Zara Noor Abbas 

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There is a period of hardships, failure and misery behind every success story. Zara Noor Abbas

In a country like Pakistan, people judge you for almost everything.Opening about hardships and struggles in the industry is something which is not considered worthy of anyone’s attention.

There are two sets of people that make the industry of what it is. They are either star kids or they aren’t. While the ones who belong to the acting fraternity have to face their own set of challenges.

One such name is ‘Zara Noor Abbas’ who spoke at ‘TEDx GCU’ event at Lahore and described how the power of a single decision changed her life!

Who am I, and who was I anyway to have that big dream of becoming an actress?

Zara Noor Abbas is a household name in Pakistan. Zara’s journey is an inspiring tale of survival and the embodiment of self belief and hunger to succeed.

It’s not that Abbas hasn’t made mistakes. She has in her relationships, but what’s commendable is that she has emerged stronger from her bad experiences. And that’s what has helped her survive in a competitive society.

At TEDx GCU Lahore, Zara narrated her astounding transformation, inspiring life journey and capturing hearts all across.

“I belonged to a middle class family wanting to be an actress. During my childhood instead of playing ‘ghar-ghar’, or ‘doctor doctor’ we use to have dance competitions and storytelling.

With the passage of time I realized that acting made me happy. Therefore, I went to my father one day and expressed my desire to participate in a play scheduled in Iran. My father initially didn’t approve my decision to act. I went to my mother complaining about his disapproval and dissatisfaction. My mom came up with an instant idea that I should convince my father with a strong reasoning that I would be wearing a ‘Hijab’ while performing. To that, my father agreed happily and granted me the much needed permission to participate in the play.

That wasn’t it, besides my father, my three brothers were also against the idea of me flying to Iran along with my colleagues (which included boys) and teachers alone. After much ado, I finally flew to Iran. The play went very well. I came back and got a chance to act in another play. This time around I choose not to disclose it to my father. Although my mother and aunts came and saw my performance and surprisingly appreciated it too.

I was jubilant, and decided to have a word with my father that acting is the only thing which makes me happy. My mother too was sitting besides him and sarcastically replied “Jaan Choro Hamari, Shaadi Karlo Aur Jo Karna Hai Karo”.

The marriage proposal came to me as an easy solution, followed by some easy steps. Firstly it would be fun; I would get new clothes and eventually I would pursue acting as my career. We flew off to America in search of my dream man. At the airport, my father asked me to handover my passport to him for safety reasons to which I said a big ‘NO’ as I was a confident and cool girl who can take care of her belongings with utmost care and responsibility. Unfortunately, when we reached America, I found out that I actually didn’t had my passport with me and resultantly was I was deported.

I applied for the visa again and flew back to America alone. According to the plan, we met some families and ended up meeting my Mr. Right who agreed on all my condition to let me act, letting me do my master’s from New York Film Academy. I just grabbed the proposal and got married. I went to America and realized, it was just escapism from my house and family for all the wrong decisions which finally led to my divorce.

Our society has a mindset that actresses always opt for a divorce, as I belonged from an acting background. I came back as a burden to my family. Thankfully, my family due to their liberal and modern thinking accepted me with open heart.

Things further got worse as my mother was diagnosed with stage II cancer. The doctors were not hopeful that she would recover. She underwent her ‘Radiation Chemotherapy Sessions’. A month later she recorded the first song for her debut film and showed the videos to the oncologist, proving everyone wrong due to her strong will power.

She decided to be happy and gave back to the society, who thought that life was over for her. At that particular point I was going through a low phase in my life, until I was advised by someone to lock myself into a room for three days. I used to cry all the time. After three days I was done and dusted with my past and had the gut feeling that I would soon be getting the answers to all my questions.

It finally happened when I went to a movie premier and met a man whom I had seen on TV six years back. Things went in our favour and we got married. Asad Siddiqui, my husband never ever raised a question that he wouldn’t let me work. He wanted me to realize my potential and do whatever I wanted to further in my career.

I would like to advise the girl of present generation to realize that what actually they want from life.

What’s not right is not to accept yourself. Women today need to understand themselves, don’t be rebellious, be strong and face the society. Never ever give up, you should know, who you are and what you want to be”