- Tell us about your family, education.
A: I did my O & A Levels from Lahore Grammar School after which I did my University of London LLB Honours Degree. Following this Bachelors in Law, I went to London for higher studies- did my BAR-AT-LAW from Inns of Court School of Law.
A lot of people are surprised to hear that no one ,from my immediate family atleast, belongs to or has in any way been associated with the media…on the contrary, I come from a family of hard core doctors!My parents are both doctors (my father a Paediatrician ,my mother a Gynaecologist..and my younger sister a Dentist).
- From law to television- when and how did you think of becoming a current affair program’s host? Did social issues always interest you?
A: People often ask me this question. My entry into Television was rather accidental.A few years ago I was casually asked by lawyer Hasnain Bokhari, if I would be interested in doing a legal advice TV Show.Back then I was working as an associate with an international law firm Rizvi,Isa,Afridi & Angell(RIAA).The idea of hosting a TV Show, where I could translate all my practical legal knowledge to help Pakistani masses ,seemed much more exciting to me than my then…monotonous & boring corporate law firm job -so I agreed to give TV a try! That’s how my TV journey began.
After the success of my debut show ‘Insaaf 24-7 with Hasnain & Fatima’ on A-PLUS, offers from different channels started pouring on which I took up as I realised that I thoroughly enjoyed Television. In a shorter span of time, it gave me more recognition & definitely better remuneration than the legal profession,so I decided to stick to it.
One thing I was particular about however… was that I wanted to use my legal education, my practical work experience to do ‘constructive’ television -hence the decision to stick to current affairs programming.
- What makes an anchor stand out?
A: Thorough research & being socially /politically aware of national &international affairs is what really makes any anchor standout in my opinion.True confidence comes only from thorough research, so if an anchor wants viewers to take him/her seriously, they need to be well-read on their subject.
True mark of a competent anchor is that they will be firm yet polite, opinionated yet seemingly (on screen at least) professionally objective and neutral.
Broadcast Journalism for me, I believe is also a test of one’s nerves, when faced with difficult situations it is extremely important for an anchor to be patient and to not let such problems make them lose their cool.
- Tell us what aspect of hosting you find the most difficult one? Why?
A: As a young TV anchor ,one of the most difficult (rather annoying) problems I have faced in my TV career is not been taken seriously. I have often been told that I appeared too young to talk about ‘serious’ issues on TV, sometimes even made to wear extra makeup to give a more mature & elderly look on the screen! Other than that ,one problem (which I am sure)most tv anchors face is the lack of sensitivity shown by guests’ if anything goes wrong during the show recording due to ‘technical’ reasons. I have interviewed several renowned persons who have been angry with me, blaming me for technical issues that were encountered during the show. Dealing with such people(as an Anchor) is always a task!
- Your take on morning shows?
A: I have been offered several morning shows by leading TV Channels-however I did not take up any of these offers as principally I am opposed to manner in which they are conducted. That in itself explains my take on morning shows!
With the exception of maybe one (or two) morning shows , I am not a big fan of such shows. Most of these shows do not promote a very positive image of our culture ; objectifying women; glorifying atrocities & focusing on all the wrong & irrelevant issues. Morning shows are definitely one of the most important & impactful transmission of any TV Channel, so it would definitely be heartening to see this time slot being used more constructively by TV Channels.
- We all have our ways of coping with stress; what are yours ?
A: Coping with stress is definitely a process in itself & for me atleast , there cannot be a defined, standard strategy to deal with it at all times. Different situations demand different ways to cope with it however what I always do try to do is that I identify the real cause of the problem, changes I need to make in my life/attitude to combat it & how I can practically make such adjustments.
My solution based stress management also includes eliminating stressors (be it a lifestyle change, stressful job or maybe even a person).I shamelessly admit that I do avoid people who stress me for no reason ,for me self-love is very important !
- And when you’re not busy with work, what are some of your favourite things to do?
A: I love reading…be it fiction, philosophy ,thriller or romance .I would read anything and everything that comes my way! In the past few years however, I have started reading more biographies and autobiographies of my favourite public figures.
To keep myself from being caught up in the same life pattern ,I also travel every now & then to break the monotony. I love exploring new places & meeting new people-it adds excitement to my life & gives me a fresh perspective.
- Any fun fact about you that people are not aware of?
A: My sense of humour! If I am comfortable with someone, I can crack them up in minutes. My friends & family would vouch for that! The ability to look at the lighter side of things, of even the most stressful times in my life has definitely helped me get past them. I do consider my sense of humour to be a character strength.
- Are you going to step into acting?
A: For a few years I want to stick to anchoring , so in the near future I do not see myself stepping into the drama industry.
Long term however,I am not keeping anything off the table. I like experimenting and exploring new avenues .What I am sure about is that, if I ever do step into acting, I will opt for strong & meaningful roles which portray Pakistani women in a positive light rather than the stereo typical ‘damsel in distress’ characters or the like. I think it’s time our world famous drama serials start showing Pakistani women in a more progressive manner ,rather than showing them as victims of various atrocities only.
- Any fan encounter that made you very happy or angry(whatever you would like to share)?
A: Well, there have been quite a few but I will quote one particular one here as I find it very intriguing. I was in Bentota Beach Resort in Sri Lanka last year ,where I met a local Sri Lankan fan ,that too a tuk-tuk driver! A few seconds after sitting in the vehicle the driver recognised me, told me in his broken English that he was my fan & followed my shows regularly. He even took out his phone to show me that he followed me on social media.I was quite surprised as my show, as we all know, is in Urdu Language so it was intriguing coming across a fan who didn’t understand Urdu but watched my show just to see me. I have come across fans in India, America and other countries but those were either Pakistanis or Indians-so this certainly was flattering!
- How do you maintain a perfect balance between your work and family life?
A: It’s a difficult balance to maintain & I will admit that till date it is not as perfect as I would want it to be .My family time ,time with friends & personal life does get affected by my work but thankfully everyone important in my life understands that .I try to keep my weekends free for family ; also travel with family/friends every now & then to spend quality time with them.
- Quick choose round:
- Celebrity crush: Brad Pitt
- Favourite Holiday Spot: Santorini, Greece
- Deadly Sin : Pride
- Motto You Live By : Love Conquers All
- Biggest regret: Not being very expressive about my feelings with people I cared for
- Guilty pleasure: Late night binging on chocolate
- Share your beauty secrets.
A: My skin & my hair are two things I make an effort to maintain. My skin care includes eating healthy,keeping myself well-hydrated and maintaining a proper sleep routine . Also off screen I wear minimal makeup .When it comes to my hair-I’m particular about oiling them once week & taking necessary hair supplements.
- What particular qualities you would want to have in your life partner?
A: To start with , he has to be intelligent. Intelligence is a big turn on! Other than that someone who is supportive of my career, someone who has the same values /outlook on life as me & someone who definitely has a sense of humour. Everybody likes people who can make them laugh! Also,since l consider myself to be a mentally strong person..my (ideal) partner must exhibit the same mental strength as well.
- What turns you off in men?
A: Arrogance & pride.
- If there is one thing you would want to change about Pakistan on an emergency basis-what would it be?
A: Change always comes from within—we need to change ourselves as Pakistani citizens,as human beings first & foremost ,before we change anything about Pakistan! We need to educate ourselves,be aware of the power of our vote … so that we vote for the right people to govern us. So yes… ensuring proper provision of education till primary level atleast,all over Pakistan, would be that one thing that I would want to change in the country on an emergency basis.
- Is there anything that you want to but have not attained so far?
A: I am my own biggest critic ; to be honest I do think I have a long way to go in my TV career at this stage. Although,I am happy with what I have achieved so far in these few years in television… I still do want to do a lot more! Perhaps, carve a stronger identity for myself in the Pakistani Television Industry & acquire greater national as well as international fame & recognition.
- What has been the perfect advice given to you till date?
A: That sometimes …silence is the best answer!
- Any message you would like to give to the readers of Social Diary Magazine?
A: Love yourself first & everything else falls into line.