Coordination: Zahraa Amjad
Styling: Raheel Ahmed Rao
Hair and Make-up: Saima’s
Photography: Abid Saleem
She can seem high and mighty (maybe its because she towers above you at 5,10). She can move you with her beauty and bowl you over with her charm and intelligence. She hosts , she acts , she models , she …. Fixes your teeth? Who am I talking about you ask ? Nadia Hussain, of course: the hottest new model making waves in the world of fashion is also a dentist in the making, so make sure you brush your teeth before you read on!
You seem pretty comfortable with the camera and know how to flirt with it. Is this inborn or has this been developed with time?
I think I had it in me from the very beginning but it developed with the passage of time. I was never camera shy, I enjoy it and am at ease in front of it.
Was it difficult for you to convince your parents to let you enter this field, as our society is very conservative and doesn’t think very highly of female models?
No, not at all. Actually I have been associated with media for quite a long time because Tina sani is my khala, we have literally been born and raised in the media circle. As a kid I did crystal toothpaste as and a video shoot for my khala. Thus I had always been touch with media so I didn’t face any problem on that front.
In a short span of time, you have made your mark as one of the top models of Pakistan, is it luck or hard work that helped you succeed?
In think it has a lot to do with my luck, apart from hard work of course. Unfortunately in this country, a lot depends on what kind of contacts you have how you manipulate them. I am very lucky that I started with the right people. Mubashir khan was the one who introduced me to everybody in the fashion scene like imran kureishi, frieha altaf, Deepak etc.
Your are doing your BDS…. so you really don’t want to take up modeling as your career?
I have never thought of modeling, as a profession because I know one day it will have to end. Modeling has a very short time span. If I enjoy it, I will continue, but it will always be my hobby and my second profession.
And why dentistry?
Well, I have always been inclined towards medicine. When I finished my A; level I had to make a decision about my future career. I wanted to do cosmetic surgery, but this actually requires a five-year MBBS course. And then another two years of specialization and PhD etc… so that require a lot of time. With BDS, it’s simpler yet interesting, BDS is just four years and then I can at least start my practice.
So the first thing you notice about a person are their teeth?
A lot of times yes. I don’t actually ask a person to show me their teeth. I have always noticed a person’s smiles and eyes.
If news is to be believed you were seeing Aamir, Vinny’s brother. Is this true?
You can’t ignore our question like this…..
Well, I guess it was something just happened.
But recently you two have broken up.
Yeah we did.
Why didn’t work out?
Because of various reasons. The major one the age difference: he was younger to me, and there was also a difference in the level of maturity.
Then how come it lasted for so long?
Coz he is a great guy. But there were a lot of little things that always kept coming between us.
And has your relationship with Vinny changed, now that you have broken up with her brother?
Well, I think vinny is a very mature and a levelheaded person and she’s politically correct. I have met her just twice since the breakup. I haven’t worked for quite some time now coz there have been no fashion shows lately and a few that did happen I didn’t do coz my father was unwell. So we haven’t has a chance to meet properly. And the two times that I did meet her, we have been fine with each other.
And the latest new is that you got engaged to a guy named Atif Khan?
Yup that’s true… I have know Atif for while but it was destiny that we go to know each other better and we liked each other. He proposed and I say yes.
Dose he have great teeth?
Yes he have lovely teeth… they are clean and white. Although there is some malocclusion here and there but it can be ignored.
So what does he do?
He is a stockbroker. I invested in stocks and that’s how I got to know him better.
And when are we hearing the wedding bells?
December most probably but I am still not sure.
So no work after marriage?
Well I hope to continue but I am still not certain because coz I haven’t discussed this with him… I would like to continue but his consent is important to me.
Coming back to work: models project am image of beauty and perfection. Are you able to relate to it?
Not at all. I don’t think I’m perfect. If I was I would have perfectly blow-dried hair and would look prim and proper at all time. But I don’t. I end up going to Sunday bazaar with oil in my hair. I will go to Agha’s with oil and chapals. So being perfect is the last thing I think about.
And what about the image of beauty?
Once a model is recognized I think she projects more an image of glamour. But what the people forget is that we have our own personal lives and personal space as well. And its very frustrating at time when your privacy is being disturb.
So how does a public figure manage to keep a private life?
You try not to comment too much and ignore nosy questions but at time you are forced to comments on things you don’t want to… (Like your invading questions during the course of this interview). I try not to let people to impinge on my personal space. I try to keep a distance.
Do you get recognized wherever you go?
Yeah, I do. I just went to London for shehzad Roy’s video. People recognized us and asked me for my autographs. Over here people do recognize you but they don’t usually come to take autographs. I am sure they end up seeing so many celebrities on the street. They probably think “keh kia hum ab sub keh autograph lain”.
How you handle your male fans?
I get a few phone calls, but I am very rude and curt with them so they don’t bother calling back.
Does the glamour and fame of the field excite you?
It was just something, which came my way. It wasn’t that I had always wanted to model.
So it doesn’t really excite you?
Now it does. Like they say, there is no business like show business. It captivates you and you simply get addicted. You want to stay attached to It in one-way to other. It is very difficult to leave showbiz.
What is the public’s biggest misconception of female models?
That female model is willingly available. And they can work for you free of cost. At time it just bugs me. Sometimes people call and ask me to bring my model friends to their party. Even when it comes to work, they think that they can get there way around. They simply can’t believe that models can actually say no.
What is one thing that people don’t understand about you?
Usually people think that I am a snob. And they say that is se bhi seedhay mo baat nahi kro and they show me attitude unnecessarily. But when they get to know me… they changes view completely.
How do you perceive fashion?
Fashion is truly a change in the so-called latest trend…. But It boil down to how you present yourself, your own personal statement. It’s how you want people to perceive you.
And how is it different from style?
Well, style is what determines fashion. They are very closely linked and I believed a person can try to be fashionable by following the latest trends. But style is when you put your own personal touch. That’s your own style and that’s fashion for you. I don’t really follow trends. I do whatever I am comfortable with.
Do you think our industry is going to right direction?
There ate lots of hurdles that we have to surpass. We have to get rid of the censor policy coz that really restricts our fashion industry. It’s not a matter of being vulgar; it’s just allowing us that space to expand our creativity. I ma not saying that censorship is totally bad. It is very important in our society coz we have keep our values intact. But at the same time I think there is a lot of stagnation.
Then how do you think we will progress?
What going to promote our fashion industry is more fashion shows. We should encourage modeling, have modeling schools, more creative fashion shoots. Complete awareness about our fashion industry is needed. PTV censor such things. And PTV is what the masses watch. The lux style awards did not have a fashion show this year coz PTV is not allowed to show fashion shows.
What do you think it is so?
It has lot to do with where our society is right now. Government-organized shows have limited budgets sop you might as well not to do them. They do take us abroad sometimes, but still it’s no use.
How does it feel to represent Pakistan abroad?
It feel great and I think we understanding our potential we are a lot better than other countries like Germany, Dubai, Sri Lanka. Indian models have come to Pakistan some of them were shot and average looking. Our models are far better.
Do you think that the average Pakistani has good sense of fashion?
No. There are very selected people in our society who know what fashion is: normal people don’t have the time. Clothes make the man, but the average Pakistani does not have time or money to think about fashion and style. He is too busy earning a living.
You have hosted, acted and modeled in videos; why such diversification?
I stared hosting shows coz people wanted me to. Modeling is a very short-lived career so you have to get into different facts of showbiz. And if you get good offers, then why not?
So how was the experience of working in plays?
Acting is fun but its very hectic. There is lot of hard work going on behind the scenes. At time all you do is sit and rot in the heat. There are unnecessary delays in play production, which are very irritating. You need a lot of patience to act.
Then why do it?
There are times when I feel like leaving. But once you see yourself on TV, then you forget about all the inconvenience.
So you like watching yourself on TV?
It’s not that I like it, exactly. I watch myself coz I really want to improve and do better job next time. So it’s for critical analysis.
You are not seen much on the print media, but are a must for the ramp. Why is this so?
Coz a lot of designers are not willing to pay me what I ask for. If they don’t pay me the amount I want then I won’t do it. I can’t compromise when it comes to payment. Why should I? If I think I am worth a certain amount, then why should I charge less?
There is a general impression that you have a difficult face to work on. Do you agree with this?
I do agree. Very few photographers up till now have overcome that problem. Abid Saleem , Tipu , Izdeyar , Zuber khumman and very few other photographers have managed to work my face successfully.
Do you think they are successful because of the make-up?
No I think it’s definitely the magic of lightening.
You usually get compared with Iraj , the undisputed queen of the ramp. How does that feel?
It feels great, I love Iraj, she is my mentor and she is someone I always looked up to from the very beginning. If I have come to that standard, then I must have achieved a lot.
The Lux Style awards just went by , but your name was nowhere to be seen?
Actually I didn’t do much work in 2002. I sent my portfolio with just eight pictures. I had not done much print work and the fashion show that I did do didn’t get much coverage. I simply didn’t care. The thing is that I have been very indifferent to the Lux style awards. In the first Lux Styel awards I participated only because it was something new. This year they asked me to send my portfolio for the nominations , but I knew I had no chance , coz I had didn’t done much work.
You didn’t even participate in the show why?
I was not in town.
Are you the same person you were before?
I think I am still very loving and young at heart. But now I have started realizing my responsibilities and I take them seriously. I have become more complex as a person. I believe that being a model is a big responsibility. You have to maintain your dignity and self-respect.
You seem very stern on your morals and values?
I am. I haven’t violated them so far. And hope I never do. I have never embarrassed or done anything as such to put a “dhuba” on the modeling world.
So success hasn’t change a bit?
It has certainly made me more responsible. Some people get big attitude problem. But I would like to believe that I have not developed That attitude. I will never let success change me I that way.
Is it difficult to maintain your identity in this field?
I think one must have a strong faith and the courage to say “no”. This way you can actually make a niche for yourself. People will then remember you as the girl who did not go beyond her limits and made her own personal identity instead of just going with flow, I try to do this but it’s definitely not easy to say ‘no’. I still don’t believe I am where I am right now. It’s only been four years and people say that I am amongst the top models but I don’t think I have attained my peak.
What is in the pipeline?
I have recently done Shehzad Roy’s video. And one of my plays is on air right now. If I get offers for more plays and I am comfortable with the team I will continue working but right now I have my final exams coming up and then my wedding is also on the cards.