Vaneeza Ahmed aka Vinny has everything a desirable woman should have. You can never pin down what is about her that makes your heart skip a beat. You know it’s something but you are never sure what it is. Personally I vote for her deep-set eyes , her down-to-earth yet you-can’t-take-me-for-granted attitude, her lethal figure , her divine looks or perhaps… Good lord! I am out of breath. Extending herself from the ramp and appearing on 35mm reels, Vinny is a super model who has touched the pinnacle of success and a shinning actor who is all set to seat herself on the coveted best actress throne… So meet the Goddess of the modern world.
You are known to be very fastidious about money matters: you don’t move an inch without moolah and refuse to lower your skyrocketing price no matter what the situation is. Don’t you think this money-minded attitude will affect your significance in the long run?
Money matters and it makes the world go round. Nobody wants to do anything free of cost; you want get paid for the work you do. There is a certain price for everything; I too don’t come for free. It’s not as if you are going out to buy vegetables , where you would haggle over the price. I charge what I think I deserve. Anybody who wants me has to pay me my price and freeloaders figure nowhere in my book. Yes I have set some standards regular designers I charge a certain amount and others I charge a different one. Why should I confer favours? And at the end of the day , everybody is a friend in this industry, So if you start doing things free for friends , then you would end up setting at home, penniless I am a professional model; I don’t model for the heck of it, it’s my bread and butter and it pays my bills. Yes, for a few friends I slash down my price, and for some I even do it for free . But that’s entirely up to me; whom to charge what.
When it come to electronic media you are quite a magnet and manage to snare all the major campaigns. What do you think you have that the other girls don’t that makes the media eat out of the palm of your hands?
I think that only happens because I have a regular face that people can relate to. What advertisers look for is a slightly better looking woman with a little attitude. That’s how an average Pakistani woman is and that’s how I am.
Average looking and you how modest!
I am not brings modest. I am just being honest. I mean I have a crooked nose, tiny eyes and crooked teeth. I am quite imperfect.
We hear that you are an extremely private person and to a degree inaccessible when it comes to interviews. Being one of the most wanted actresses who is hogging the television limelight 24/7 as well as one of the supermodels who’s splashed all across the top glossies , don’t you think you have to be media friendly instead of media shy?
I don’t like giving too many interviews because I’m a private person and I avoid public places, especially where the media is involved. I don’t like to mix work with pleasure at all. That’s not me. My private life is private I’m sure that happens in every other field as well. When a banker leaves the bank, he leaves work at the bank and doesn’t brig it home; that’s the way it is and that’s the way is should be.
There is this general complaint that models have high and mighty attitudes and they throw tantrums for no reason. How far do you think this is right?
I don’t know about the others but at least I don’t do such things, I mean , I do throw high voltage tantrums when and where it is required, but not unnecessarily. I feel if you are throwing tantrums you are not resolving the issue ; you are just creating more issues. Like if I am stuck in a situation , instead of turning around and saying, Don’t you know who I am ? I’m Vaneeza Ahmed I would resolve the issue I’m the eldest in the family and being the eldest I’m used to compromising and finding solutions instead of sitting, cleaning and stretching out issues like chewing gum. That’s what I do and I think that’s what is appreciated also. Throwing tantrums doesn’t get you anywhere in life.
You are known to be like water in a container, being able to adjust yourself anywhere and with anyone and getting along well with everybody. However , Aaminah Haq is an exception , as one hears a lot about the tussle between the two of you. Please comment.
I don’t feel anything like that. It has all been fabricated and exaggerated by the media. The only reason why tongues wag is that Aaminah and I started modeling together. At that time there weren’t that many models around and we did the same work alternately. For example, she did Al-karam one year, I did it next year, she did one campaign one year, I did it the next year, so people concluded that there is a competition going on between us. But in reality there was and there is no competition. Her body language is different from my own. What I do she doesn’t do because she has a different personality. Yes I know her but I can’t say she’s one of my closest friends. Because she’s not. I don’t know her that well.
And what about Iraj, as the two of you get compared all the time?
Again, I don’t think there’s any comparison between Iraj and myself. Iraj was in the industry way before I came in. She started earlier though she’s younger then I. she has a different image and what she can do on the ramp I cant even dream of doing . I don’t have the confidence to do it, or maybe I know that If I do it , I will go down like a lead ball! I don’t try to be Aaminah and I don’t try to be Iraj. I am doing my own stuff and I stick to that.
When it comes to popularity, you make all the other models take as back seat for example, a roadside pedestrian knows you but doesn’t know Iraj and others. What is the secret behind you immense popularity?
I am a regular face on the tube as I am an actress also and that has increased my mass appeal. They may know Iraj by her face but not by name, or by the way she speaks, because she doesn’t do TV. TV takes you to another level altogether and that’s why I stand out.
Your nomination for the last Lux style Award raised a hue and cry. Many people thought it was not justified, as you had nothing much to your credit in 2002.How would you clear your position?
I didn’t do much in 2002? That’s surely a joke in 2002 I did some major work! I did Lux, Insta and Pepsi, while in other years I didn’t do much. In fact , I think I shouldn’t have gotten the Award in 2001 but in 2002. But I guess they have their own criteria for choosing the best model.
Then there are some people who think you are over the hill and deserved the lifetime Achievement Award and not the best Model Award!
They say success is when you don’t go to work, the work itself comes to you that’s my story, I’m not pushing myself to get work; multinationals are coming to me and giving me work. I didn’t ask the Lux people to take me. My face is working for the. It doesn’t matter If I’m 13, 30 or 60;my face works and that’s what matters.
Multinationals mearay chachay ke puttar to nahin lagtay hean na ke who mujhe favour kerein. They are selling their products. If they have taken me it’s not because they like the way I am they are businessmen and are smart enough to know what sells and what doesn’t.
What do you think of the Lux Style Awards?
It’s good that our working is getting appreciated because that means the world to us. It was the first time that fashion industry was given the respect of being an industry that why we backed it. But again, if there’s no credibility and if you bestow awards on the wrong people, the people who matter will back out. So the awarding process should be transparent.
Khawar Riaz is the one who provided you with a launching pad. How is it that being politically correct, you now work with everyone but him?
It’s not like I don’t work with him I work with anybody and everybody who’s doing good work. I had always been very keen to work with him but it was Khawar who stopped working with models and stuck to Zara and some girls. Now if he has changed his mind and is willing to work with me, he can be my guest any day and time.
What are the problems you face as model?
The list is too big firstly, people expect us to work for a certain amount and they think ke paisay de rahay han to sab khuch chalay ga sab khuch nahin chalay ga!
Secondly, professionalism: there is a lack of professionalism here and everybody is out to take your face for a ride. Like, I had a contract with Tibet snow seven years ago, for a year and they are cashing in on it even now. I am now taking legal action against them because what they are doing is unethical. Then our laws are quite jumbled and you can’t sue people easily. The only thing I can do about it is to make sure that now, from this year , I hire a lawyer and consult him , for everything. We have to safeguard our own interest because advertisers keep loopholes which we normal people don’t understand.
As an actress you have been stereotyped in the kind of roles you venture. Doesn’t that make your growth as an actor rather one dimensional?
I am stuck because people know that I’m a model and they want to see me as a glam doll. My directors don’t cast me as a damsel in distress because people won’t accept me in such roles. Same in the case with Sania Saeed she is an actor par excellence but the characters she gets are sensitive and not glamour’s because people won’t accept her In glamorous roles.
The average Pakistani man may fantasize and drool over the women in showbiz but when it comes to marriage, he turns to his mother to fix him up with a household sati savitri because “girls form showbiz are fast.” What do you have to say about that?
That’s an average man you are talking about. I won’t marry an average man. My man has to be above average. I won’t settle down with a man who looks down on my profession. I think modeling is better than any white-collar job. As far as being fast is concerned, I feel that has nothing to do with modeling. You will find doctors who sleep around, aunties having extramarital affairs. Jinhon ne karma hota hai wo kisi bhe field mein kar laitay hain. Just because I am comfortable with my body and I wear a dress the way it should be worn – what’s wrong with it? If this makes me fast, so be it. But again things are changing now. Tania Shafi is married , so are Natasha and Cybil. And the once who are not married are married because of their own free will. Like , I am single; I am content. The day I make up my mind, I will go ahead and do it. Just like that.
The buzz is that the much-publicized affair between you and Ali Azmat has ended. Is the party actually over?
All’s well that ends well.
These days relationship are not working out. Why do you think they are not lasting for a long time?
Luck of compatibility, I guess.
So you are not seeing anyone?
Another relationship that has bitten he dust is Nadia Hussain’s with Aamir Ahmed, your flesh and blood. Did this breakup change your relationship with Nadia, as you are known to be quite thin-skinned about your family?
Not at all, it didn’t matter before; it doesn’t matter now.
There is this general impression that models are objects of desire. Do you feel proud being one?
All women are object of desire, not just models. Any man who looks at any beautiful women and desires her, it makes her the object of desire. I don’t think many men out there desire me. I am just another woman.
As a supermodel, you have been dubbed a role model. You have set the standards in terms of dos and don’ts that new girls can use as their career guide. It is thought that ZQ, our new supermodel, started going places when you took her under your wing. How far do you think you are behind this Mini Vinny’s newfound success?
I have taken modeling , as a profession and lot of girls don’t do that. They do it because they want to see themselves on those life-size billboards. To me it’s nothing like that. A job is job is a job. If ZQ and others are following my shadow, then good for them. It is a lucrative business, after all ZQ , I guess , is maturing as a model. When I started out I too had baby fat. Unlike foreigners we Pakistani women age well. The older we get , the better we look, Ditto with ZQ . I am happy with the way things are shaping up for her. ZQ was traveling in two boats at once and was not fully concentrating on modeling; like she was an assistance editor at LIbas first then she taught at Lahore Grammar School. It’s only now that she is taking her profession with a straight face and is making a name for herself. Yes , I do guide her which I think as a friend I should and I will.