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Sidra Iqbal wears a lot of hats: she’s an internationally celebrated speaker, TV anchor/host/broadcast journalist, media strategist, PR practitioner, development activist, change consultant and last but not least a proud and doting aunt. After completing her MBA, she became the first Pakistani to be invited to participate in the International Leadership Program 2016, by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of UK. The energetic and effusive Sidra opens up to Sana Zehra

Who’s your biggest support group?

My sisters! They are my support group; they are my biggest critics and my best friends. I don’t think I can do all this without them.

Favourite activity in Pakistan?

Discussing politics is the national hobby of Pakistan. Sometimes I like indulging in this. I love to listen to people’s conspiracies theories about various subjects.

Would you ever leave Pakistan?

I like my short getaways but I was born and bred  here. This is my home. It’s like you asking, if I would leave home? Probably not, not in the foreseeable future at least.

Describe in 3 words what it’s like to live in Pakistan?

Loud

Chaotic

Fun

Favourite season?

Spring, because you hardly get that in Karachi. I love the sight of blooming flowers and whenever I am lucky I spot a butterfly in Karachi.

Favourite music?

I like too many songs to name. I’m a big movie buff. Growing up in the 90s I grew up with the sole entertainment of watching TV and Bollywood movies. I’m a huge Shah Rukh Khan fan.

Favourite TV series?

I am a big fan of Black Mirror. I don’t know why but I have taken a big liking to dystopia, which is my genre of choice these days.

Book you plan on reading?

The Origin by Dan Brown

Book that shaped your life?

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. My teacher, Mrs.  Akhtar, left a huge mark on my life and I remember her very fondly.

How excited are you about your life right now?

I am very excited about life. Early on I learned a small but profound lesson that is you have to be excited about taking on a new challenge. If you have the passion, the path becomes exciting automatically.

Ever plan on entering politics?

I am a good political commentator so I would say that it’s definitely an area of interest. Perhaps I may want to be a part of politics after a decade.

Have you ever been offered to enter any political party?

No, sadly not yet. I don’t know why but a lot people believe that journalists make excellent politicians.

IPhone or Android?

Android. I have never been an IPhone person or a Mac person, so android hands down.

Twitter or Instagram?

Instagram. Because a picture is worth a thousand words so definitely Instagram.

Vine or Snapchat?

Neither

Who’s your inspiration on Instagram?

Actually I am not following people, I am following sayings. I like to read when I take mini brakes during my work day whenever I feel a sudden dip in my energy, I am stressed or I feel a little negative. I browse through life lessons or profound sayings as a pick me up.

Favourite restaurant?

I am fond of Chop Chop Wok and I love Xander’s. I am planning to go to Evergreen, but the best desserts are at Pompeii.

Favourite food?

Biryani

Least favourite food?

Shaljam (turnips)

What do you love on your pizza?

Lots of cheese

Favourite drink?

As unhealthy as it might sound, Coca-Cola.

Favourite dessert?

Tiramisu

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Milk chocolate, preferably malt chocolate

Ever eaten anything weird?

I haven’t eaten weird things but I remember being in Singapore during my secondment and I saw fried grasshoppers as garnishing… I just thought that was really odd.

If your life was a song what would the title be?

Living on the Edge

If you could sing a duet who would it be?

I can’t sing to save my life but I think I’ll do a wonderful duet with my one year old niece because she’s phenomenal.

If you could master one instrument what would it be?

My brain, my mind and my thoughts. I think it’s one of the most complex instruments in the world and I would so want a manual….Why did it not come with a manual?

If you had a tattoo where would it be?

I need a tattoo on my wrist that says “Your ten minutes are up.” Because I tend to snooze every minute I can so I’m always running behind time.

Dogs or cats?

Cats

Koalas or penguins?

Koalas

Best gift you’ve ever received?

A hug from my nephew. He showed me what boys are really like. I’m very close to him and he’s the love of my life. One day with a lot of emotions I was looking at him and said, “I love you, Saad, my love!” He turned around, pets me ad says, “it’s okay, Kaka, it’s okay! The most practical advice, thanks Saad!

A historical figure you’d love to have coffee with?

I really wish I had met Princess Diana.

Favourite board game?

Ludo! I’m the Pakistan Ludo champ.

Favourite country?

I recently went to Switzerland. It was breathtaking. I see why Yash Chopra ingrained those images in our head.

Blow-dry or air-dry?

Blow-dry

Heels or flats?

Heels

Can you do an impersonation of someone?

Nope, not good at that.

Pilates or Yoga?

Pilates. My trainers are excellent.

Jogging or swimming?

Jogging, as I can’t swim.

How do you de-stress?

Listen to music and dance away.

One wish?

Eat more and get a faster metabolism.

Last time you felt nervous?

Both times when my niece and nephew were born. You feel excited, nervous and scared at the same time. There were a flurry of emotions.

What is love?

I think love is clarity. Love is focus. Love makes you feel the impossible is possible and you just dive in. I’m a huge believer of the power of love. Love makes you neither skeptical, nor cynical. I think it’s everything that is worthy in human experience.

Head or heart?

Logic comes from the head.  But I feel that any decision that doesn’t involve the heart, is a decision without a soul and it dies a very painful death. So every decision has to have a huge component of heart.

Define success?

The ability to continue growing and be joyful.

Ever been in love?

Yeah, baby!

When do you think you will get married?

Marriage to me is a priority. It’s an institution I have a lot of respect for. Therefore, it should never be done in haste. It should never be about, “Okay, now it’s time to settle down.” I think one of the worst thing you can call a marriage is settling down, because it is the most unsettling thing you’re ever going to do in your life. I’m going to wait for right person to come along before I take that leap of faith.

Has your life changed over the years?

Initially, I thought life was happening to me and it’s only a very recent realization that life is happening through me. So, yes, there are changes that I have brought about and I’m taking more and more responsibility of the fact that I’m the creator of my own reality. Life is as it is. Pakistan will be the way it is. The society has a lot of components that you and I can be very uneasy about.

What does GT mean to you?

GT Means great time to me and keep up the good work.

Interview & coordination:

Sana Zehra

Images:

Walnut Communications

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