What does success mean to you?
Success, for me, is being content while living a life where new experiences keep my excitement and positive energy levels high.
And trying to make the world a better place with whatever I do.
Something you learned early in your career which helped you become a better actor?
Acting engages your imagination and enables you to observe human behaviour from a different lens. Sometimes, mannerisms of people you interact with serve as a source of inspiration for some aspects in the characterization.
I realised that one must understand their character to bring a person with such traits to life in human form. Do your homework, throw in nuances specific to that new character, and view the experience as a chance to explore and push your own limitations as a performer. Most importantly, love the work!
What is the most challenging thing about this career?
Personally, one of the most challenging things about being an actor is to get over your characters when the camera stops rolling, and then maintaining a sense of sanity in real life. I say that because the sort of characters I have done so far have been very diverse. Imagine the range of being an obedient son to the son of an Islamic cleric, to a comic character!
And just to add to the contrast of the world of entertainment, my primary professional role has been as an educationalist, then as an ambassador for King’s College. So I believe this makes it a bit challenging, yet exciting.
Did you get any formal education for this career? If not, then how did you learn the craft of acting?
I did a lot of theatre from a very early age in school, where I was literally a part of every drama competition and also won an acting award back in 2012, presented to me by one of our legendary actors, Shaan Shahid.
Later, I took evening acting classes from RADA in London (only because of my passion to learn). Even though I always enjoyed performing, I was never expecting myself to become an actor in dramas or films.
Who are some of your role model actors/actresses, and what do you like about their work?
I think many people in our industry are extremely talented, so I don’t really limit the inspiration that can be taken from each of their unique talents. One such name is that of Imran Ashraf, whose acting skills coupled with his unreal level of commitment, is something I have personally witnessed when we worked together on a couple of projects.
From all your roles so far, which role was the most meaningful to you, and why?
Essa from Raqs-e-Bismil because of the changing nature of the role throughout the episodes from a quiet kid to an angry young man.
Do you believe good looks and connections are the only things that make a star?
Not at all! Stars are public figures. If you’re a people’s person, with amazing communication skills, you are halfway there. The other half is the passion for your craft, more than just the skill. Skills can be mastered over time, but you can’t grow without passion and sheer hard work because being a star is not what it seems like on the surface. It’s not just about glitz and glamour.
You need to be living a life of contentment, excitement and compassion.
I don’t really connect with what ‘stardom’ and ‘celebrity’ life is. For me, all these people who show so much love are my friends and hence I call them my online family. I am not a star; I am a friend of the world.
How has social media changed things for you?
You can ask anyone, whether they are my family or people who’ve known me since I was a child, or friends I’ve only met recently, and they will all tell you the same thing: “Momin is like this 24/7”. This is exactly how I am. There is no distinction in my real-life persona and my online persona. I am always exuberant, no matter when or where I am. So, nothing has really changed who I am.
However, just like for everyone else, it has been instrumental in connecting me to many people globally, some of whom I have amazing personal and professional relationships with today.
Social media has always been a small part of my life. It was never my life! I started using social media to make my life as a student in King’s College more exciting. It was a daily vlog for friends, and it just grew from there when I was engaged in public speaking, when I covered the cricket world cup, and then acting. A diverse audience got to know me at different stages because of the multiple range of things I was engaged in.
How do you deal with self-doubt?
Self-doubt is widely considered the greatest enemy of human potential. However, why focus on the negative aspect? I think asking questions can enhance your work, as it opens you to different opinions and perspectives that lead to overall performance enhancement while solving problems.
Having an attitude of gratitude and looking at how much you’re blessed with can kill your self-doubt right there.
Three pieces of advice for aspiring actors
* Enjoy the journey
* Love yourself, but be compassionate towards the world. There’s a difference between healthy self love and narcissism.
* Hard work! Just be genuinely hard-working, because sometimes you can put all your effort in one place, but you’ll get the result somewhere else.
Talented and exuberant – Momin Saqib
Date of birth and star
Nov 3; Scorpio
The best thing about being a teenager was
I answer this with a proverb: Ignorance is bliss
The worst thing about being a teenager was
Transformative ideas were not taken seriously
I was always listening to
My favourite actors
My list is too long!
My favourite singer
Again, I like different genres and languages. But Atif Aslam was one of my favourites.
My favourite super hero
Spiderman and Superman
My favourite movie
Lion King and Welcome
My favourite book
My closet was full of
My friends were
What hurt me the most was
When my dog passed away
I wish I had known then
Time flies by so quickly
Relations with family were
Full of love
My favourite subject was
My least favourite subject was
I couldn’t stand
My favourite food
My favourite sport was
Five things you couldn’t live without
A good environment of freedom, humour, my gadgets and of course mayo and ketchup