This Women’s Day, You! celebrates the success of some young, dynamic women in the fields of sports, arts and entertainment...
Pakistan is full of talented individuals who have the potential to conquer the impossible and women are no exception. They have the courage as well as the will to push the envelope and achieve what is often inaccessible to them. In present times, women are not only working hand in hand with their male counterparts and accomplishing their goals but are also leading businesses that were once considered unsuited to them. This Women’s Day, You! picks up eight young women who have won many hearts with their determination and have managed to make a mark in a rather short career span in various fields.
If there is one actress, who has proven her mettle time and again, with every project that she takes up, it is the talented Sajal Aly. Setting a benchmark with the character of Chammi in her most recent play, ‘Aangan’ that is presently on-air, she has come a long way ever since she has stepped into the entertainment industry. And that too, in a rather short span of time.
From ‘Mehmoodabad Ki Malkain’ to ‘Mere Qatil Mere Dildar’ in 2011 to more recent plays such as ‘Yakeen Ka Safar’, ‘Noorulain’ and ‘O’ Rangreza’, the actress has incredible range and versatility. Her first film in Pakistan, ‘Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay’ wasn’t really a success but having made her Bollywood debut with ‘Mom’ in 2017 alongside Sridevi, Sajal seems to be on the right path. She is winning hearts all over with her strong small screen performances before she appears on the big screen once again.
Captain of Pakistan women’s national football team, footballer Hajra Khan became a part of the national team in 2009 and plays as a striker or midfielder. She grew up wanting to become an athlete, not necessarily a footballer, and was discovered by Diya W.F.C. coach Sadia Sheikh. She debuted at the age of 14 and scored nine goals in three games for DWFC, winning Top Scorer of the Tournament award.
Hajra was recently featured on an all-female panel including Mahira Khan, Faiza Saleem and Nighat Dad as part of a special edition of The Conversation for BBC in which these empowered ladies spoke about being a woman in Pakistan. She said, “Being a Pakistani woman means that I might be a top level athlete at my sport but I would also lose bits of my family in the process. Because, I know there are a lot of female athletes who are not allowed but they still strive for the best. There’s just a lot left behind in the process.”
Model-turned-actor Saheefa Jabbar Khattak, who is presently playing the protagonist in social drama ‘Beti’, entered the world of modelling in 2015. Since then, she hasn’t looked back. She has done her Honours in Business/Economics from Beaconhouse National University (BNU) and has made a name for herself in the modelling business. She has worked with almost all of the leading designers in Pakistan, including Fahad Hussyn, Ali Xeeshan and Misha Lakhani. What makes Saheefa different from her contemporaries is her unconventional beauty and craft; she is quirky, she is smart, she is unusual. She has always been vocal about what she feels, particularly when it comes to dealing with cyber-bullying. She is not just a great model but is also doing quite well in the world of acting.
Animal rights activist and founder of Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation Animal Rescue (ACF), Ayesha Chundrigar chose a path that many shy away from. In a country like Pakistan, she rescues and rehabilitates around 200 various types of animals including cats, dogs and donkeys. She asserts, “It’s very difficult to keep trudging forward when you take one step forward and someone makes you take two steps back.”
A therapist by profession, this 28-year-old woman practices her work alongside social service and also provides free sessions to acid burn survivors, orphans and women in abusive relationships. Ayesha was recently honoured at the Beyond Beautiful Awards Gala Night for her meaningful contribution to society and we feel it was very well deserved.
The first female kickboxing trainer in Pakistan started taking Taekwondo classes when she was in school. Then at university (in 2013), she decided to take up kickboxing as a profession. Rameesha received intensive training for two years under the supervision of Master Jamil Chandio, a multiple time national champion and also the CEO of K7 Academy in Karachi. She then joined the academy as a coach and since 2016; she has been training girls in kickboxing there only.
Rameesha has been featured on many shows, has conducted workshops on self-defence for women and trained renowned personalities like Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari and Naveen Waqar to name a few. She has been an inspiration to many girls and has broken stereotypes associated with women wanting to take up strenuous sports activities.
Pakistani designer-illustrator Samya Arif, whose taxi art is featured in multiple snippets across one of Coldplay’s music videos ‘Hymn For The Weekend’ from their seventh album, is a rare artist who has made a mark internationally. She is also the woman behind the amazing posters of Asim Abbasi’s debut feature film ‘Cake’ that has been making waves ever since it released in March last year.
Samya has also designed a book bus for the US Embassy Nepal that drives around Kathmandu, Nepal, and lends all kinds of books to encourage and foster the love of reading. Besides, she made black and white illustrations for Pakistani poet, Afshan Shafi’s collection of poems, called ‘Quiet Women’. Her work mainly comprises album covers, books, posters and illustrations that are not only meaningful but also serve as powerful commentary on a lot of issues relevant today.
Young yet super talented singer Aima Baig has carved a niche for herself in Pakistan and beyond. She recently performed alongside Shuja Haider at the opening ceremony of Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Dubai. She has become a regular at Coke Studio with some very popular songs such as ‘Baazi’ and ‘Kaatay Na Katay’ to her name. She has also lent her vocals to various OSTs for television as well as films post cinema revival. Some of her notable film songs include ‘Kalabaz Dil’ from Wajahat Rauf’s ‘Lahore Se Aagey’, ‘Kaif O Suroor’ from Nabeel Qureshi’s ‘Na Maloom Afraad 2’ and ‘Item Number’ and ‘Sajna Door’ from Ahsan Rahim’s ‘Teefa In Trouble’.
Winning hearts as Noori in the ongoing drama serial ‘Ranjha Ranjha Kardi’ opposite Imran Ashraf, the young and dynamic Iqra Aziz is undoubtedly one of the most phenomenal actors we have today. In a very short career span, Iqra has become one of the most sought after faces in the industry; whether it is TV plays, music videos, TV commercials or fashion shoots. Some of her remarkable performances on the small screen include plays like ‘Suno Chanda’, ‘Tabeer’, ‘Khamoshi’, ‘Qurban’ and ‘Choti Si Zindagi’, among others. She will soon begin shooting for the second season of one of the most talked about plays ‘Suno Chanda’ that will go on-air during the month of Ramazan.