Beauty with Brains… Nadia Hussain unfiltered conversation with Celebdhaba
She is a super model who is arguably one of Pakistan’s finest. By the sheer force of her talent and her astonishing range she has triumphed. Yes! But believe me, there’s a lot more behind the stylish exterior. There are depths and shades to her personality that hasn’t been captured on camera yet.
Her humility and her innate courtesy are just a few facets of an extraordinary woman.
Celebdhaba in conversation with the gifted Nadia Hussain.
Celebdhaba: What did it take to become Nadia Hussain? Or it just happened
Nadia Hussain: Nadia Hussain happened by default not by design. Initially I was more inclined towards my studies. I was juggling between my dentistry and modeling. My dedication and results made my college management realize that I was really focused on my studies. I used to miss out on a lot of shoots and shows to ensure that my studies won’t get affected. I didn’t had the conventional eastern features, but always had an edge due my western features. My looks counted a lot as I had the perfect height and physique to be a model.
CD: You joined the industry at a very young age. What was your impression of showbiz?
NH: Yes, I was young when I came into the industry. Initially it was all about glitz and glamour. I didn’t follow the Pakistani showbiz scenario. I wasn’t aware of the local fashion industry, as there wasn’t much exposure to international magazines, besides there was no social media as well. I was more aware with the international fashion industry. Models featuring in popular songs of Michael Jackson and George Michael. It was all very surreal for me when I stared.
CD: Did you grow up wanting to be a model? What did you always wanted to be?
NH: I didn’t grow up wanting to be a model. I was more inclined towards science and research sciences. I was interested to become a surgeon or something related in the medical field.
CD: What works in the industry & what doesn’t? Professionalism more than talent? OR Luck more than professionalism?
NH: Professionalism comes first of all. One can eventually hone your talent with the help of stylist, photographers, makeup artist and designers. But if you posses a negative attitude, you aren’t punctual and lack professionalism people won’t be willing to work with you and may switch towards a better option as the fashion industry is a very short lived profession. Luck plays a part but it’s not cent percent. One is lucky enough to become a part of the industry. It’s a combo, out of which professionalism tops the list.
CD: As a super model, is it difficult to get past the more superficial aspects of fashion?
NH: It was relatively easy for me get over the superficial part as I got married early and had kids; therefore I didn’t have the time to dwell too much over it. Life was practical as I had to get back to family, manage household work and nurse my babies. It also depends on the company of people around you. My personal friends were not from the industry so it kind of helped me a lot to stay grounded.
CD: What are the most interesting shoots that you’ve done?
NH: The most interesting shoot was for the cover of FAQ magazine with Deepak Perwani. The shoot was unique and was never been done before. We had Tapu Javeri on board as the photographer. Deepak’s vision was to portray sheer womanhood. I was seven months pregnant with my third child. He had envisioned a bossy and manly look. There was an issue while shooting, that my tummy wasn’t prominent in those oversized clothes, therefore Perwani got me some tight fitted clothes and we completed the shoot. I faced a lot of hurdles as we shot at a vintage office building at Saddar. It was dusty, I had to lie down on the floor and there wasn’t any proper place for dress change. But all’s well that ends well, the shoot came out very well though it wasn’t exactly what Deepak had imagined.
CD: Who’s your favorite photographer you’ve done a shoot with and why?
NH: Rizwan is among those photographers who have always managed to make me look beautiful no matter what. My face has always been tough and challenging as I don’t have the typical eastern features (even though it works in my favor) I may end up looking androgynous. There are shoots which requires you to look beautiful and Rizwan has the edge to make me look beautiful.
CD: Your look has become a fashion statement in and of itself. What’s the most surprising thing about the industry you discovered once you started working in it?
NH: Thanks: I take that as a compliment. I was an introvert when I joined he industry. Over the period of time I discovered that how I can assert myself in a lot more ways in a certain jurisdiction that no one really pushes me around. Mostly the boys and girls of the industry are persuaded in a wrong way. I just really stick to my guns and don’t really do things which I don’t need to do.
CD: Do you think that people are born with natural talent or can it be nurtured?
NH: Talent can be nurtured for sure. You got to have the correct physique and height to be a model. If you fit in the mould, there are possibilities that someone may notice you and give you a breakthrough. Further, the designers, photographers and the mix of right people help you to go a long way.
CD: As an actor, is it harder to find scripts which satisfy your soul? How do stay inventive as an actor?
NH: Yes it is really very hard to find scripts that satisfy me. I don’t have the liberty to be picky and choosy for roles as I don’t have much time to invest myself in acting. I would consider doing a telefilm or a smaller role in a serial making sure that I get a fat pay cheque. As of now it’s about getting the money and be visible on screen. People do watch dramas and follow you. If a good script comes my way, I’ll definitely grab it.
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CD: When will Nadia Hussain be gracing the silver screen?
NH: That’s a big question mark. I have been approached to do roles of second wife’s and step mothers but that’s not the kind of cinema I’d like to do. As of now I haven’t got a script that excites me to say yes.
CD: There are pressures in stardom, lets agree to it! A victory is a public victory. A failure is a public failure. Do you think the pressure of stardom necessitate a degree of paranoid and ego?
NH: Yes pressures in stardom do necessitate ego at times but paranoid shouldn’t work at all. When it comes to failures, all you have to do is be indifferent to that and do whatever you are doing. You can’t be doing anything, as there has to be certain degree of morality.
CD: Does it bother you when people speculate or comment about your personal life?
NH: It doesn’t bother me when people speculate about my personal life. People have their opinions, at times people comment that I am not aware about the population control as I have four children. I don’t take such foolish comments on my head. I lose my temper when people criticize my family and children. If I share something about my family, they should realize that my family isn’t a part of the showbiz industry. People should definitely have a degree of respect and care.
I often see people commenting negatively on children. Its not about being a celebrity child it’s about just being children. When people are not sensitive, I will really show them what it is, that they should really be shown.
CD: You are a practicing dentist and run your salon and lawn line. Owning your own business calls for both creative and business acumen, which one do you use the most?
NH: I am not a practicing dentist. Yes I do have a clinic which is run by another doctor. The dental clinic is in my salon. I was doing Lawn with a manufacturing company which had a split within the business; therefore I am not doing the Lawn anymore. I use my business acumen more than the creative aspect. Creativity is required when it comes to do a shoot, but mostly it’s the business acumen. By the grace of Allah it’s been four years of the successful run of my salon. I am working more towards expanding the salon towards new heights of success.
CD: Do you feel that you have achieved more than you set out? Has your stardom surprised you? What more do you want to achieve in life?
NH: Yes, definitely I have achieved more than what I had expected and my stardom has definitely surprised me a lot. The first time I was really surprised and taken a bow, was when I was approached to do the footwear. I was the brand ambassador even though the brand name was whatever I wanted it to be. I was amazed to know that someone really wanted to invest in my name (the brand under my name and I was to do the deigning of the shoes as well). It kind of encouraged me to open my salon.
People come to my salon from all across Pakistan. Besides a majority of people come from interior Sindh, Larkana and Dadu. In Karachi, people drive all the way from Bahria Town, Aksari IV and Gulistan-e-Johar. It takes so much time to reach my salon from such places. They come to meet and greet me, shower their unconditional love upon me. What more I would like to achieve is to expand my salon. Besides I would like to do something as a lifestyle brand owner – products or retail may be.
CD: How would you rate yourself on a scale of one to ten on the following? Actor, Host, Model, Fashion Designer & Mom.
NH: Actor: 7/10 – Host: 9/10 – Model: 11/10 – Fashion Designer: 7/10 – Mom: 10/10
CD: In a journey of nearly two decades, could you possibly pick a career highlight? What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in your career?
NH: My career highlight was the time when I took the plunge and agreed to do the brand ambassadorship for the shoes with Shakil Zindani. I am really grateful to him for giving me that opportunity to make me a household name and taking my career to the next level. Before that, it was the era of retail, the craze people had for exhibitions.
That was the initial time when Shakil Zindani showed confidence in me and invested in my name. It was a big risk for me as well. I wasn’t sure of what the outcome would be? What if people don’t come and the sales don’t happen. I had put in a lot of effort to design the shoes, finalize the quality standards etc. Resultantly, it was a big success. Post the shoes I did Lawn with Zindani as well.
CD: The fashion world is like a whirlwind, with the travelling, work schedules, etc. How do you manage to stay grounded?
NH: Marriage and children have kept be grounded. I have to do my work, travel a lot than off course stardom is there too. My family actually doesn’t really allow me to dwell on that much. If I am in a mall with my children and someone comes around for a selfie, I click pictures with them and get back to my children again. It’s just like snapping for a moment. There are fan moments where people shower me with gifts and their love. At the end of the day I am just Nadia who’s a wife and a mother, so that really kind off keeps me grounded.
CD: One of the most valuable resources is time. You seem to have budgeted your time effortlessly which reflects in your passion, goals and accomplishments. How difficult it is to keep a balance between stardom and motherhood?
NH: It’s difficult to keep a balance between stardom and motherhood. I have learnt to prioritize my life, if I am needed for my kids I am there for them. Sometimes I spend the entire day with my children and attend an event in the evening. One requires a lot of energy to do that, which I have thankfully. I have to go for my exercise, picking up children from school, events, saloon etc. I kind of juggle between the entire schedule quite efficiently.
CD: How important is social media in changing and developing concepts of beauty?
NH: Social media has drastically changed the concepts of beauty in today’s time and age. A lot has become superficial, western blogs are trending everywhere which kind of gives the concept of highlighting and contouring, in short (thopofying) too much makeup. They ignore the importance of natural beauty. It gives an impression that a woman can look beautiful only when she wears makeup. That isn’t true! I posted my no make selfie (unfiltered picture) on the social media. It was immensely appreciated by people but some criticized also. The purpose of it was to make people realize it’s not about looking beautiful all the time, it about being real.
CD: Do you have any advice for those who want to start modeling?
NH: Confidence is the best weapon for new comers. One should be well aware about their strengths and weakness. Looks can be taken care of. Trends are changing internationally; people who aren’t slim are featuring on magazine covers, even doing fashion shows. Our industry is not at that level yet, but soon it will move on. Many designers are inclining towards these trends to promote real beauty.
CD: On a happier note, what are you looking forward to this year? What is something you are willing to share with your readers that they might not know about you?
NH: There are a couple of things that I am working on; it would be too early to announce at this moment. I can surely give a hint i.e. it’s related to my business. I am really looking forward what will really be the end result.
Which five words would your friends use to describe you?
Energetic, Happy go lucky, Dedicated, Focused and crazy at times.
What is your favorite healthy snack?
I like to munch a lot on nuts.
What is your all time favorite movie?
Gone with the wind.
Which make-up brands are you using?
There isn’t one. I use many i.e. MAC, Smash Box, Huda Beauty, Dermacol, Anastasia Beverly Hills etc.
Do you have a skin care routine?
I have an acne prone skin so if I don’t cleanse my makeup, I would break out within a day. I also use astringent to clear up my face. Peeling products to keep my skin hydrated etc.
How would you define your personal style?
Casual, Comfortable and Sheek. I mostly opt for a western outfit within which I can go shopping, lunch and picking kids from school etc.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
Ayesha Hashwani. I am very fond of her resort collection. The designs and cuts are very flattering. When it comes to wear a formal outfit I usually opt for a Nomi Ansari, HSY and Deepak Perwani.
What are some of your inspirations?
Success stories are my inspirations. I can get inspired by anyone who is successful and is doing good work.
When you’re at work, what are some of your favorite things to do?
At work I usually chat and gossip with friends. We have the world at our finger tips therefore using social media at times or goggling something doing research work regarding my business.
What is the one thing that annoys you the most?
Insensitive attitude of people towards children on social media annoys me the most. It comes to me as a shock when a woman is insensitive towards other woman and children.
What’s the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
Where would you go, if you become invisible?
I would like to go in a boy’s locker room and listen what actually boys talk about.
What was the first thing you bought from your first pay cheque?
Lots of makeup and shoes.
What’s the most unusual thing you have in your handbag?
It’s a Swiss card by Victoria Knocks. It’s a small gadget which looks like a credit card. It is very handy as it has nail cutter, pen, nail file, screwdriver, toothpick and a pin.
How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
If I am going for an event, it takes me forty five minutes to get ready otherwise for my daily routine, it takes seven minutes to be ready and go for exercise.
Have you ever lied to a journalist regarding any rumor?
Thankfully their aren’t much rumors about me.
What’s the best excuse you’ve made if you get late for a shoot or appointment?
Excuses related to children are always the best excuses.
What’s the one thing you can talk for hours on end?
What’s the late night food that you crave for?
I don’t have much late night cravings. If I am watching a movie late night than I like to have popcorns, salted chips with slims.
One person you always wanted to meet but never got a chance yet?
What’s your workout song?
Anything which is HIP and upbeat, for insistence the recent party anthem “Item Number” from Tifa in Trouble.
Are you obsessed with Selfie’s?
I don’t take selfie’s for the sake of just clicking a selfie. If I am at a fun and happening event so I click selfie’s and post it on snap chat and instagram. I don’t do it on a regular basis.
How often do you goggle?
Goggle is my best friend. I am goggling all the time, related to my business or international trends etc.