Being the first girl from Pakistan who was directly chosen for major national and international beauty pageants, Areej knew she was always destined to pursue her creative edge. Despite facing her share of setbacks and hindrance, she never gave up and was soon enough making headlines having won such great and major titles. However she is committed to showing how pageants are not just about strutting with a pretty face- it is all about intelligence, skills, charity and more. Social Diary had an interesting conversation with the talented starlet to know more about her journey and future plans.
SD: Tell us a little about your family and childhood?
Areej: I was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia but then we moved to Pakistan later on. We are four siblings, 2 sisters and 2 brothers. I was actually quite a mischievous child early on. I was always a very creative one. You can consider me as being a tomboy as I used to have cars in my room instead of Barbie dolls.
SD: As a young girl, what did you aspire to become?
Areej: I always held the notion to become a beauty queen with a purpose. Women overall have major talent and are capable of doing so much when provided with a proper platform. I wanted to have a platform from where I could break the stereotypes set by cultural norms. Women are generally pushed down when they want to push the envelope and take on unconventional roles. My urge was always to show how despite being a woman, I can set my life on my own terms.
SD: How did you know you wanted to go into the field of modeling?
Areej: I always wanted to go into this field. I feel those who are of the artistic mind, realize soon enough that they want to stand out from the crowd. Even when I was a kid, I wanted to play different characters. I would stand in front of the mirror and act as an anchor, a teacher etc. I felt I had a different mind; art and creativity attracted me.
When in university, I was studying psychology but I was not completely into it. It was at this time itself I started to get opportunities from the Fashion industry. At first I didn’t pursue it, but then I realized this was my true calling and despite getting criticism even from the family, I stood my ground and pursued my passion.
SD: Share with our readers insights on what beauty pageants are really about?
Areej: People in Pakistan don’t know that beauty pageants are not just about a pretty face. I used to think like that as well. However when I came into this field, I worked very hard. In this pageant, 50-60% marks are based upon your charity work. There are 500hours which you need to invest in charitable projects within your country. 20% is how you carry yourself- your communication skills, your politeness. There is also judgment based on your general knowledge and basic intelligence. So this is the complete package- it is beauty with brains and grooming.
SD: Did you face any setbacks when trying to pursue your dreams?
Areej: Yes a lot. There are plenty of stereotypes we need to fight against. Women are compressed and men are glorified. It is a major struggle really. When I took this step, I had faced harshness from the family too. But the main thing is to believe in yourself. I didn’t let those hinder my plans and my dreams.
SD: How did it feel winning the Miss Pakistan World title?
Areej: It was a great journey. I learned a lot from it. I am especially proud of the international acclaim I received from it, allowing me to promote Pakistan in the positive limelight. I represented my country amidst 90 countries. I was called by the name of my country, so it was my pride to present my country’s name with such sheer joy. It has led the way for me to visit other nations and present my nation.
SD: What was the first thing you did as soon as you won the title?
Areej: I did charity work as well as looked into social issues and concerns which needed a voice to present it. I also became an animal activist. We highlighted the notion that people gain awareness on how we can help the strays and highlight the rescue initiative. I also visited orphanages and spent time with orphans. I also visited various hospitals as well and looked into our technological advancement. I wished to highlight the cause of women empowerment, particularly looking into ways to tackle women harassment.
SD: Why do you feel such competitions are needed in Pakistan and what kind of message do they give?
Areej: These kinds of competitions allow us to present Pakistan in the international limelight. It is allowing us to look into the current issues that we need to highlight, allowing us to interact with women of the world and ensure we learn and grow from one another.
SD: Would you consider joining the drama or film industry?
Areej: I consider both. An artist can be very flexible. I would always love to take on a project which is conveying a good message to the audience. I am actually working on a film and I have already worked on a few dramas already. This is a portal I will continue to pursue.
SD: What are your future plans?
Areej: To grow our media industry. It’s great we are collaborating with the Turkish industry as only when we join forces, can we create some amazing projects which will attract audiences from both countries. I think that is the first step. I hope to create joint ventures with other nations too.
SD: Your positive message for the youth to realize their dreams and pursue them?
Areej: Never give up and trust your guts. Do not focus on the negative vibes and the people who try to pull you down. We should have major confidence in what we can attain. It is very important to emphasize self-belief. You can do so much when you believe you can.
IN A GLANCE
The Thing You are Grateful for in the Pandemic?
I Invested in myself. I also spent quality time with my family realizing nothing stops forever.
Your most prized possession?
My talent and my confidence
The best thing about winning a title?
Being the only girl to represent Pakistan on an International beauty pageant
The one thing that is a mood killer?
Interacting with hypocrites
Three things you have with you all the time?
My handbag, my cell phone and my jewelry
Your life’s motto?
I want to be the voice for the voiceless
Morning Person or Late Nights Enthusiast
Late Nights Enthusiast
Desi Wear or Western
Losing my loved ones
An Inspiring Role Model
My elder brother
I should have pursued my goals sooner
Believe in Allah and also myself
Someone you wish meet
Top 3 things on your bucket list
I want to become a role model
I want to have a world tour with my life partner
I want to help everyone, everywhere as much as I can
The best thing about your work
Passionately pursuing it
The worst thing about your work
To be in makeup all the time
Your favorite artist?
What people don’t know about you?
Whenever I’m in a problem, I don’t panic and try to figure out a solution
The craziest rumor you heard about yourself