Sheâ€™s dazzled us with her charm, wowed us with her style and captivated us with her performancesâ€”Nausheen Shah is truly a force to be reckoned with. Here, the face of 9Linesâ€™s new Resort Collection 2020, speaks to Mehek Raza Rizvi talks to her about her goals, her views on the industry and more
Nausheen, Iâ€™m a huge admirer of your style, as are many others. Do you ever feel that that takes away from your work as an actress though?Â
I donâ€™t think fashion and acting are at odds with each other. Itâ€™s actually beneficial for an actor to dress well. In fact, thatâ€™s true for every profession; if someone knows how to carry themselves and look presentable, theyâ€™ll leave a good impression.
As far as my sense of style taking away from my craft is concerned, I would completely disagree. Iâ€™ve never felt any such thing. Iâ€™ve received appreciation for both, my acting skills and my flair for fashion.
â€œIâ€™m perhaps one of the very few actresses whoâ€™ve happily played characters way older than my actual age, because thatâ€™s what our job isâ€
Youâ€™re one of the few Pakistani public figures whoâ€™ve been brave enough to speak about mental health. Do you think about using your influence to help those in need?Â
Iâ€™ve been talking about mental health because itâ€™s an issue close to my heart. In our country, depression and anxiety arenâ€™t discussed as openly and as frequently as they should be, but I wish to create more awareness. Iâ€™ve experienced the helplessness myself; Iâ€™ve suffered a lot and would never want anyone else to go through the same.
I have a lot of plans that Iâ€™ll be executing with some of my fellow actors. Youâ€™ll hear more about this in the future. Iâ€™m definitely not going to give up on this cause easily, because I understand what a grave subject it is and how depression affects oneâ€™s life.
â€œIâ€™ve definitely found it hard to detach myself a couple of times. The trick is to take some time off, unwind and spend alone time until youâ€™re ready to bounce back with renewed energyâ€
Youâ€™ve mentioned choosing quality over quantity at this point in your career. What kind of scripts appeal to you?Â
Quality is far better than quantity. Less is always more. Iâ€™m not inspired by one-dimensional characters. I need acting margin, even if that means opting for a second lead. I donâ€™t want to be remembered as just a pretty face; I look for challenging roles that allow me to get out of my comfort zone. Iâ€™m perhaps one of the very few actresses whoâ€™ve happily played characters way older than my actual age, because thatâ€™s what our job is â€” to mould ourselves according to the script.
In the future, Iâ€™d like to push my limits even more. I want to pick up interesting, complex roles that leave an impact and allow me to grow further as an actor. When I look back at my professional journey so far, I feel Iâ€™ve tried doing just that and given my 100% each time.
â€œIâ€™ve experienced the helplessness myself; Iâ€™ve suffered a lot and would never want anyone else to go through the sameâ€
With the conversation on gender equality and feminism on the rise, how important is it for actresses to choose their roles carefully and avoid playing the damsel in distress?
Our audience is very intelligent. If people follow us and look up to us as role models, itâ€™s for a reason and comes with a responsibility. Itâ€™s certainly important for actors to be mindful of the roles they pick, but this isnâ€™t gender specific. I think both, female and male actors should choose scripts carefully and try being part of more substantial projects â€” something real, different and evocative.
Itâ€™s important to portray strong female characters and not always show women crying, getting beaten up and feeling helpless, but itâ€™s equally important to not always show men as evil. We have so any real life stories of resilience, so many unsung national heroes in this country â€” we need to make serials and movies based on them to inspire people.
â€œMy childhood was beautiful; Iâ€™ve been blessed. I was a naughty child and have many fond memories that I cherishâ€
As a woman, have you experienced any inherent prejudices in your line of work?
Well, as women I feel weâ€™re faced with multiple issues on a daily basis that we unconsciously overlook and just move on. Itâ€™s like weâ€™ve become immune to them. Of course, Iâ€™ve experienced those too, but honestly overall I canâ€™t complain of any major prejudice based on my gender.
Very recently though, I was taken aback by an occurrence, unlike any other in my entire career of sixteen years. I signed a legal contract with a well reputed production house and much to my surprise, they detached me from the project without notice, casting someone else instead. I couldâ€™ve taken them to court for this, but decided against it and just took it as a lesson. Iâ€™m pretty disappointed by the unprofessionalism and still canâ€™t wrap my head around how such a big company can do this.
Apart from this one incident, Iâ€™m pretty grateful for the way Iâ€™ve been treated. Iâ€™ve received a lot of love and support and have no complaints.
Have you ever found it hard to detach yourself from an intense or complex role youâ€™ve played? Does some part of the characters you essay stay with you?
Yes, sometimes itâ€™s hard to get out of certain characters. Many a time, Iâ€™ve found it hard to fall asleep after an intense scene. Itâ€™s not uncommon for me to get deeply absorbed into a character and become that person. I donâ€™t think it happens to every actor, but Iâ€™ve definitely found it hard to detach myself a couple of times.Â The trick is to take some time off, unwind and spend alone time until youâ€™re ready to bounce back with renewed energy.
Out of all the characters youâ€™ve portrayed, which one do you relate to most and why?
Itâ€™s so hard to pick a favourite. Iâ€™ve done so much work, sometimes itâ€™s honestly hard to keep track and think of the multiple characters Iâ€™ve essayed.
I have, however, learnt from each one of them and carry a part of them with me. One role in particular thatâ€™s close to my heart was that of Dua, from a drama serial called â€œPani Jaisa Pyarâ€ by Sarmad Khoosat.
What is Nausheen Shah like at home? Tell us about your childhood and family?
Iâ€™m like any other girl, very regular. Iâ€™m super chill and lazy. I donâ€™t really do much at home and like enjoying time unwinding. My childhood was beautiful; Iâ€™ve been blessed. I was a naughty child and have many fond memories that I cherish.
I donâ€™t like talking much about my family because they arenâ€™t part of showbiz, I am. I keep them out of the public eye because they wouldnâ€™t appreciate being spoken about.
Wardrobe staples you canâ€™t live without?
A good pair of jeans, a white shirt and red lipstick
Your favourite current fashion trends?Â
Jeans, white button-down shirt and nude coloured heels
Describe your personal style in three words?Â
Personal, personal and personal
Which Pakistani celebrities do you think have good style?Â
Meesha Shafi and Nabila
And the ones in dire need of a stylist?Â
Everyone has their own style, so I canâ€™t recommend things for others.
What irks you most about social media?
Too many people with a lot of time on their hands.
Favorite â€˜90s jam?
There are quite a few by Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton and Lauryn Hill. I canâ€™t pick one.
Whatâ€™s the last photo you took?Â
I donâ€™t usually take selfies, but took one on set.
Do you have a nickname?
Naush â€” but only close friends and family call me that.
â€œI donâ€™t regret anything. I follow my heart and if things donâ€™t work out as planned, I consider it a lessonâ€
What was the last lie you told?
Currently in the mix, so canâ€™t say now.
Whatâ€™s one choice you really regret?
I donâ€™t regret anything. I follow my heart and if things donâ€™t work out as planned, I consider it a lesson.
Your biggest aspirations for this decade?
To keep moving forward, to learn something new every day and share that knowledge with people willing to listen.
Words: Mehek Raza Rizvi
Photography: Haseeb at 9Solutions
Art direction & styling: 9Solutions
Hair & makeup: Ayan Amir
Stuck in a style rut? Let the experts give you a lesson in styling wedding staples. This fortnight, socialite Saira Tiwana put together three looks to inspire bridesmaids and wedding goers, with hair and makeup by AVA Spa and Salon
Brand: SFK Bridals @sfkbridals
Muse: Saira Tiwana @sairatiwana
Hair & Makeup: AVA Spa and Salon @avaspansalon
Jewellery: Maheen Jewels @maheenjewels
Photography: Seemab Saqib Khan @seemabsaqibkhan
Esteemed diplomat Maleeha Lodhi has twice served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States and once to the U.K. She later went on to become the first woman to represent Pakistan at the United Nations in New York.
Known for her fiercely independent persona and quick wit, sheâ€™s effortlessly taken on key challenges in the line of politics for decades. Weâ€™re familiar with her analysis on an array of issues, but how well do we know her personally? Find out now in her exclusive talk with Haider Rifaat
How do you describe yourself?
Sum up your personal style.
Minimalist with a splash of colour
Favourite cuisine?Â Â
Desi, Italian, Chinese and Thai
Favourite city to visit?
Apart from home, London remains my all-time favorite, but New York is a close second.
How do you unwind?Â
I read and watch movies. I love mindless soap operas to disconnect completely from serious issues.
Which political figures inspire you?
Quaid-e-Azam and Fatima Jinnah. Theyâ€™re both equally inspiring for me.
A historic figure you long to have a conversation with?
An overused political term?Â
Your view on freedom today?Â
Freedom is earned, not granted.
How does the world view Pakistan, in your opinion?Â
A country with enormous promise, but still struggling to realise it.
What one word describes Pakistanâ€™s current political state?
How did it feel to be Pakistanâ€™s first woman to represent the United Nations?Â
It felt awesome
The key to diplomacy is…
Personal engagement, communication and above all, belief in oneâ€™s message.
An alternate career you would have chosen outside of politics.Â
Iâ€™ve had careers in academia, journalism and diplomacy. The latter was by accident, but I never thought of pursuing anything other than these three fields.
An actor you admire?Â
Too many to list
Who would play you in a biopic?Â
Iâ€™ve never really given much thought to this, but I can only feel sorry for the person who plays me.
Any television show you follow religiously?
I enjoy HUM Television and GEO Entertainment drama serials. One of my favorites is â€œAnaa.â€
A subject you disliked in school?Â
A holiday season you like?Â
Spring, as itâ€™s the season of new beginnings.
What does your ideal weekend comprise of?Â
Cheat days, spending quality time with my family and visiting my favourite restaurant.
A Pakistani fashion designer you like?Â
There are plenty. The top three are Maheen Khan, Faiza Samee and Khadija Shah.
An affordable international label you like?
Key to success?
Sweat and tears
A part of Pakistan you want to visit, but havenâ€™t yet?
What ticks you off?
A habit you hope to work on?Â
Whatâ€™s your best quality?Â
Thatâ€™s for others to decide, but I suppose Iâ€™d say my ability to work hard and stay focused on my goals.
Whatâ€™re your goals for this year?Â
To continue to serve the country in whatever capacity I can.
Any personal or professional regrets?
Some, but I learnt from them and moved on.
An unfulfilled desire?Â
To have spent more time with my parents, both of whom are no longer in this world.
In retrospect, what would you have done differently as a young adult?Â
Hard to say really, but again, not being able to spend more time with my family, especially my son, is something I wish I could go back and change.
Whatâ€™s changed when it comes to the Pakistani youth today?
Campuses in my time were full of student engagement on a host of public policy issues, so the emphasis was on advancing collective and not just personal goals. That seems to have changed. A few causes have, however, managed to fire the imagination of students today and the recent activism in our country is a promising development.
A quality we all need to work on as responsible citizens?
Tolerance for views other than our own.
Who has been your source of strength?Â
My son, Faisal.
An advice that keeps you going?Â
Stay calm and carry on.
What are you planning next?
Iâ€™m considering options. Itâ€™s tough, but letâ€™s see where I end up.