Getting Rizwan ul Haq - an undoubted ‘great’ when it comes to fashion photography – onboard to do a fashion shoot is no simple task. One, the man works round the clock and it’s next to impossible to get him to commit a time and a date for some important, pending work. In this case, that work was getting him to shoot the fabulous Sana Javed, who ruled airwaves in 2018 with her hit TV serial Khaani and continued to pick up fans in 2019 as Heer in Romeo Weds Heer. I had Sana onboard - I wanted to cast her as muse in a high fashion shoot - nothing like most of the commercial work she had done before, hence the need for Rizwan ul Haq.
It wasn’t easy to convince him; I have to confess. Rizwan is someone who breathes fashion and enjoys conceptual, editorial shoots for the love of the craft, not for the popularity that comes with a celebrity. Begrudgingly, he agreed. His resistance was that actors in Pakistan found it almost impossible to drop their guard; that they had an image to protect and they refused to step out of that comfort zone. Thankfully, Sana turned out to be better in front of the camera than a professional fashion model. She dropped the TV actor air as soon as she stepped into Sania Maskatiya’s New York collection; she was no longer onscreen diva but muse to fashion and she had no fear in letting her hair down.
"I’m an actor," she laughed, when Rizwan commented on her ease in front of the camera. "It’s our job to take direction and it’s good to experiment with your looks. It shows versatility!"
Versatile Sana was an hour into the shoot and it was impossible to connect her to the characters she had played onscreen. But then Sana is nothing like those characters in real life anyway. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, she shared how tom-boyish she was growing up and despite the strict school regulations and dress codes, she never followed rules. She was sporty and spent her days running, racing, cycling and even jumping over walls, much to the dismay of her teachers. And she grew up with that love for action, turning her into a gym freak. It shows in her skin tone. To be thin is one thing but to have a healthy body reflects in your skin and hair and Sana believes in being healthy.
"Athleisure," was the one word she described as her personal style. "I’m usually very casual but when dressing up I love pant suits and power dressing."
She also admitted that she enjoyed fashion. "I dress up for myself but I feel happy when I’m looking good," she said, quite honestly. "Why should I deny that? I enjoy fashion; I like to dress up. We’re public figures and people who love us follow what we wear; fans want to dress the same way. Plus, you’re judged by the way you dress and I think it’s good to experiment with your looks. It shows versatility."
Is there anything that she would never, ever wear, I asked.
"I really dislike gharara pants," she laughed again. "But never say never; I’ve had to wear them too!"
Our day began at 8am, with a makeup call, and ended post 6pm even beyond the time we started losing natural light. It was a day when everyone was so engrossed in work that there were no food and drink breaks; it’s no wonder that everyone landed at Xander’s later that night to treat themselves. But given the results, it was well worth the hard work.
You can see the results here, on our style pages 34-37, and now you know what went into the making of this fabulous shoot.