Laiqa Hasan is not a fairy godmother who can turn an ugly duckling into swan with her magic want but she can turn an average looking girl into a goddess with a touch of her pancake and brush. A magician of the modern world. Fascinated with the way hair is cut and layered Laiqa had been keen to learn the technique since her childhood. And the passion nurtured with the passage of time. Today Laiqa Hasan is a name to reckon with in the field of hair & makeup. She’s the one who gave Sadia Imam a new image, Humaira Arshad a new look, made Jaffrey lose weight and she is also the first female make-up artist from Pakistan to have done the make-up of many Indian stars… From Bombay Vikings to Meera Johnson to Sushmita Sen’s… If this is not success then what is?
You have a very tomboyish personality. How did you wind up running a beauty salon?
I had always been fascinated with the way hair is cut and layered and had been keen to learn the technique since childhood. So when I decided to work, this was the most obvious choice for me, even though when I went to Vidal Sassoon for my training, it took me three months just to learn how to hold a comb and scissors in one hand.
You come from an affluent and business-oriented background. Wouldn’t it have been simpler to join your father’s company?
I remember, once as a kid, I had been badgering my father for a cricket bat, and he finally losing patience with me, he had snapped that money doesn’t grow on trees. I had decided then and there that I would prove to the world that I was capable of earning my own living, no matter how difficult it may be and would have my own venture.
How long have you been in the beauty business?
Since the last eleven years – in fact, from the time I completed my BA from St Joseph’s College. I joined Depilex, Karachi initially and after learning the basics there, went abroad to do courses in hair cutting and make-up.
From where did you do your courses?
Over the years I have done various courses, including some from Vidal Sassoon, Tony and Guy, Revlon and London Aesthetics Skin School.
Did you start your own parlor immediately after your return?
No. I first joined Nabila as an apprentice and worked with her for two-and-a-half years. I learnt a lot from her and regard her as my mentor. In fact, she taught me the art of doing men’s make-up. Then, with the capital my father provided me. I opened my own salon.
How would you describe the bulk of your clientele?
My clients are an interesting mix. I am involved with a lot of live shows, television productions, both for PTV and private channels – which includes dramas as well as commercials – so am working with showbiz people all the time, and of course, I have my regular clients as well, some of whom have been coming to me since the time I was with Nabila.
Can you take credit for changing the image of any of our major television stars of models?
Recently, I’ve done a lot of videos with Sohail Jawed in which I’ve introduced changes like giving Humaira Arshad short hair and changing its color. I’ve also done the make-up for Ali Haider’s video ‘Tera Naam Liya’ with Sonya Khan; was Aly Noor’s image consultant; made Jaffrey lost weight as felt he was too fat; changed Waris Baig’s look and most of all, have been responsible for giving a new image to Sadia Imam.
What would you rate as your greatest achievement career-wise?
The fact that I am the first female make-up artist from Pakistan to have done the make-up of many Indian stars. I have done a shoot with the Bombay Vikings – Meera Johnson – Sushmita Sen’s make-up, and in fact, have just returned from Dubai where Tayyaba my girl was the make-up artiste for a play starring actors from India and Pakistan. Another landmark in my career was the Wella show in Karachi and Lahore. While their own people did the color and choreography of the event, I did the make-up of the models, which included three changes.
Can you shed some light on the play with the Indian cast?
It is called ‘Ana’ (ego) and is a Humayun Saeed and Abdullah Kadwani production. The local cast includes Samina Peerzada, Aijaz Aslam, Shehzad Nawaz and Humauyn Saeed, while the Indian cast includes Kashish (known as Amna Sharif). Konica, Nosheen Ali Sardar (Kusum) and Parikishd.
How did you find the Indian artistes as compared to Pakistani ones?
Indian stars are very cooperative and understanding. But, most of all they are immensely polite – their sentences are punctuated with ‘ji’ and ‘aap’ – and extremely punctual. Whether make-up artistes, directors, producers or actors, they are very professional in their work.
Are you in favor of this new phenomenon of cultural exchange between India and Pakistan?
I feel both the countries have so much talent that it should certainly be exchanges. It is also important that India should know that we are no less talented than them.
You also have an interesting film-related background. Can you share with our readers your relationship with some renowned personalities, particularly from Bollywood?
My ‘filmi’ background is from my maternal side. My second cousin is married to Sunjay Dutt and my mother’s brother-in-law was Johnny Walker. My grandmother (my mother’s aunt) was a partner in Mehboob Studios, where shootings take place to date, and my mother’s khala was the first lady from India to do a talkie-film called the ‘Historical Alamara’ and won the Golden Award from Indira Gandhi. My mother was the first Lux Beauty Soap Queen and acted in the first Pakistani color film as well as in movies like ‘Gul Bakawli’ and ‘Ishq Par Zor Nahin’.
How did you find Sushmita Sen as a person, when you did her make-up on her recent trip here, and what did she think of the make-up caliber here?
We bonded immediately, so much so that when my mother called up while I was doing her make-up, Sushmita spoke to her for about fifteen minutes and was thrilled to hear of my family background. She loved my make-up and asked if I would come to India if she ever needed my services. In fact, she even thanked me publicly at the show and was gracious enough to say that Pakistan has a great make-up artiste. For me that was a very big thing.
You’ve recently gone into event management. What made you move toward such an enterprise, and which events have you organized so far?
Pure chance. National Foods, my father’s company, was doing an event for Women’s Week and asked me to do the make-up and provide them a compeer. I asked a friend, who is now one of my two partners. If she would compeer the show and it got us thinking about event management. Then we did a fashion show introducing new models at Evolution restaurant, and organized the Annual incentive ball. We’ve also done the ambiance at engagement ceremonies and organized corporate dinners. And we were involved in the production of the controversial play – V. Monologue.
Partnership is normally a dicey business, and you have not one, but two partners. Have you faced any problems since you started working together?
Never. The three of us get along like a house on fire and are very honest and upfront with one another. And we trust one another’s judgments so much that if one makes a commitment on behalf of the others, there are no question of our not going through with it.
Why have you not been participating in the Lux Style Awards?
I am very happy the way I am and have no desire to compete with anyone. I respect my seniors a lot and feel I have a long way to go. I am happy that they are doing so much for Pakistan’s image and would rather work in harmony with everyone, than compete with them.
Other than Nabila, whom do you rate highly in your profession?
I respect all my seniors but feel that Tariq Amin, Ather Shehzad and Saima are all good in their work and have their own signature styles.
What would you say is your signature style?
When cutting hair for men, I love to keep is short and my signature is the sideburns. In make-up my signature style is the eyeliner. In women’s haircut, my typical style is layering. I am known for my different angles in haircutting.
Does marriage figure in your plans for the future at all?
I was married once – for four months while I was working with Nabila, but things didn’t work out and I divorced him. I haven’t found the right man since then, but am hoping for the best. All I want is an honest person who can accept me the way I am.