Corporation Rural Tourism Supporters (2020~Present)
  10. DS Laboratories Korea (Global Marketing Director) (2013~2014)
  11. Korea International Trade Association – University student trade camp held (2013~2014)
  12. Korea International Trade Association – Global Trade Ambassador (2013~2014)
  13. PSAK Pakistan Student Council Female Representative (2014~2016)
  14. Asiana Airlines/Asiana Dream Wings (Project for Korea’s multicultural policy and education program) 2013~2013)
  15. Lecture, Department of Korean Language, National University of Foreign Studies (NUML University), Pakistan (2013.1~2013.3)
  16. Lee & Won Asian Fellowship/Asian international student talent development program (2012.3~2012.12)
  17. Peple To People International/Ewha Womans University Chapter Vice President (2011.2~2012.12)
  18. Immigration Office Refugee Department Official Urdu Interpreter (2010~2019)
  19. Dongducheon Police Station /

Foreign Affairs Division / Criminal Investigation Division / Traffic Interpreter (2008~2013) 20. Myungwon Culture Foundation Korean Tea Ceremony

Instructor Certification and Tea Ceremony Lectures (2008~2011)

You have been born in Pakistan but raised in South Korea; how different are both the cultures and where do enjoy the most?

Growing up in South Korea after being born in Pakistan, I found myself immersed in two distinct yet enriching cultures. Despite being very young when I moved, my parents made sure to instill in us a deep appreciation for our Pakistani heritage alongside embracing Korean customs, especially during our education at an American school in Korea.

My understanding of Pakistan was initially shaped by encounters with Pakistani refugees at my workplace in Seoul Immigration’s Refugee Center. Their narratives often painted a bleak picture of Pakistan, filled with mentions of terrorism, honor killings, and religious strife. However, my parents reassured me that this portrayal didn’t reflect the reality of Pakistan. Determined to see for myself, I embarked on a journey to NAMAL University in Islamabad during my university break. Teaching Korean language and culture there opened my eyes to a different perspective—one that contradicted the negative portrayal I had encountered.

Exploring Pakistan firsthand, I discovered a country rich in culture and warmth, vastly different from the bleak image often portrayed. After marrying into a Pakistani family, I delved even deeper into Pakistani culture, finding surprising parallels with Korean customs. Inspired by this newfound understanding, I’ve dedicated myself to promoting a positive image of Pakistan in Korea, bridging the gap between perceptions and reality.

These days, I find myself embracing life in Pakistan with newfound enthusiasm, relishing the freshness of experiencing a country I’ve never lived in before. Connecting with my Korean friends and establishing a small Korea community in Lahore has been an immensely rewarding experience. Together, we’re not only exploring potential business opportunities but also fostering cultural exchanges with our Pakistani friends. This immersion into Pakistani life feels like an adventure filled with endless opportunities to learn and grow. The vibrant energy of Lahore, coupled with the warmth and hospitality of its people, has captured my heart. In this new chapter of my life, I’m discovering a profound sense of belonging and excitement, making Pakistan my current favorite place to be.

Anna you are the CEO of Anna Korean Beauty, Kim Production and Kim Traders, how do you manage your businesses?

“After moving to Pakistan following my marriage, I found myself missing the bustling pace of my career back in Korea, where I was involved in various ambassadorial roles. Encouraged by my supportive husband, I decided to reignite my professional journey. When a friend, a renowned Korean director, expressed interest in shooting a K-pop music video in India, I saw an opportunity to showcase Pakistan’s potential in the entertainment industry. Bringing the project to Pakistan marked the inception of my production company.

After a brief hiatus, I noticed a gap in the Pakistani market for premium Korean skincare products. Determined to introduce high-quality skincare at affordable prices, I launched Anna Korean Beauty. This venture aimed to cater to the growing demand for authentic Korean skincare solutions in Pakistan.

My entrepreneurial journey took an unexpected turn when I seized the opportunity to collaborate with Netflix, a decision met with both excitement and apprehension from my family. However, I recognized the chance to portray Pakistan in a different light on a global platform. Through our productions with Netflix, my team and I showcased the diverse beauty and culture of Pakistan, challenging stereotypes and fostering a more positive perception worldwide.”

Tell us about your brands Anna Korean beauty, Kim Production and Kim Traders.

Anna Korean Beauty is renowned for bringing authentic Korean beauty products to Pakistan, curated by Korean experts who understand the essence of Korean skincare and cosmetics. With a focus on quality and authenticity, Anna Korean Beauty is the go-to destination for those seeking the best of Korean beauty.

Kim Production is pioneering the introduction of K-pop culture in Pakistan, igniting a fervor for Korean music, dance, and entertainment. As the first of its kind in the country, Kim Production aims to bridge cultural gaps and create a vibrant community of K-pop enthusiasts through concerts, events, and talent showcases and movie productions.

Kim Traders serves as a vital link between Pakistan and Korea, facilitating the export of Pakistani goods to Korea while offering comprehensive business solutions. With expertise in logistics, market analysis, and trade regulations, Kim Traders streamlines the process for businesses looking to expand into the Korean market, serving as a one-stop destination for all their needs.

What’s your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

My favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur is the profound opportunity to inspire and uplift others, especially aspiring female leaders worldwide. Making a positive impact on society and witnessing the fruition of my ideas are deeply fulfilling motivations that drive me forward. Being a role model for girls everywhere is not just a goal, but a mission I wholeheartedly embrace, aiming to empower and encourage them to pursue their dreams fearlessly.

Tell us all about your Netflix series “Super Rich in Korea”

Step into the lavish world of “Super Rich in Korea,” where opulence knows no bounds. Join us as we delve into the lives of the world’s elite, showcasing the extravagant lifestyles of the ultra-wealthy against the mesmerizing backdrop of Korea’s multicultural tapestry.

Prepare to be enthralled by a dazzling array of characters, from Singaporean tycoons to the Arab world’s equivalent of the Kardashians. Experience the allure of Pakistani entrepreneur Anna Kim and the sophistication of Italian fashion icons, all converging in a spectacular display of wealth and influence.

I tired to highlight Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage, vibrant traditions, and the remarkable achievements of its people. In “Super Rich in Korea,” we’ll showcase the elegance and grace of Pakistani culture , their contributions to art, philanthropy, and business. Pakistan will shine as a beacon of positivity and inspiration in our series, celebrating its beauty, resilience, and the generosity of its people.

How do you think your Netflix series, “Super Rich in Korea” will serve as bridge between Pakistan and Korea?

My Netflix series, “Super Rich in Korea,” holds immense potential as a cultural bridge between Pakistan and Korea. By leveraging the vast reach of Netflix,I am providing a powerful platform to showcase the vibrant tapestry of Pakistani culture, brimming with colors and vitality. I am deliberate efforts to feature Pakistani traditional attire, fashion trends, makeup styles, and lifestyle choices not only celebrate the richness of Pakistan’s heritage but also serve as a catalyst for promoting its burgeoning fashion industry on a global scale. Moreover,my inclusion of Korean cultural elements, such as the tradition of charity food, with a spotlight on kimchi, introduces Pakistani audiences to the diverse and flavorful world of Korean cuisine, fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation. Through this compelling narrative lens,I am not just creating entertainment but fostering meaningful connections and dialogue between two distinct yet interconnected cultures, thereby nurturing a sense of unity and shared humanity across borders.

What’s your most satisfying entrepreneur moment so far?

My most satisfying entrepreneurial moment thus far has been the recognition of my journey on a global platform like Netflix, where the dedication and perseverance behind my work were showcased. Additionally, seeing my presence on Korea’s largest billboard was a surreal validation of the impact my endeavors have made. These moments not only affirm the significance of my efforts but also inspire me to continue pushing boundaries and reaching new heights in my entrepreneurial journey.

How do you balance your personal life with the demands of running a business?

Balancing personal life with business demands requires careful planning and boundaries. Setting clear work hours, prioritizing tasks, delegating when possible, and making time for self-care are essential. It’s also crucial to communicate expectations with both work and personal contacts to maintain a healthy balance. In Korea early education focusing on time management and work-life balance can instill important skills for navigating professional and personal responsibilities later in life. It’s a valuable approach that can contribute to a more balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.

How would you describe your leadership style?

My leadership style revolves around prioritizing the well-being and growth of my team, viewing them as a close-knit family. I aim to cultivate a culture of professionalism infused with genuine warmth and empathy. By nurturing this environment, I believe we can not only drive business success but also make a positive contribution to society.

What is Anna’s day like when she’s not out for work?

When I’m not at work, I cherish moments with loved ones, discovering new destinations, and immersing myself in diverse cuisines. Whether it’s bonding with family and friends, embarking on adventures, savoring delicious meals, or diving into the captivating world of Korean dramas, these experiences add depth and joy to my life beyond the realm of work.

Makeup & hair styling: Amber Bashir of studio100salon (Pakistan)

Jacqueline Beauty (Korea)

Wardrobe: MNR Design Studio (Pakistan)

JavandiEvent by Sundus Mustafa of Whimsical Parties

Pictures via Netflix Korea

Naureen tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to become a makeup artist?

As a makeup artist, I get to do what I’m truly passionate about. It all started as a hobby, where I would experiment with different makeup looks on myself and my friends. I found so much joy and fulfillment in the artistry of makeup, and it became a creative outlet for me. The more I practiced, the more I fell in love with the transformative power of makeup and how it can enhance someone’s natural beauty. It’s incredible to be able to make people feel beautiful and empowered. I’m grateful that my hobby evolved into a career that allows me to bring joy and confidence to others through makeup.

You have been making waves in the beauty industry with your unique and creative approach to makeup. Tell us about the challenges you had to go through to reach this point.

Thank you so much for your kind words! It means a lot to me. Well, I won’t lie, the journey to where I am today hasn’t always been easy. Like any career, there have been challenges along the way. One of the biggest challenges was building my reputation and establishing myself in the beauty industry. It took a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance.

There were times when I faced self-doubt and had to overcome the fear of failure. But I kept pushing forward, constantly learning and growing, honing my skills, and staying true to my unique and creative approach to makeup. It’s important to stay authentic and true to yourself in this industry, even when faced with trends and expectations.

Another challenge was staying up-to-date with the ever-changing beauty trends and techniques. The beauty industry is constantly evolving, and it’s crucial to stay ahead of the game. I had to invest time and effort into learning new techniques, attending workshops, and keeping myself inspired and motivated.

But despite the challenges, I never lost sight of my passion and love for makeup. The support and encouragement from my friends, family, and amazing clients have also played a huge role in helping me overcome obstacles and reach this point in my career. I’m truly grateful for all the experiences, both good and challenging, as they have shaped me into the makeup artist I am today.

Your salon, Pengs KDA has marked its name in the market and you are known for creating stunning looks that are both timeless and modern. How has your journey been so far in this beauty industry?

Thank you so much for your kind words about Pengs Kda! I’m thrilled that our salon has made a name for itself in the market. The journey so far with Pengs Kda has been nothing short of amazing.We are all about creating an amazing experience at Pengs Kda! We want our clients to feel like they’re stepping into a beauty oasis where they can relax, unwind, and leave with a stunning look.

Technically speaking, we have invested in state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge tools to ensure that we can provide the best services possible. From high-quality makeup products to advanced hair styling techniques, we stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in the industry.

But it’s not just about the technical aspects. We also focus on the personal touch and attention to detail. Our team takes the time to understand each client’s unique style, preferences, and desired outcome. We believe that communication is key in delivering the best results.

So, whether it’s a glamorous makeover, a chic haircut, or a relaxing spa treatment, we strive to exceed our clients’ expectations and create an unforgettable experience from start to finish. We want everyone who walks through our doors to leave feeling confident, beautiful, and completely satisfied.

We got to know that you are now exploring and are all set to expand your business in the UAE. Tell us a bit in detail about this new venture.

Oh, I’m so excited to share this news with you! We are indeed exploring the possibility of expanding our business to the UAE. It’s a thrilling new venture for Us, and we can’t wait to bring our unique style and exceptional service to a whole new audience.

The UAE is known for its vibrant fashion and beauty scene, and we see great potential in being a part of it. We are currently in the early stages of planning and researching the market to ensure that we can provide the same level of excellence and meet the needs of our future clients.

Our goal is to create a salon experience in the UAE that reflects the same values and standards that have made our salon successful. We want to offer our signature modern and timeless looks, along with the personalized attention and top-notch service that our clients have come to expect.

Expanding to the UAE will allow us to connect with a diverse and cosmopolitan clientele, and we’re excited to embrace the unique style and beauty trends of the region. We believe that this new venture will be a fantastic opportunity for growth and to showcase our passion for creating stunning looks.

As we progress with our plans, we’ll be sure to keep our loyal clients updated on our journey. We can’t wait to share more details about our expansion in the near future. Stay tuned for more exciting updates!

What are some of the must-have beauty products — every lady should have in her bag?

There are definitely some must-haves that every girl or woman should have in their beauty arsenal.

Moiturizer, sunscreen, blush, lips balm,and a mascara.

Remember, these are just a few essentials, and everyone’s preferences may vary. Feel free to explore and experiment with different products to find what works best for you. And most importantly, have fun with your beauty routine!

What’s your signature style?

Oh, I love to play around with different looks and techniques. I enjoy experimenting with bold, colorful eyeshadows and creating fun eye makeup looks. I believe that eyes are a great canvas for expressing creativity and adding a pop of personality to any makeup look.

I also like to focus on achieving a natural, glowing complexion. I love using a lightweight foundation or tinted moisturizer to even out my skin tone and give it a healthy, radiant finish. And of course, a touch of blush and highlighter to add some dimension and glow to my cheeks.

When it comes to lips, I enjoy switching it up between bold, vibrant shades and more subtle, nude tones, depending on my mood and the occasion. I believe that lipstick can instantly transform a look and make a statement.

But ultimately, my signature makeup style is all about embracing my individuality and having fun with makeup. I believe that makeup should be used as a tool to enhance your natural beauty and boost your confidence.

For the summer brides of 2024 what makeup and hair trends will be in and what’s out?

Ah, for the brides of summer 2024, there are some exciting makeup and hair trends that will be in! Let me share them with you:

Makeup Trends:

  1. Fresh and Glowing Skin: Natural and dewy skin will continue to be a popular choice for brides. Think lightweight foundations, radiant highlighters, and a healthy, lit-from-within glow.
  2. Soft and Romantic Eyes: Soft, romantic eye makeup looks will be in demand. Think soft smoky eyes, pastel eyeshadows, and fluttery lashes to create a dreamy and ethereal look.
  3. Bold Brows: Well-defined and full brows will still be a trend. Embrace your natural brows and enhance them with grooming, filling, and shaping techniques to frame your face beautifully.
  4. Rosy Blush: Rosy blush shades will be a hit, giving brides a fresh and youthful flush. Opt for soft pinks or peaches to add a touch of color and warmth to your cheeks.

Hair Trends:

  1. Effortless Updos: Relaxed and effortless updos will be popular for summer brides. Think loose, tousled buns, braided updos, or romantic half-up hairstyles for a boho-chic vibe.
  2. Sleek Buns: It adds a polished and sophisticated touch to any bridal look. You can choose a low bun, high bun, or a neat bun at the nape of your neck. It’s a timeless choice that will never go out of style. So, if you’re looking for a chic and refined hairstyle, the sleek bun is definitely a fabulous option to consider
  3. Beachy Waves: For a more relaxed and beachy look, loose waves or textured curls will be a go-to choice. Effortless and carefree, this hairstyle will complement summer weddings perfectly.

As for what’s out, heavy and overly structured hairstyles and makeup looks are taking a back seat. Brides are embracing a more natural and effortless beauty aesthetic, focusing on enhancing their features rather than masking them.

Remember, trends are always evolving, so it’s essential to choose a look that makes you feel confident and reflects your personal style. It’s your special day, after all!

What are the three best services offered at your Salon?

Well, at our salon, we offer a variety of fantastic services to cater to our clients’ needs. Three of our most popular services are:

  1. Haircuts/ hair colour and Styling: Our talented team of hairstylists can give you a fresh new haircut and Colour and create stunning hairstyles that suit your personality and preferences.
  2. Manicures and Pedicures: Treat yourself to some pampering with our luxurious manicures and pedicures. Our skilled nail technicians will shape, buff, and polish your nails to perfection. You can choose from a wide range of colors and finishes to express your personal style.
  3. Spa Treatments: Indulge in some relaxation and rejuvenation with our spa treatments. From soothing massages to revitalizing facials, our experienced spa therapists will help you unwind and leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized.

These are just a few of the services we offer at our salon. We strive to provide a top-notch experience for our clients, ensuring they leave feeling confident and beautiful.

What is Naureen’s day like when she’s not at work/salon?

When I’m not working, my day is all about relaxation and enjoying some downtime. I love sleeping in a little, having a leisurely breakfast, and maybe catching up on my favorite TV shows or movies. I also like reading a good book, and spending quality time with my loved ones. It’s all about taking care of myself and doing things that bring me joy.

Any makeup tip you would like to share with your readers?

Prepping skin before makeup is the most important thing, One of my favorite tips is to always moisturize your skin before applying makeup. It helps create a smooth canvas and keeps your skin hydrated throughout the day. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen too!

Cresset is not your typical agency; they are strategic partners of fashion brands, who are wholly data-driven and results-focused. Cresset is passionately committed to comprehending the essence of fashion brands, whether it’s a budding newcomer or an established presence in the business world.

With so many feathers in your cap, let’s start with a brief introduction about yourself and a bit about your educational background.

I am from Lahore and spent over 25 years in the US. I pursued my undergraduate studies at the University of Connecticut in Finance & Accounting and attended graduate level courses at Harvard University. I began my career in finance, specifically within Hedge Funds and Investment Banking. Now, to simplify, I am engaged in the business of fashion and run a Venture Capital (VC) firm that invests in startups.

What is Cresset Tech all about and what key services does the company offer?

Cresset is Pakistan’s leading “Fashion Commerce” player. We provide end-to-end solutions, from revenue-based eCommerce management to brand strategy, manufacturing, distribution, retail expansion, and even last-mile delivery for fashion brands. Our Venture Capital (VC) arm enables us to aid in the growth of brands both locally and internationally.

How many brands do you have on board and can you name a few prominent ones?

We actively cater to over fifty (50) fashion designers and brands, both within Pakistan and globally. Some prominent names in Pakistan include Farah Talib Aziz, Nomi Ansari, Ansab Jehangir, Mohsin Ranjha (MNR), Annus Abrar, Zain Hashmi, and many more. Internationally, we service names like Forever 21, Kylie & Kendall Jenner, just to name a couple.

What strategies do you use to create an emotional connection between customers and the brand?

A study by the Harvard Business School (HBS) concluded that in the 21st century, relationships are the backbone of business. For the last decade, our mantra at Cresset has also been the same. We focus on experiential marketing rather than a product push. Our motto is to be “empathetic,” providing unparalleled service, thus creating an emotional connection.

What sets your business apart from competitors?

Technically, we have no direct competition. With a human capital strength of 400 across five countries, Cresset is highly vertically integrated in all aspects of the fashion business. While other firms focus on just one aspect of what we do, none provide even half the spectrum of services as Cresset. While we wish the best to others, our only competition is within ourselves.

Why is brand management important to a business in your opinion?

A brand is a uniquely recognizable identity that distinguishes itself from others. A well-positioned brand’s persona and ethos are experienced without being spelled out. To strategically achieve this is the art of branding/brand management. Brand positioning/management is the soul of the brand, the single most important aspect.

What marketing metrics do you value most for brand management?

We believe in a balance of both quantitative and qualitative metrics. While numbers are paramount and easier to measure, it is equally important to track qualitative aspects such as emotions, feelings, and feedback.

Describe a typical work week and how do you spend your weekends?

The beauty of my entrepreneurial journey is that it has no “typical” week, and I love that about it. Depending on the week, it could involve traveling to three different countries, attending client meetings between Karachi and Lahore, or a retail store launch. There’s no such thing as a weekend for an entrepreneur.

Your favorite travel destination? Any memorable moment you’d like to share?

Zanzibar! From snorkeling to hiking and safari, it offers the best of all worlds. The whole vacation was memorable and a great experience.

We always see you very well dressed; is it a personal preference?

Tom Ford said, “Dressing well is a form of good manners.” I feel as comfortable in a suit as in a pair of denim. Coming from a finance background and now in the business of fashion, my career choices have shaped my sense of style.

What fragrance would Asad wear to turn heads at a meeting/conference and at the beach/party/or at the coffeehouse?

Chanel (Bleu) has been my go-to cologne since its launch a decade ago. Depending on the time of day and occasion, I also wear Creed (Aventus) and Clive Christian (No.1 Masculine).

How do you envision the future of your business?

Cresset has been on an upward trajectory since its inception. Despite the ever-changing market, we’ve experienced exponential growth. As long as we, as an organization, continue to evolve in both business fundamentals and technology, I foresee continued growth.

Are there any upcoming projects or expansions?

Absolutely! The only constant in life is change. We’re constantly expanding within Pakistan and internationally, through both eCommerce and retail networks. I can’t disclose exact details, but here’s a hint: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor.”

What advice would you like to give to our readers?

I’ve learned that we are all a product of our unique life experiences and circumstances, so I refrain from giving direct advice. Sincerity to others, passion for your career, and humility in success always yield positive results. Patience and resilience are key ingredients in building character.

Khoobsurat hona aik ehsas hai, malmal sey ley kar resham tak. You could be draped in malmal or the finest of silks that Pakistan has to offer but it is every woman’s right to look and feel unapologetically glamorous and to transcend boundaries like our leading star for the campaign, the absolutely beautiful and talented, Sanam Saeed, who is fearless and represents the modern Pakistani woman! As we embark towards our 30th anniversary in fashion next year, we bring to you “Khoobsurat”, a bridal couture collection which is classic, yet intricately ingrained in the art of couture.

Andaaz

Reflecting the grace of the traditional khandaani bride, @sanammody wears a royal bridal ensemble, meticulously crafted in the hues of French beige blended with sepia. Embellished with intricate rose gold handwork, with a hint of silver, the ensemble consists of a farshi gharara, made in organza, paired with a beautifully tailored straight organza shirt and a dupatta with wide borders, featuring elaborate patterns and shimmering details that exude regality.

 

Khuwaab

An exquisite bridal gown, featuring a regal silhouette fully embroidered with intricate hand embellishments of golds and silvers, creating a mesmerizing play of light that casts a magical aura all around. Flowing gracefully from the waistline, the voluminous silhouette is crafted in organza with delicate lacing details on the sleeves. Paired with a net veil which adds an enchanting touch, the ensemble is sure to be a favorite this wedding season.

Aarzu

Mark your royalty with our timeless saree;
a graceful charm of antique golden tones, hand-crafted with a textured skirt made in silk, layered with two different drapes, one in organza with wide borders and the other in net with heavily embellished handwork. Worn over a sequinned and beaded statement corset, this ensemble is perfect for those who want to make a statement.

Aaina

Shine bright like a diamond; shine like the whole universe is yours! Flaunting a fusion of classic and contemporary style, diva @sanammody wears a pearl white ensemble sparkling with sequins, threadwork and crystals. Handcrafted in delicate organza, the shirt and dupatta are paired with silk pants with twinkling cutdana details, adding an ethereal touch to the entire look.

Uraan

Wrapped in delicate drapes, @sanammody looks exquisite representing the woman who is fierce and unstoppable, who is strong and resilient, who knows what she wants and makes sure she gets it. Made in a subtle hue of creamy beige, this ensemble consists of a gown worn over a bustier and a skirt, all made
in a breathable hand-woven fabric.

Brand: @theworldofhsy
Muse: @sanammody
Photography & Videography: @nusairrahman.photography
Hair & Makeup: @theshoaibkhan.official
Jewellery: @hanifjewellers
Creative Director: @hassanhsy
Styled by Team HSY

#HSY #TheWorldofHSY #KhoobsuratbyHSY #HSYCouture #HSYBridals #StarsWearHSY #ShineinHSY #outfitinspiration #SanamSaeed #SANAMxHSY

With having such massive hits on your credit, how has the journey been so far in the industry?!

It has been hell of a rollercoaster. sometimes it was high, and sometimes it was low but I enjoyed every single bit of it.

Sar-e-Rah gained immense amount of love and appreciation, which story among all was your favorite and how was your experience working with all the other actors?

First of all i’m really thankful to all my fans for all the love and appreciation they have given me for Sar-e-Rah and making this project a huge hit. My personal favourite character was the one played by Muneeb and I feel he has done justice to this character. As far as the experience is concerned, I loved working with the entire team of Sat-e-Rah they have been great. we had so much fun on the sets.

Magic is always created when you and Sarmad Khoosat work together, tell us a bit about your upcoming mini-series, Gunah.

No wonder I agreed on doing this project because for the very first time Sarmad and I were planning opposite each other and  it is  always a pleasure working with my Manto Jee, unfortunately I won’t be able to reveal the character so you would have to watch it all by yourself 🙂

Film, television or web? What do you prefer and why?

I guess I’m in a relationship with the camera. I love being in front of the camera be it TV, Film digital platform, whatsoever.

I personally think now it’s the time for a little change. I might be stepping into the shoes of direction very soon so stay put.

Fans are always eagerly waiting to see you on the screen. Any new project that you would like share details about?!

Currently I have a few options that I’m considering these days, let’s see what catches my attention the most but I’ll definitely be back for my fans real soon that’s a promise 😉

What would you like to say to your fans and followers?

Always be yourself, everything falls into a place at the right time—you’re all my family and I love you from the core of my heart even I’m socially not that active but I’m always thankful for a family like you—lots of positivity your way.

Hair & makeup by ETHEREAL

Which artist inspired you the most growing up?

Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – may seem a tad strange because I didnt grow up to be a singer or a composer but I really felt his music and thats where I learnt the most important thing about doing life, feel it or leave it.

What’s something you learned early on in your career that made you a better artist?

Every dog has its day 🙂 everything you do is not the best just because its YOUR best effort. Sometimes you ll bomb sometimes you ll get a standing ovation. Neither defines you, these are just passing reactions to what you did on a certain day, the only thing that defines you is how consistently you get up, dress up, show up, and give it all you got till your number is up.

What’s an important cause or issue you support?

Education, specially for women. I firmly believe that educating a woman is equivalent to educating an entire generation. I try to fund atleast a couple of female students individually at any given time to do my bit but I would definitely want to expand this initiative to an organizational level in the futute.

After the success of “Churails” being a director is another feather in your cap. Please share some details about your two new projects as a director.

I found out I am expecting my first child a month after the launch of Churails and while I was quickly wrapping up my prior acting commitments one of which was Dil Naumeed tou nahi directed by Kashif Nisaar and wondering what do I do next that he spoke to me about a new channel in the making and suggested I should work with him as a director since he ll be producing multiple serials for them. With all due respect I wasn’t looking to do regular tv narrative but then he explained to me the philosophy of Green and it resonated with me, it seemed like the only chance to experiment or breathe for that matter and rightly so because who else was going to let me make Working Women .. lol .. its ridiculous that we have been making female centric narrative ‘apparently’ for over two decades now and we have never made a serial called Working Women, we have hardly explored the very complex work lives of women in multiple professions specially recently since romantic love is the only prominent theme on tv regardless of the plot/genre. And the way Bee Gul has dived into it and navigatives us through a chapter in the lives of 6 different women trying to make it in a man’s world with so much sensitivity and detail will definitely be an experience and a half to watch if I have done justice to the direction bit 🙂

As I got a handle on life with a baby the script for Shanaas found me which is an emotional thriller and required an altogether different aesthetic and sensibility yet again a mostly outdoor shoot during Karachi summers but I am not complaining 🙂 its been a lot of fun and I ll happily do it again as long as I keep finding good stories to tell.

We all know that Yasra also loves to write and you wrote your first drama 2018 and also acted in it. How was your experience?

I love to express, to voice ideas and I am blessed that I can do it in multiple ways, writing is definitely a favorite because it involves zero people and when its just you and the pen everything is raw and pure, nothing beats that. Ustani jee was a series I wrote for Hum and played the titular character aswell. It was very liberating because this was your regular college lecturer, single woman, very rooted in our culture, out there in the world saving other women. I thought if we must cater to the damsel in distress narrative then lets just also simultaneously explore that heroic strong female character we often come across in our communities and families who has the courage to stand up to injustice as well. If a woman can be a victim she can also be the savior.

Describe your acting style.

Method, method and only method.

Of all the roles you have played in the past, which is your favorite? And why?

I had most fun playing Baji Irshaad which was also my directorial debut for television. I played a punjabi christian housemaid. It was hilarious and very cute since punjabi is my mother tongue I had a ball with improvization. Simply loved the character itself and how free I felt with it.

Have you progressed in your acting career as you have expected?

I have progressed as Yasra Rizvi beyond my expectations and in spite of always swimming against the current the rest is just detail 🙂

With you having a deep interest in poetry, please share some  of your favourite lines with us.

Samjha raha tha jab .. aap ko main kon hoon .. Tabhi aap ko samajh gaya tha main 🙂

Label: AMK Libaas

Artist: Yasra Rizvi

Creative Head: Aysha Mohsin

Photographs: Mohsin Khawar

Hair & Makeup: Maham Gull

PR & Coordination: Alchemists

Tell us about your incredible journey from Shashlik for PTV to Joyland?

Its been a remarkable journey of self-exploration and learning.  Following the footsteps of my grandfather and parents , there was no obligation or supposition that I would join the same line and I think there was no active encouragement as well. So, I  chose it by choice, very consciously, that I would get into the performing arts.

My debut, Shashlik, broke the ice in exploring my acting skills  which helped me secure a place among the masses and never had i known that it was just the beginning. I experimented with Commercials, hosting, writing and even teaching as these all mediums of learning and exploring taught me how to sustain myself through failures and made me as strong as my inspirations. The show has to go on!

Realisation comes with time and experience, and that my actual calling was direction or storytelling  primarily, staying behind the camera. I like to act, but should focus more on direction.”

Direction speaks volumes about aesthetics and execution of the plot, and Zindagi Tamasha was a self Realization and side by side cultivated the firm faith in me,  that my directoral qualifications allow me to prove my abilities. As it leaves a lot of responsibility towards the audience who dedicate their time and attention to watching something that you’ve made.

Around 2019, after the inception of Khoosat films, I feel that I earned the freedom to finally make my own films,

“All the way to Joy Land, I would say, the turbulent episodes of your life, no matter within your academic performance or practical worldly wisdom,actually guarantee your growth and determine your graph as to what limits can you touch the sky. Surviving the test of time is the essence of actualization.”

Your father Sir Irfan Khoosat, being the legend of our industry and the one who marked his name in the industry as one of the finest actor and director, gave any pressure to you when you started off your career?!

Of course that’s natural and people do compare. My father has directed stuff for television, theatre and cinema but his primary focus has always been acting.

“Initially when I was more into acting there was a lot of comparison, assumptions and some undue pressure on me as I also started with comedy and my father is very famous and known for some of his iconic comic serials.”

I was very young and not much professional and  lacked that kind of talent my father had.  Soon  I realised that even in acting, I didn’t want to limit myself to comedy and made that  conscious shift.

“I stopped doing comedy because I feared that people will brand  me just as a comic actor because people here can’t differentiate between a comedian and a comic actor.”

“Being a comedian, is a very rare gift that some people have and it is a very specialised kind of performance.”

“I am not a comedian, I am an actor who can try to do different kind of roles and the same goes for my father.”

My father, his name and my surname will always be my  identity. I stopped taking this comparison and pressure too negatively, but being honest, initially I was bothered. I realised it later that this identity is my pride and will always own it as my motivation and life long inspiration.

What do you think are the most important things for a director to have?

Direction is a broad field and it is quite obscure in so many Ways with Strong technical knowledge and aesthetic control being the foremost.  I have learnt over the years that as a director your job is to steer the whole ship or to create an environment where you facilitate collaboration  helping others bring out their best.

“Direction is an artistic endeavour but strangely it requires alot of people to bring their creative and technical skills. So for me it’s all about the environment and the energy that one creates for the collaborators.”

If you could be any actor, who would it be?

Though I would just like to be a good/decent actor but if I had to pick one actor that I could be it is the one and only, Munawar Zarif.

What is your favorite genre of film?

My go to genre as a viewer is psychological thrillers, intense drama and mysteries.

Tell us about your first television appearance?

My first television appearance was in a sitcom called, wrong numbers. It was written by Dr. Younus Butt and directed by Jawad Bashir in 1999.

I played the role of a nerd medical college student and I looked quite unbelievably bizarre.  It was interesting and I remember that I had no idea what acting for camera is all about. There were two rounds of auditions but Jawad created an environment where one would not feel daunted or intimidated.

How do you develop a story and How do you choose which projects to work on?

The keyword for this is patience, observation and some research. If a story sits somewhere in you, where it really makes a place for itself then it will just grow on its own. If you believe in the basic idea, (which could come from anywhere as the whole chemistry is a mystery) and give it the right amount of time then expect some beautiful metamorphosis to happen.

“Not all stories or ideas bloom into something good. At times maybe you just have to sit for long or at times maybe drop the idea. All we need to make is a connection with what we are developing and let it just slow-cook as then stories find you instead of you finding them.”

What is your favorite scene in your film? Why?

That’s a tough one 🙂

I have a theory/practice of detaching myself from my work as soon as it’s done and delivered because it causes some weird obsession sometimes and pulls you down rather than nurturing you or helping you to grow so I’m not very obsessed with my work.

“Yes, I do have fond memories of my work and I think Kamli is studded with brilliant performances and the memories attached to them are very close my to heart. The brilliance of my brilliant actors, when I look at it are just magic.”

As in actor I remember a scene in Manto between Nimra and me where Manto is hallucinating looking deep into the mirror and then Nimra appears. The memory of it and how we shot it is still so fresh  and clear in my mind. I was so close to the mirror in that scene that  I could not even see myself and simultaneously I had to be aware of the camera and Nimra’s magical appearance; in short it was all just spellbinding.

What inspired you to make Kamli and be a part of Joyland?

I think life usually inspires you, your own exsistence at that point in time and the emotional space you are in. Kamli grew very organically from a short film that I saw and then it developed with a lot of my own personal experiences and my screenwriters own take on themes. The  story stayed with me and I gave it time to grow and breathe and it blossomed into the blockbuster, Kamli!

As a producer, I have a supporting role in Joyland and I love Saim as a friend and as a filmmaker and I knew that he was developing Joyland and when he asked me to be a part of it I was more than happy to help him make this dream of a film come true.

What was the most challenging aspect of directing a film?

Just making the film with some sense of freedom and keeping your vision intact without being a dictator or having unnecessary control and having everybody collaborate is the most challenging aspect I think. You can’t be aggressive or too angry while directing any project.

“Being a director is like having a great amount of responsibility where you need to find a middle ground with all the collaborators and still not letting go off your style, integrity and the creative approach that you have.”

What was the last movie you saw?

The last movie I saw was, Cate Blanchett’s Tár.

Would you like to share some details about your upcoming project with us?

A Tv serial is coming on Green Tv called Goum. I have directed this and also acted in it. There is also a limited series coming up on Express Tv with Saba Qamar , Juggun and Rabia Butt.

I’m also doing a lot of exciting stuff for my YouTube channel, Khoosat Films. We have three shows as I’m exploring the landscape of digital world.

“I am in the process of writing a feature film.”

Tell us about how “Khoosat in the Kitchen” started and the whole idea behind it.

I have done a cooking show a few years ago too it was called, ‘Star Iftar with Sarmad Khoosat’. I am not a chef but I am actually a very passionate cook and I come from a family where everyone is a foodie.

“We are family that’s a mix of kashmiris, Chaudhrys and Jutts so we have a variety of food. My Dadi was from Delhi so we have a taste of that as well with some great cooks in the family.”

I find cooking very therapeutic and particularly talking about  ‘Khoosat in the Kitchen’ I’m trying to explore the digital landscape and trying to see what kind of content or interaction with the fans can be done. More of a fusion of two things that I love the most, food and films.

Any advice for aspiring filmmakers?

Dreams do come true depending on how much conviction and belief you have, so belief in your dreams and originality and don’t ever look for shortcuts. Enjoy the process!

Photography & Edit: @waqar_ahmed_butt @paragonstudioofficial

Celebrity: @sarmadkhoosat

Make up & hair: @paragonsalonlhr

Salon style director: @alikhalid_26

Wardrobe: @jermynst

Stylist: @humzahmaliks

Set design & Art direction: @ayproductions.pk

Shoes: @hushpuppiespakistan 

For the first time ever, HSY introduces affordable festive collection for the women of Pakistan, named after his mother

Rehana Collection starred by the women of substance is a tribute to the remarkable women who inspired it all on multiple levels. “Rehana” is a celebration of the spirit of womanhood, paying homage to the silent yet
tenacious women who tirelessly uplift us every day.

HSY presented an affordable festive collection, for the first time on Women’s Day to celebrate the women
of substance, because they all deserve to wear what they love.

Tammana mey, taqdeer mey,
Khuwab ki tabeer mey
Shayer ki tehreer mey, soorat mey, tasweer mey
Deewanay ki sada bhi mey, manzil mey wafa bhi mey
Mey wo roshni hun jo aghaz degi, jo lafzon ko awaz degi
Bus in lafzon ko parhti jao, nikharti jao, sanwarti jao

— Sajal Aly —

Maa hun mey, himmat hun mey
Had bhi mey, bey hud bhi mey
Pehli muhabbat bhi mey, akhri ulfat bhi mey
Zindagi ka wasta bhi mey, jannat ka rasta bhi mey
Mey wo shohrat jo naam degi, mey wo muhabbat jo thaam legi
Is shohrat ko le keh charhti jao, is muhabbat ko le keh barhti jao

— Sarwat Gilani —

Hamari intehaye shauq kya hai,
humay har rah guzar pehchaan legi
Hamaray samnay manzil nishaan hai,
nayi subho hamay bhi jaan legi
Is shauq mey machalti jao,
is subho mey ubharti jao

— Hadiqa Kiani —

Jurrat hun mey, taaqat hun mey,
Justajoo mey, azaadi mey
Sitaron ki chamak bhi mey, baharon ki ramaq bhi mey
Ranj mey shafaq bhi mey, umeed ki jhalak bhi mey
Mey wo aandhi hun jo toofan degi, mey wo barish hun jo gulistan degi
Bus aandhi ki tarha larti jao, rukti kyun ho, karti jao

— Saba Qamar —

We all know that Kinza and Madiha Latif have given women a unique and strong voice in a crowded market through their brand, Zuria Dor, how would you describe your design philosophy?

Patience. Perfection.
Entrepreneurs who work on producing high quality products understand the importance of both patience and perfection and this drives the core philosophy. Patience to develop a product that is always unique and can set itself apart from a loud and noisy marketplace. Perfection to ensure that the product is to the highest standards of excellence, given the resources at that time in a company’s existence (and this is an important marker).
Patience because it takes multitude of micro decisions to build any garment, from the colours chosen, the fabrics, the drape and flow, the cut and style, and so many other details that subliminally or very overtly impact the garment.

The fashion industry is all about change and innovation, tell us about the challenges you both have to face in the industry to set new trends with a taste of individualism?
More than anything, the industry is about building operational capacities and setting standards for client experiences with robust backend processes. Our biggest challenges revolve around working on improving processes so that it supports our vision for international growth, and this involves many aspects of the business including product development, supply chain management, inventory, ensuring we are quick with responses to our customers, mapping out production possibilities, creating jobs, ensuring employees are coming up to standards expected for exports, ensuring high levels of brand communication etc. New trends aren’t simply product driven, they are also related to operational and marketing approaches. There is an entire journey of a product from research and development to launching and then processing orders. As both of us are trained in engineering, our approach is always divergent from the market at large. We are building for luxury, we are laser focus on product, customer experience and our operations.

“The Era of Fearless Women” was a beautiful yet a dreamy night, tell us about the whole concept behind the show and how was it working with all the strong and independent women?
The collection was created with the question in mind, who is a Zuria Dor woman? For us, she is a strong, independent, confident woman whose presence can own any space. That she is universal in her size and ethnicity. She is somebody whose sense of self and vision allows her to transform and transcend into a more confident version of herself. Far above social biases and judgements, she is unapologetically her own person.
Keeping this woman in mind, the collection was focused around bold and structured silhouettes balanced with exaggerated voluminous detailing. The hand embellished abstract florals and geometries along with incorporation of space-age metallic embellishments depicts the fearlessness of the women whom we envision.
The 11 women, from the host of the segment Khadija Malik to the 10 women who walked, the night was about their stories and who they are. They are, everything a Zuria Dor woman is.

Mehek Saeed Stylist

Mehek started working more than a decade ago, it was at a desk job that involved copywriting. And scary as it was to go freelance stylist — at a time when the profession did not even exist here — and with no guarantee of a steady income, she dipped her feet into that unknown ocean and never stopped swimming.
Fast forward a decade and there are no real fashion shoots without a stylist calling the shots. And yet, Mehek says she feels like an imposter at the idea of fearlessness underscoring the decisions that have lead her to where she is today, especially when what she feels most of the time is fear. The fear of not being able to juggle all the roles she plays — that all women play — the idea of doing and having it all feels a farce. But look at her.

Mehek wears the Layla Dress

Hajra Khan

Footballer

Our next woman is very special. As a child, Hajra Khan dreamed of becoming a professional athlete in patriarchal Pakistan. At age 14 she decided that football is life. And she kicked her way through to becoming the captain of the Pakistan Women’s Football Team.
Hajra broke the silence on talking about mental health for athletes, paving the way for her teammates, as well as other sportsmen and women to talk about their vulnerabilities without shame.
Always taking the bull by the horns, Hajra holds Three Guinness World records, performed under the banner of Equal Playing Field, each one set with the intention to get more girls to play football worldwide. Hajra loves Pakistan. And she wears our flag with pride when she travels to represent us at international clubs and games. Fearless in her pursuit of what sets her soul on fire, she is a hero who has blazed an important trail for every little girl who dreams of doing things no one has done here before…

Hajra wears the Arya Skirt Set

Azmeh Khan

Lawyer

Azmeh is an independent legal consultant best known for her advocacy around the Nikah Nama. Her work has shone a light on the fundamental problem of consent regarding the marriage contract. She has worked to lead reforms that include a re-training of the registrars and nikah- khwans responsible for lodging the paperwork correctly – yes, our struggles are that basic. As a lawyer, Azmeh is also driven towards raising awareness for women with regards to their property and inheritance rights. Things which should be fundamental, but which our women today still sadly need to fight for.

Azmeh wears the Dakota Dress

Hirra Babar

Entrepreneur

Up next is Hirra Babar. Hirra favours the path less travelled. She looks for ways to do things differently. In her statement making prerogative, she established her luxury handbag label called Warp. She insists on each part of her product to be homegrown. The materials she uses have to be made and sourced in Pakistan. She strives with her small team to craft these into bold and edgy pieces that will find a place in the world of luxury objects.

Hirra wears the Olivia Dress

Abeer Irfan Malik

Mother

For Abeer motherhood represents a majority of the women in the world. Abeer has managed brands for Haagen Dazs and Mocca Cafe under Cap Ventures Pvt. Ltd., but she has never done so as a career choice. Abeer is a mother first and last, and anything she does, she does because it fits her schedule of motherhood. As a woman who believes in female empowerment and equality, she chooses to be a mother. It is the banner she champions. Under this banner, her children are her trophies.

Abeer wears the Velaris Power Suit

Sara Tanwir

Embryologist

Up next is the very savvy Sara Tanwir. Sara is Pakistan’s first foreign qualified female embryologist, trained from the prestigious Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. In addition to her infertility practice, Sara set up her fertility centre, known as TAMC. In a country where medical facilities are scant, she has created a UK affiliated centre with an international team of doctors, who run a state of the art practice helping couples with infertility issues. Sara has helped produce more than 3000 babies. And for every 10 cases she handles, she offers one pro-bono baby. Infertility solutions are expensive and people in our country live below the poverty line – and so this social service she provides is an example of fearlessness. Especially when our government will not provide it because it clashes with its family planning agenda. Sara is also a recipient of the Charles Wallace Award for her work in social service.

Sara wears the Sienna Pant Suit

Vardah Aziz

Actor

Our next star is actor Vardah Aziz. Vardah made a lot of mama’s very happy when she taught Muneeba Khan how to use the Find My Phone feature to track cousin Kamala on Ms. Marvel. Vardah has been acting since she was 17. She’s played the vampy modern girl who corrupts good mama’s boys on TV; she’s playing a footballer breaking stereotypes about sportsmanship and women for a telefilm; and she plans to keep going with roles that will save her from being typecast in a field where pickings are already slim. If that means she will have to write some of these roles in the future, it’s a vacuum she is ready to fill. Gender is a war cry for Vardah as an actor and she stands ready to own the feminist label, and create strong female characters for Pakistani audiences.

Vardah wears the Isidore Dress

Summaiya Jillani

Artist

Summaiya almost became a doctor — but last minute she switched to art, her true calling. So you will know her as the artist who shot to fame with her creation of the desi Marilyn Monroe. The curiosity that initially lead her to medicine translated into activism through the art she practices today. Summaiya calls herself a proud feminist. She wears the label like a badge of honour. She was involved with T2F and worked closely with Sabeen Mahmud. Today she continues to be an avid participant of the Aurat March. Summaiya creates unapologetic art and hopes that women will stand up and claim their space in todays world.

Summaiya wears the Alita Suit

Maria Unera

Musician

Up next is Maria Unera. Maria is a powerful vocalist who packs a punch, and you will see that for yourself shortly. She describes herself as a musician with a storied connection to her craft. Maria draws on her life experiences to create her music, and has released a number of original singles to date including Strong and Time, setting herself apart from her contemporaries in her creative expression.
As the January ambassador for Equal- Spotify’s global campaign to highlight female musicians the world over, in their respective countries, Maria featured on a digital billboard in Times Square, representing Pakistan, with her song called Feel.

Maria wears the Milan Set

Rabia Butt

Model

Our final look is donned by Rabia Butt. Rabia entered Pakistan’s world of fashion when the industry wasn’t quite ready to leave the fair n lovely aesthetic behind. But she walked her way to becoming a top model, and earned the supermodel crown that she wears today. And here’s the rub: Rabia always wanted to be a model. But when she became one she realised that this wasn’t what she wanted. She wishes that everyone should get what they want, so that they realise that life isn’t about that. After more than a decade in the industry she wants to do something to give back – to do something that helps people. As someone whose life has been defined by the loss of her mother, she wants to work on providing a support base to other motherless children.

Rabia wears the showstopper of the night, The Orion Corset Dress

Zuria Dor continues to lead with aesthetic sense while retaining its brand values of achieving excellence in whatever it does,  we can’t wait to see what ZD has in store for us next.

Brand: @zuriador
Zuria Dor’s fearless women: @khadijaamalik @meheksaeed @hajrakhan.14 @azmeh08 @hirrab @abeerirfanmalik @saratahmed @vardah_aziz @summaiyajillani @mariaunera @iamrabiabutt
Live models: @thesamanmalik @zahra_nq @mehruuuu @rameesha_yazdani
PR Management: @centaur.one | Hair & makeup: @nabila_salon | Jewelry: @swarovski

You’re one of the biggest female icons in the Pakistani film industry. How have you seen the industry change over the years?

The people in Lahore’s film industry are destroying each other. They’re not positive. They’re only out to get each other and they’re making money out of that. If there’s a new producer on the block, they’ll make sure they do everything in their power to destroy them. They’re destroying heroines. They’re stuck in ageism. Kothiyaan kis ke paas zada hain uss mein phass gaye hain. If you look at Bollywood or Hollywood, you’ll see that they are not stuck in ageism. They’re not jealous. Magar yahan aik dusray ko katnay mein lagay huay hain. They think “isko itnay saal ho gaye hain ye kyun kaam kar raha hai.” Jo mature hai usko bus ziba karnay mein lagay huay hain. They’re destroying the Pakistani film industry. They’re destroying each other. They’re destroying Pakistan. Pakistan ko tabah, industry ko tabah, Lahore ki industry ko tabah. And the people doing this are all people that are inside the industry. The fans love us stars. All over the world, people respect and give importance to stars. The entire industry should stand behind and support stars but they’re just trying to destroying us. Stars are supposed to be Pakistan’s ambassadors. However, we’re not given our due respect. I’m dying to get respect in this industry. Mujhe izzat tou mile. Na industry se milti hai, na bahir se milti hai.

Did you always want to be an actor?

I’m a born actor. I think I was 8 or 9 and I knew that I wanted to be an actor. People tell me to be something other than who I am but I can’t. Mujhe Allah ne banaya hai. Kuch loug hotay hain jinko Khuda banata hai aur unko bana ke bhejta hai. I’m one of those people. My mother was a single mom. We didn’t even have money to put food on the table. We have seen such horrible times. My mother has faced so many challenges as a single mom. But coming back to your question, yes, I was born like this. I was always this. The day I was born, I was born as an actor. My qualities, the stars, I was just this. I was never anything else.

What do you enjoy most about acting?

I like playing different characters. I’m an observer. I like to observe people and characters. I like to dive into different lives. I want to show the world what the realities of this life are and how people are living. Jaisay, aik actor ka kaam hota hai bikhari ki life mein ja ke uski zindagi dekhana. I consider myself a filmmaker and an actor. I’ve produced a total of 15 films.

Do you like being a filmmaker or an actor?

I enjoy each and every role. I like them both. I have the best team. My mother is a part of my production team. My brothers, Hassan and Hussain are also a part of my team. They’re great at coordinating and organizing everything. My father helps out too and my mother handles the finances. It’s a team effort.

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I’m doing a serial called Feroza which I’m super excited about. I’m also working on a film. It’s a parallel cinema film called “Randi.” It shows the life of a randi. It will be a controversial movie.

Do you think the censor board will pass the movie or do you expect some trouble?

Mere saray dushman hi hain. Ever since I’ve stepped into the industry, they’ve all been trying to destroy me. They’re nice to your face but try to stab you in the back. It’s a cutthroat industry. This is the reality and I want to speak my truth.

How was your experience working with Mohsin Khawar?

Mohsin is a wonderful person but honestly, people didn’t let me work with him either. We only did one shoot. The management, who were the people in the middle, didn’t let us get in touch or exchange numbers even. The management takes decisions here. Not us. A star has to make a lot of effort here to represent the country. To create cinema. To create projects. There are so many issues of management here. They try to kill you. They’re not cooperative at all. They create their own name through us and then they try to sabotage us. My hospital project was destroyed because of this, too. Loyalty is very important.

What are some things on your bucket list?

I want to make a hospital that focuses on charity work. I want to focus more on charity work. Mein chahti hun marney ke baad bhi mujhe dua’ein milien. Mein jannat mein jana chahti hoon. Mein Allah Taala ke samnay aik acha chehra le ke jana chahti hoon aur mein surkh ru hona chahti hoon. I want to make everyone happy. I want to make my Allah happy.

Another thing on my bucket list is to work on women empowerment. I also want to work in parallel cinema and do characters that are controversial and closer to reality. I also want to get married, dhoom dhaam say. I had a relationship before but, you know, no one was ready to own me publicly. Yes, they want to have relationships, they want to get married but chup ke shaadi ka tou koi faida nahi hai na. I want to get married in front of the whole world. I want to be a good wife. Mein apnay husband ki ibadat karoon gi. Last on my bucket is doing a project with Shahrukh Khan. I want the media to support me. People spread such controversies about me. They say I’m not professional and I don’t show up on time but none of it is true. All of it is to destroy me so that I don’t succeed. They try to keep me away from the public. I have to face so many hurdles just to get my voice heard. I want to connect with the public and my fans. Media is the only one that has helped me. People are jealous, they aren’t positive at all. Star ki izzat hi nahi hai. I’m a star. I’m an iconic person. I don’t get respect from my own country. Look at Hollywood and Bollywood. Take the example of Madhuri, Rekha and Dilip Kumar. Look at how Indian cinema has succeeded because they don’t care about ageism or your skin. Idher ayein gay aur bolien gay: “Tera mun kyun kharaab ay? Aye tu kala kala laya hoya ay? Haye!” I’m just sitting there thinking who the hell are you to pass these comments about me?

Describe a day off from work.

I try to do some self care. I try to take care of my skin. I’m launching my website and my brand called Meera Jee red lipstick so I work on those things.

What do you struggle with in daily life?

I struggle with the negativity in Lahore.

What about on personal level?

I struggle with loneliness of course. I need a husband. Someone who loves me. I need love in my life. I’m a very romantic person but I don’t have anyone to show it to. Meri jawani guzar rahi hai.

I’m sure people recognize you when you step out of the house. Does it get difficult to deal with the fame and especially the hate that comes with it?

No of course not. I love that. I love my fans. I’m not irritated by these things at all. Mein unsay pyaar karti hoon. No matter what they say. I love my fans and they love me. They want to see me. They’re excited for me. They want to take pictures with me. So how can I be upset with that?

Photographs: Mohsin Khawar
Hair & Makeup: Sara Tarek
www.mohsinkhawar.com

What’s it like seeing yourself on the cover?

Amazing as always!

How did you decide to pursue acting as a career? Did you always want to be an actor?

Becoming a doctor or an architect was something that used to excite me. Theatre production followed by acting legit just happened randomly. A tiny tv appearance and here I am.

Has your perception of acting industry in Pakistan changed over the years?

Not really although there are surprises every now and then.

What are your hobbies outside of acting?

Travelling, reading, watching shows, exploring – I’m into a lot of things.

What is your beauty routine?

Lots of cleansing, moisturizing and hydration. Face masks every now and then. Also, I like to get hydra facials whenever I get the time.

Do you work out?

I try to keep up with my yoga routine.

How do you handle the fame that comes with being an actor? Does the hate or the pressure ever get to you?

Who doesn’t like fame? No complaints in that department Alhamdulilah. As far as the hate is concerned – I’m blessed with thick skin I believe. Trolls can be horrible and I’ve seen people suffer because of them but fortunately I can conveniently skip the hate. Also, who cares about the hate when there’s so much love in your life?

What’s your favourite part about your work?

Acting: I get to play different roles. I love doing character acting.

Production: the creativity and chaos of shoots

Activism: the satisfaction of fighting the good fight.

Who is your favourite designer?

I’m really liking stuff by YSL these days. I’m not the kind of person who likes everything by her favs so hard to name the list.

Name three things on your bucket list.

Blessed to be ticking a few recently. Some more are:

  1. Perform Umrah
  2. Designing and living in the house of my dreams
  3. Go to every Michelin star restaurant

Who is your inspiration?

My Amma

Describe your perfect day off when you’re not working.

Waking up to a lazy coffee hour in bed with my fur baby and the baby I married. Spending the day with my loved ones, maybe squeezing in an hour for yoga or taking a nice walk in the gorgeous Islamabad winter evening, planning for the upcoming vacation, having dinner at my fav Chinese restaurant followed by late night chit chats while munching on fresh peanuts and Kashmiri tea. Last thing would be catching up on an episode of whatever I’m watching or reading a few chapters of the book I’m reading then.

What advice would you give to young aspiring actors?

Don’t do everything that comes your way. Be selective. Choose wisely and most importantly never get disheartened. There’s always a place for talent!

Tell us about your journey. How did you decide to pursue a career in music? Is this something you always wanted to do?

With time, it grew more and more apparent to us that this was what was needed to be done.

How did you guys meet?

We both met at a gig for HBL when we were both still in university. We got to know each other there, one thing led to another and we started making songs together.

What are your hobbies outside of singing and performing?

Roshaan likes to play Fifa and F1 (along with other story based games), learn languages, and meditate. Hassan likes photography and cricket.

Has your perception of the entertainment industry in Pakistan changed overtime? If yes, how?

Our perception only changed with the changing landscape of the Pakistani music scene. When we started out, the industry was as expected, barren. But now, thanks to all of the new artists and of course the listeners, the industry is on the right track.

People in Pakistan don’t consider music or singing a “proper” profession. Did you have trouble with your parents or families when you decided to pursue this career?

Although Hassan and I were both graduates of Economics, during our university years we had to decide (at different points in our lives) if we wanted to get a job in the field of economics or strive to become a musician in Pakistan. Of course we had consider all factors and take a decision that was the most practical for us, which is why both of us eventually decided to become musicians.

What does the process of making look like for you guys?

Each song has its own story. Some songs come out smooth like butter, but for some our ideas just LOVE to take their sweet sweet time 🙂

What’s your favourite part about being a musician?

The one of a kind, special bond we get to build with our listeners.

Name three things on your bucket list.

Collaborate with an international level A-lister artist – Do at least one show in all the continents of the world (except Antarctica of course) – Fix the muslim shower in my washroom (like, you have to turn the entire tap offotherwise it just keeps leaking its just…annoying as hell…and I keep PROCRASTINATING TO GET A NEW ONE) (actually, after im done with this interview im going to get a new one…DONE)

Who is your inspiration?

There are many figures we look up to for various reasons——- but if we were to summarise it would be AR Rahman for both Hassan & Roshaan, and Diego Maradona for Roshaan

Describe your perfect day offwhen youre not working.

For Roshaan its a peaceful day of gaming while listening to a bossa nova playlist, for Hassan its cricket, photography and meditation.

What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?

Focus on becoming unique not skillful. Dont get us wrong, skill is a great thing and its really really good to practice your craft, but the intention should be to become one of a kind and to aid your own unique expression, not to acquire skill without knowing what to do with it. Consistently keep creating and releasing music and you will eventually find your audience. right things willl come to you at the right time.

From producing films, fighting online trolls and moving towards a healthier lifestyle,  this superstar reveals it all

The trailer for your upcoming movie “Heer Maan Ja” has audiences excited. Tell us about your role and how the plot is different from a typical rom-com.

“Heer Maan Ja” is not just a rom-com, but a feel-good movie with an important social message. Heer is a happy-go-lucky, high-spirited girl with big dreams, but from a conservative family — a character many will able to relate to. She wants to keep everyone happy, but once she undergoes a transformation, the real story begins.

You mentioned in one of your interviews that your relationship with your father inspired the father-daughter dynamics in “Heer Maan Ja.” Please elaborate.

That’s my absolute favourite part of the movie. We’ve shown a very healthy and positive father-daughter relationship – one that’s similar to my own relationship with my father.

I’m also extremely grateful that the venerable Abid Ali agreed to play the role of my father. We previously worked together on “Diyar-e-Dil” and it was great to work again.

“Eid is a festive occasion and a big business window for Pakistani movies. It’s always good for the industry to have more than one release to the exhibitors”

“Heer Maan Ja” is going to be released on Eid-ul-Azha, coinciding with the release of some other big budget movies. Does that make you feel any pressure?

Eid is a festive occasion and a big business window for Pakistani movies. It’s always good for the industry to have more than one release to the exhibitors. As a producer, I know we need more cinema screens in Pakistan for the industry to become sustainable, which we’re not. We’re dependent on foreign content when Pakistani films are not releasing.

As far as the other movies are concerned, I believe they are catering to an audience much different than “Heer Maan Ja,” which is a comedy. They’re all projects from incredibly talented people and I wish them all the best.

The majority of your work has been with either Ali Rehman Khan or Osman Khalid Butt. Does being old friends or being raised in the same city have a part to play in that?

It’s a simple equation — the more you enjoy your work, the better a job you end up doing. Having a good team and people we are comfortable with, is probably our strength as a production house. To be honest, Ali & I have worked on various projects together and we have a whole bunch of fans, but Heer & Kabeer’s relationship in “Heer Maan Ja” is very different from what our fans and audiences have seen us play before.

How has your journey from “Pawnay 14 August” to “Heer Maan Ja” changed you as a person?

It’s been a wonderful roller coaster ride. I feel, I’ve grown exponentially as an individual, realised I’m a workaholic and love my job, both as an actor and as a producer and have accepted that my strength lies in my family and close friends.

So while I’m calmer, more focused and working non-stop, I’m essentially the same Hareem.

“Actors are also humans and we have good and bad days — we have skin issues, weight issues and all other imperfections that any other human has”

When answering why you ventured into production, you’ve spoken about the shelf life of an actress. Don’t you think a growing film industry demands female characters to be written differently?

Of course it does and there have been many projects in Pakistan that focus on women of all ages. However, that doesn’t mean that if the opportunity arises one shouldn’t broaden their horizons.

In order to grow professionally, you need to explore your options and keep on learning. Producing was  just a natural next step, even if I keep the age and gender factor aside.

What’s the best and worst thing about being a woman in the public eye?

The best thing is that you represent Pakistan and can be a role model for Pakistani women.

The worst is always being under scrutiny in a judgemental society. Actors are also humans and we have good and bad days — we have skin issues, weight issues and all other imperfections that any other human has.

You’ve spoken very candidly about your weight loss journey, advocating fitness over an unrealistic obsession with being skinny. What motivated you to change your lifestyle?

As we grow older, I guess it’s natural to want to be healthy — and that’s what triggered my decision to start this journey. At some point I actually started enjoying it all, the exercise, eating healthy and just feeling fit — it just became a way of life for me.

At the same time, because it wasn’t an attempt at becoming skinny, the journey has left me feeling good about who I am, instead of being in a race to be a certain size or shape.

“I’m blessed that my family is super supportive and loving. Both my sister and I have been brought up with the mentality that we can achieve whatever we set our minds on”

How do you unwind?

By listening to music and exercising.

Everyone knows you as a skilled actress and credible producer, but what are you like at home? Tell us about your family and childhood.

I come from a small family. I have a  younger sister who’s studying abroad and together we had a very normal childhood. Our parents always encouraged us to follow our dreams. I’m blessed that my family is super supportive and loving. Both my sister and I have been brought up with the mentality that we can achieve whatever we set our minds on.

Other than my family, I have a very small circle of friends that I’ve known since my school days. They’re not from the industry and keep me grounded.

SHORT & SWEET

Favourite co-stars?

Ali Rehman Khan and Osman Khalid Butt

A role of yours you think you could’ve performed better?

There’s always room for improvement in everything you do

Your default response to trolls?

I generally don’t bother responding

Biggest pet peeve?

Dirty fingernails

Do you have a hidden talent?

I can make you laugh on the worst of days

Wardrobe essentials you can’t live without?

PJs

If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Flame-grilled chicken and biryani (I guess those are two)

Tell us your most embarrassing moment.

Postponing the filming of a scene because of a gazillion retakes, thanks to my fits of laughter

Three things on your bucket list for 2019?

1-Make “Heer Maan Ja” a success

2-Start working on my next film

3-Go on a vacation with my close friends (without my phone)

What traits of yours do you credit your success to?

The will to give my all to anything I set out to achieve

Interview:  Mehek Raza Rizvi

Photographer:  Shahbaz Shazi

Makeup & hair: Shazia Rashid

 Wardrobe Stylist:  Faiz Rohani

Ho Mann Jahaan, a coming-of-age musical drama film set in Karachi, is slated for a New Year, January 1st release. the team, lead cast members: Mahira Khan, Shehryar Munawar, adeel husain and Sonya Jehan, as well triple threat, director/writer/producer Asim Raza chat with GT about what it was like working on this highly anticipated film

You are offered many roles, how do you choose which roles you want to do? What are your vetting criteria?

Mahira Khan: At the end of the day, when it comes down to picking a role/project, there are a few factors I consider — script, director, time lines, location of the project, etc. I have tried to do one project at a time, so at times that also forces me to let go of certain roles.

When reading a script, a scene could do it for me, or a quirk of a character. I also try my best not to do a similar role twice. Right after Bin Roye and even while shooting for it I was very eager to do a contemporary film. I’m glad Ho Mann Jahaan came my way.

I must ask this, what has been your experience of working with Shahrukh Khan? Any interesting stories?

MK: Lots, but I’ll save that for the time Raees is releasing. Needless to say, it was a pleasure and an amazing learning experience.

How has working in India been for you? 

MK: It’s been good. I was nervous initially as I wasn’t in my comfort zone, but the team was great! They made me feel so comfortable that I settled in easily.

Having worked in Pakistani as well as Indian films now, what are some key differences and similarities?

MK: Well, cinema is cinema. The team is key! If your team is good the experience is good no matter where in the world you’re working. The major difference was the scale of the industry. It is a bigger industry thus has bigger teams, etc. Other than that whether it’s here or there, everyone on set is working towards one goal, which is to make a good film.

How was the Ho Mann Jahaan on-set chemistry? Share some interesting anecdotes with us.

MK: It was crazy, manic, magical to say the least. We were like a joint family living in a house. There was lots of love, minor arguments, lots of breakups followed by makeups, hugs and laughter, lots of tears. Let me tell you something about this team — we cry a lot. We saw the teaser all of us, crying and hugging each other. Someone gets upset with someone, we cry. Adeel and I did a scene/song up in Chitral and when we came back to the monitor, Asim had tears in his eyes—of happiness. Emotions ran high on this set. Also the crew was so much fun, it was the smallest most efficient crew!

You have been working on back to back projects. What’s on your 2016 agenda on the personal front?

MK: Actually, I didn’t expect Bin Roye to take so long. Otherwise the idea is to work on one project at a time. Nor did I expect to work on Raees this year. So yeah, it’s been a busy one. I’m hoping that next year is a good one inshAllah; I’m nervous for the film releases, wishing for the best. At the moment, I’m not taking up any projects. In fact, I’ve been chilling since July at home 🙂

Where do you see yourself in five years? 

MK: Five years? Would the next five minutes do? I’ll probably be reading a story to Azlan in bed, his favourite one, The Amazing Spider-Man 🙂

How was the Ho Mann Jahaan on-set chemistry?

Sheheryar Munawar: Saying, it was amazing would be an understatement! We are all great friends and so we worked hard and partied harder.

You are offered many roles, how do you choose which roles you want to do?

SM: Frankly I don’t want to do television–it’s a personal decision that I have made. That automatically narrows down to a few film scripts that are on offer to me at this point. The idea is always to choose quality over quantity. When I look at a project holistically, the script has to be good, there has to be something for me in terms of experimenting with new characters, the overall production value should be high and of course the director is important.

You have garnered much popularity amongst young women as a sex symbol. How does that make you feel?

SM: I don’t know how should I feel, but it should make me slightly richer. Can somebody please pass on this observation to top beauty brands.

Any plans to go to Bollywood like Mahira and Fawad?

SM: My primary focus is to produce high quality work whether it’s in the front of the camera or behind, in Pakistan or internationally.

How was the Ho Mann Jahaan on-set chemistry?

Adeel Husain: We worked and lived as friends and colleagues. Our initial relationship dynamics have evolved through the process of the film and that’s a special thing. We’ve shared good experiences on this ride together and our time on set has left us with a sense of togetherness. It’s really about other actors making each others’ jobs easier.

You are offered many roles, how do you choose which roles you want to do? What are your vetting criteria?

AH: It’s instinctual. The combination of a good script in a competent director’s hand is what one has to look out for. Many other key details about a project also play at the decision of whether you can take it on or not, or should. I usually have a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ inside my head in the form of a feeling and just go with it.

This is your debut film. How has this been as opposed to acting for TV?

AH: Ho Mann Jahaan has been a unique and special experience and I definitely won’t be comparing it to anything else. The Vision Factory led by Asim is a hard working team. I’ve enjoyed the space that got created for me to do my work on a daily basis and have enjoyed the camaraderie within the cast and crew. In the end, we are pushing forward in film and should do the same in television by executing better stories.

Any plans to go to Bollywood like Mahira and Fawad?

AH: No plans. I’m very happy with the momentum here and my hands are full. I would like to continue to contribute to the development of more films, and, if lucky, one day work in Hollywood. Who knows what the future may bring?

What are your upcoming projects?

AH: For now, it’s Asim Raza’s Ho Mann Jahaan and Mehreen Jabbar’s Dobara Phir Se. This has been an exciting year for me.

How do you find living in India with your husband Vivek Narain? Was it a difficult transition?

Sonya Jehan: Moving to India permanently was not my intention. I went for a project, but then I got married to Vivek, who I had met in London, after I graduated from college. I have now been there for 13 years, and it has been easy as lots of my college friends live in Delhi. I now also have a family of my own. There is not a huge difference between our traditions, so it was easy to blend into life there.

Tell us about your life there.

SJ: I live in New Delhi and my life there is not as glamourous as people may think it to be. I have two children: Noor will be 8 and Nirvan is 4 and a half. They take up a lot of my time. I wake up early with the kids, go to the gym, work and am normally in bed by 9 p.m.with a good book or movie. Weekends are a time for me to catch up with friends and enjoy what the city has to offer.

Earlier you had some issues with getting an Indian work visa. How did you sort that out?

SJ: Getting visas nowadays for anywhere in the world is complicated, and with my work being more freelance, it was challenging. However, it has been 13 years now. I have a work permit, which was granted to me on the basis that I have family in India.

You have worked with Hollywood actors in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, as well as Bollywood and Pakistani ones. What are some differences in the work style that you have encountered?

SJ: Every time I do a project, it’s a whole new different experience. The Ho Mann Jahaan team is like a family and I have known Asim for a long time. It’s my first film in Pakistan, so I am really looking forward to it. Bollywood is a lot more commercial. They don’t waste time. It’s intense. Hollywood I cannot comment on as I’ve not really done a film as such, but I did an opening scene for the Reluctant Fundamentalist and it was an enriching experience.

Which film have you most enjoyed working in to date?

SJ: Every film has brought its fresh set of joys and challenges. Taj Mahal was my first; it was very exciting and humbling, plus I had a huge role. Khoya Khoya Chand was a small budget and everyone had to pull their weight; it was a good laugh. My Name Is Khan was very commercial, yet it was daunting to work with Karan Johar. Shahrukh Khan and Kajol are lovely people and I enjoyed working with them both. And, ofcourse, Ho Mann Jahaan holds a lot of weight and is close to my heart. It is my first Pakistani film, plus I have returned to the big screen after a hiatus of four years following the birth of my son.

How was the Ho Mann Jehan on-set chemistry?

SJ: Fun and young! It was like working with a family. After shooting this movie, I feel like I have extended my family and circle of friends.

You have been directing commercials and music videos and this is your first feature film. Describe the transition. Asim Raza: Frankly speaking, all my training and experience in ad film-making has certainly helped me alot in preparing me for a feature film, but film is a whole other ball game altogether. There are overlaps when it comes to shooting a commercial and shooting a feature, but the whole process of making a feature film was a completely new experience for me and I must confess it took me a while to get a grip on it. Having said that, I must also confess that ad films and music videos gave me the confidence in who I am as a storyteller and where I stand today.

You are the script writer, director and one of the film’s producers. You must really believe in this project. You have also said that this story has autobiographical elements to it. Share with us why you feel so strongly that this story needed to be told.

AR: When I said that this story has realities in it I did not mean that it is my own story, but I do feel that I have seen all of this happening to either me or the people around me. I have always believed in real stories, so that people can connect and associate with them easily and see their reflections in the characters. Therefore, I wrote this keeping my people, surroundings and society in mind.

What was the on-set camaraderie like between cast and crew? What kind of atmosphere do you like on your sets, i.e. ultra focused and professional, relaxed and jovial or a combination?

AR: The camaraderie was the only reason why we could actually make this film happen. As I said earlier, film is something which can become almost impossible for beginners like me if you do not get the support from a strong team, and for Ho Mann Jahaan that surely was the case. I am most thankful to my team, who stood by me through thick and thin and made this project happen.

I like a combination of both. While I want my team to give complete focus to work, I also want them to make it the most fun moments of their lives and mine too.

What are your upcoming projects?

AR: Ho Mann Jahaan. Jokes aside I have not worked on anything else, neither commercials, nor music videos for the last 18 months. I wanted my complete focus on my film. INSHALLAH once it is out, then I will start to think what to do next.

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