What You Consume, Shows on Your Face


Entitled ‘Miss Photogenic VEET’ 2011, Saima Azhar has it all. The face, the hair and the style, the colored eyed beauty talks about her life in this fashion world. Speaking about her success she believes it was a luck by chance when her pictures were forwarded by a friend to Frieha Altaf.

She is believed to be a look alike of Angeline Jolie. Let’s hear what this model has to say about the industry and the glamour. Her bold statements will definitely impress you.

How did you enter the showbiz industry of Pakistan? Did you personally have a passion for being in media? There is an unusual story, right?

[Laughs] I know. I’ve been asked this question for 3 years now. Now I stay prepared for it (laughs). A friend forwarded some of my pictures to Frieha Altaf after which I was considered and entered the VEET contest. I had to reduce a lot to stay competitive and by the grace of Allah my hard work didn’t go to waste. I was entitled “Miss Photogenic VEET” in 2011.

You were once close to 62 kg’s and were asked to reduce considerably if wanted to be a model. What did you do? How did you reduce this much?

It was pretty tough but I had to do it. For 6 consecutive months I worked out, did aerobics and cardio regularly. It was important for me. I made a diet plan and strictly followed it. I made jogging my habit. My diet plan was focused on having juices, liquids, and more hygienic food as compared to junk.

How important is health to you? Are you conscious about your health?

Health is LIFE [laughs]. Health is everything to me. I consume hygienic food products and make it a point to consume toxic free food items. Try keeping your body away from toxic food, and your skin will automatically glow. I love papaya, it’s my favorite fruit. It basically detoxifies you. Try eating papaya before sleeping and I can guarantee you, you will feel fresh the next morning only. I believe whatever you consume and take in your body, it will show on your face. If you do drugs, you’ll have dark circles and swollen eyes. If you eat too much cheese, you will gain weight in no time. If you consume salt, your skin will blotter. Salt basically attracts water and makes your skin dry. So yes I am pretty health conscious. I love taking care of myself. Everyone should.

To be a super model, what kind of an attitude is required?

To be a super model one’s attitude should be such that you should not have an attitude at all. Be down to earth with everyone. I personally like staying down to earth but yes I am also a bit reserved when meeting strangers. This is because when models are seen getting frank and friendly, they are considered approachable and are taken in the wrong sense. People start having misconceptions. They feel they can use us. It is a bit disappointing too that our people have such mind sets. The perceptions need to be changed.

The color of your eyes is a mystery. Do you have naturally colored eyes? If so what color is it?

Yes, the color of my eyes, let me disclose the mystery. My eyes are naturally colored, they are dark brown with a tint of hazel gold.

What is the secret behind your versatility? From ramp walks to mag shoots and more, you’ve done all this with great confidence.

This is something which I would say is God gifted. It is something a person is born with. My personality was always versatile. I am good at multitasking. I can do 4 things at a time and manage all 4 well. I would accredit my family for this quality. It is because of them that today I am so confident in everything I do.

Luckily, you became successful pretty fast compared to many other models. Have you faced any ups and downs in your career till now?

Of course I did. Every profession has its own ups and downs, pros and cons, but a brave person is always expected to face all sorts of situations and walk out of them with a smile. I believe falling down is the first step towards success. If you do not fall, you will never realize the worth of being successful. They key behind my success, regardless of all ups and downs, is that I stay focused and consistent. I made my profession my passion and so I am successful. People in today’s world back stab you. They are keen to pull you down. You have to be very cautious and smart in your moves. I’d just say be humble, loving, down to earth and forgiving in nature. Success will follow you itself (smiles).

You have done quite a few bold photoshoots and are also known as Miss Photogenic. Do you have a favorite photographer, one whom you feel the most comfortable with?

It’s never about the photography. Every one today is educated and professional. All photographers know their work well. It’s basically about the comfort level. We need to adjust according to our comfort level after which it’s all fun and ok. I do not have any personal favorite photographer. I would not like to name just one as that would do injustice to the others. Ayaz Anis is more towards fashion and glamor photography. Khawar Riaz puts in colors and makes his pictures interesting and attractive. Rizwan Ul Haq is the master of Black and White photography. If you ask me, he takes gorgeous pictures and Is amazing with whatever he does. Rizwan is also my teacher, the man behind my success.

Does performing bold shoots help models accelerate in the industry? Do you think this is the only way to jumpstart their career?

See the word “BOLD” has a very specific meaning. This word is good if used in the west or India. Pakistan is not even close to doing bold photo shoots. The mindset of people here is pretty narrow and extreme. It’s not possible to do such work here. PEMRA creates issues with even wearing back less or sleeveless clothes. Magazines here do not publish such content as they get scared of the consequences. But I feel this is hypocrisy. Walk around Defence in Karachi, and girls casually wear knee high clothes. Is that ok? I feel our culture is slowly moving towards what is called being “BOLD” but for now we are just doing fashion. Our industry is fashionable not bold.

Apart from modeling, what else do you do? Any particular hobbies or other passions?

I hardly get time to enjoy any hobbies. My passion is my work and I feel I’m doing it well. But yes, if you ask me anything other than modeling I would love to SLEEP (Laughs). I recently did this drama and was totally exhausted. We don’t even get Sundays free. Recently after a drama’s shoot I took a week’s rest, ate everything and did all what I would love doing (laughs). I ended up gaining 1kg but I can tone it back. Had the week of my life (Smiles).

You are pretty young and still have a long journey waiting for you ahead. What are your future plans? Marriage or career?

I’m after money (laughs). I am pretty much work and career oriented. I believe if you follow money, work will come after you (laughs). People believe vice versa. There is a difference between “making” money and “earning” money, I want to EARN money as I believe for a good stable future a good bank balance is needed. Marriage? Marriage is destined. It’s written and I’ll just wait for the time to come itself. I’m not in any relationship as I’m just not ready for such immature relationships. I have loads of friends and I party with them. I have seen life closely. I know the harsh realities of life and so I stay pretty cautious.

You have the honor of being nominated for so many awards. Which award means the most to you? Do you have any dream awards?

Oscars, my dream award would be an Oscar (Laughs). But I’ll contradict my statement. I believe awards cannot justify your talent. We work very hard, day and night and a single award cannot equalize the hard work we do. Awards are just a token of appreciation.

Your personal favorite fashion designer?

My favorite fashion designer would be Bunto Kazmi. She is the best bridal fashion designer if you ask me.

Your favorite singer and song? (Pakistani)

I hardly get time to listen to any music but I like listening to Atif Aslam’s songs.  I just like this guy. I don’t know why, but he has got something in him. I also like Mustafa Zahid for his mesmerizing voice and songs and how can I forget Rahat Fateh Ali. He is an amazing display of talent and soulful voice.

Your favorite movie from Bollywood, Lollywood & Hollywood?

Gia from Hollywood, as I love Angeline Jolie’s work.

AAN and Mughle Azam from Bollywood, I love both these classics.

Na Maloom Afraad from Lollywood.

Were you ever told you resemble Angeline Jolie?

(Laughs out loud) This is one thing I have been hearing all my life. Hundreds of people have already said this to me and every place I go I get to hear this from almost everyone. I remember I was at a shoot with Rizwan Ul Haq in Thailand and a random couple got shocked as they saw me. They came closer and told me that I resembled Angelina Jolie. Rizwan was in a bad mood at that time, even he started laughing at what had happened. But I take it as a compliment, Angeline Jolie is a beautiful lady to be compared with.

Many models have started going into the film and TV side of media. Do you have any plans of pursuing acting in the near future?

I have already started working as an actress. I just did a drama, “Mere Khawaab Lauta Do” by Ijaz Aslam.

What actually was your dream, to be a model or something else?

I always wanted to be a STAR. Something big, someone who the world would know of. I feel I’m in the process, and someday, Inshallah, I’ll be a star and live my dream.

Do you remember your first catwalk? Were you nervous on your first ever photoshoot? How was the feeling?

(Laughs) My first catwalk is still my worst nightmare. I had no idea about how to pose, how to take the dupatta, how to even stand straight and flirt with the camera. I knew nothing. Thanks to Rizwan Ul Haq for being there always, though. He taught me a lot.

What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous on their initial photoshoots or on the ramp?

I would simple give NO advice to them. I believe they are all well-groomed and sensible enough to know what they are doing. I’ll just say “lagay raho” (smiles). No one in today’s world will hold your hand and teach you. You will fall and then learn to get up yourself. So no advice.

Do you think Pakistan is now producing world class actors, models and talent? Are we giving the exposure our young talent deserves?

(Laughs) Just because Fawad Khan rocked Bollywood with his amazing looks and acting skills does not mean that NOW we are producing world class talent. Pakistan has been producing world class actors, singers and talent for a long time. It’s all about exploring them and providing them the platform they deserve. Bushra Ansari, Anwar Maqsood, Maria Wasti, Adnan Siddiqui, Nauman Ijaz – these are the pioneers of the industry. You can call them world class. Also Moin Akhtar Sahab, I can’t forget him.

If you think Ayesha Omar is an actress, then that’s wrong. She knows nothing about acting. She is just a hype that is created in the industry. Nothing more than that. Sanam Saeed, Amina Sheikh, these are what you can call actors.

Is modeling difficult? The poses and the confidence with which models flirt with the camera lens – can it be learnt or is it a natural God gifted piece of art?

Modeling is undoubtedly God gifted. Modeling does not end at posing. It is not as if you learn posing and you are a model. No. Modeling comes from within a person’s character. The style, the posture, the attitude is all natural. It cannot be artificial. I’m a natural poser. Even if I am casually standing at a shop it would seem as if I’m posing. Having good eye balance, body balance, and creating asymmetrical poses are not easy.

We have heard models face a lot of issues like during casting couch. Was your journey to the fashion world a tough one? Did you face any problems reaching the point where you are today?

The world of fashion is not easy. But it completely depends on a person and how he or she carries themselves. Issues like casting couch, drugs and more are always there, but you have to put a control on yourself to stay away from all these unnecessary things. But whatever anyone is doing to their life, I’ll just say it’s good for them, everyone is sensible. It’s like a “apnay pair pe kulhari marnay” kind of saying. I never as such had any issues in the industry till now.

Currently is it easy for young models to enter the industry and make their way to the top easily?

Nothing is easy in today’s world. Whatever you want to do in life, make it your passion and then be ready for the struggle. Work hard, you will face ups and downs but one should know how to handle pressure if they want to be successful.

Your single yet most valued best friend?

My family is my most valued best friend.

A word for Syed Rizwanullah?

Very Talented.

Are you a great dancer too just like you are a great model? We have observed your performances till now in different award ceremonies etc.

I am a Maduri Dixit fan. I believe dancing with expressions is very important. I consider myself to be a good dancer. I dance with expressions. My dancing skills are my hidden talent which I will reveal as soon as I do my debut film (laughs).

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Hard working, down to earth and passionate.

What makes you angry?

I usually don’t get angry. I have good control on my temper. But yes, I get angry every time I get hungry (laughs). Being hungry just makes my temper shoot in seconds.

Do you have a dream holiday location?

My dream is to visit Hawaii. I want to go there really badly. After Hawaii, I would love to visit Bora Bora Islands. I am a very adventurous person. I love traveling.

Can you share one memory from the industry that you can never forget? It may it be good or bad. Also share a rumor you have heard about yourself.

(Laughs) I have never had such experiences. But talking about rumors, every rumor I have heard about myself, I am mostly involved in it (laughs out loud).

Who is your favorite makeup artist?

N-Pro, Rana Khan and Sabs are my favorite makeup artists. I do not go to anyone else.

Have you ever fallen in love?

I love everyone (laughs). I love my dog, my poodle.

What is the first thing you notice about others before judging them?

The face. I can read people’s face in no time. This is one quality I have for a long time now. I can read a person’s character his their face, his eyes, and his expressions. Same goes for girls or women.

What’s your take on item songs in Pakistani movies?

I believe if our people, our masses like “item numbers,” then they should be a part of our cinema too. It’s not about copying Bollywood, it’s about entertainment and what people like. If it spreads happiness, let it be on air. If it diverts public’s attention from their everyday life tensions, then its good. Actresses work for hours and hours for the 4 minute item song, to please the masses. They should be appreciated. At least I respect it.

What’s the most special compliment ever received?

I look like Angeline Jolie, it means a lot to me.

Are you a sports lover? What’s your favorite sport?

I am a sport lover. I love Cricket and if I could ask Shahid Afridi a question:
“Why don’t you score runs and only score in TV commercials?” (Smiles)

How do you manage to give family time with such a tough schedule?

This is a tough question to answer. Every time anyone asks this, I start thinking of my poor Ammi (mom). I feel sad, our schedule is so tough and busy at times that it gets difficult to even call her once a week. She lives in Chicago. I keep asking her for forgiveness. She gets angry with me but then again she prays for me and is happy with my success.

You love pets. How many have you had?

Macao parrots, but I sold them recently. I love Siamese cats. I also love dogs, poodles specifically.

Is there a way for your fans to connect with you?

My Facebook page.

Do you have a message for your fans? Please tell us about any upcoming projects you are working on.

Thanks a lot for loving me and being my support. I am working on several projects currently but don’t want to disclose them before time. Wait and watch (smiles).

Let’s go through a rapid fire round. Just one word answers

Ranbir Kapoor or Fawad Khan? Ranbir kapoor

Chinese food or Pakistani? Pakistani

Outer beauty or inner beauty? Inner beauty

Health or Wealth? Both (Laughs)

Love means? Commitment

Katrina Kaif or Deepika Padukone? Deepika

Possesive? No