“Trusting your daughters and making them aware of their abilities is of utmost importance. Parents should wholly support their daughters and their talent and see them win every battle life throws at them.”
Anoushey Ashraf – a positive, humble, confident and life-affirming woman became Pakistan's first female video jockey in 2002. She gained fame from her show on Indus Music and continues to influences people with the help of different mediums. Her breakfast show on the radio is thoroughly enjoyed not only by adults but also children and teens. According to many, their mornings become brighter with the positivity that Anoushey brings on her show. On behalf of Hilal for Her, I sat down with Anoushey in a heart-to-heart conversation and talked about her life and achievements.
Let’s go back to the beginning; what was Anoushey like in her childhood?
Well, when I look back I remember myself as a hyperactive child. I used to be extremely active, always up to something. Rescuing pets and reading books were an integral part of my childhood.
Growing up, my parents emphasized on 'tolerance'. My sisters and I were encouraged to respect people of different races, religions, and ethnicity. I would go out of the way to make everyone feel like an equal citizen, no matter what community or caste they belonged to. I appreciate how I’ve been taught to take care of other individuals or even animals as they’re also living beings.
Were you always inclined towards the entertainment industry?
There are numerous videos that my dad has in his collection where I'm pretending to be a host, speaking about different places we travelled to. There are many from California where I'm talking about lakes, beaches or my experiences there. I've been caught hosting shows for my dad's enormous video camera. So, I think I've always had it in me to at least be a travel series host.
Who is your inspiration?
I've been immensely inspired by my father. He used to travel to Europe by road and that was very motivating. It helped me become keen on traveling, discovering the world and making friends from all nationalities. Later, I took inspiration from sports figures like Roger Federer and Steffi Graf. These are people who are committed and dedicated. They're honest with their work and play with integrity.
What’s the most essential part of your childhood that has made you into the beautiful and confident woman that you are today?
First of all, I’m humbled and thank you for thinking that I’m beautiful and confident but I think it’s the fact that I was always supported to be myself. My parents never made me feel sorry about the decisions that I made and this has made me comfortable with who I am today. Even if I mess up, I’ll be alright. I will apologize but will also move forward towards betterment. So trusting your daughters and making them aware of their abilities is of utmost importance. Parents should fully support their daughters and their talent and see them win every battle life throws at them.
Education plays a vital role in any profession. What degree have you acquired and how has that benefited you in your career?
I've studied literature but learning through the formal education system along with reading otherwise provides you tools to manage and apply yourself better. It makes one organized in ways we can’t even imagine. I speak for a living so I have to read a lot. My background in literature has trained me quite well. Literature has helped me build my vocabulary and use it appropriately, too.
You were a VJ, you’ve acted and now you’re a host and run a wonderful morning show. What have you enjoyed the most?
I try to enjoy everything that I opt for. It's a part and process of growing as an individual so I believe each moment should be celebrated. I love being host as it gives me the opportunity and a window to speak to people regularly.
It’s hard to gain family support when you are stepping in the world of media. How did your family respond to your decision?
It certainly is but I was very lucky as my parents were extremely supportive and encouraging. My mother dropped me off for my first audition and even now, they take a lot of pride in me being a host. For instance, I can sense the joy when someone walks up to me for a picture when they’re around.
Your social media account shows you belong to a very closely-knit family. How have you managed your career and family?
Yes, that is very true. My family comes before my career. I visit everyone often, I am there for everyone’s birthday and we are all very enthusiastic about family reunions. It is family that keeps me going. So I've set my priorities straight, I believe everyone should.
Your biggest achievement in your point of view?
In my point of view, to be in a position to impact or help humans or animals in any capacity is the biggest achievement. Social media has allowed people to reach out to me and I am there to facilitate the ones who need help.
Three most important things in your life?
Family, work and travel.
Your 3 favorite people to work with and why?
Dino has to be on the list as I grew up working with him. Faizan, Adnan Malik, and Ayesha Omar too, but I am comfortable working with anyone as long as people are respectful and dedicated.
You have represented Pakistan on various forums, what is one special thing about our culture which you always want to project?
Like most patriotic Pakistanis, I promote our wonderful culture as a whole. Whenever someone visits from abroad, I take them to villages and I end up learning more as well.
What does women empowerment mean to you?
It means everything! I am an empowered woman and I know how essential it is to be able to have a voice and the freedom to be ourselves. I think it’s time women in Pakistan are also standing up for their rights and I want to congratulate them for supporting each other and bringing their causes to the forefront.
Through my radio and television show, I try and inculcate values that help women learn more about religion, hygiene, nutrition, being morally and ethically correct — loving other humans and animals.
What are the important lessons you have learned being a part of this industry?
Firstly, I've learned to respect myself even more as a woman. In our field of work women are not given the respect they deserve. But you have to learn to respect yourself. Once you're able to do that, you automatically gain respect from all around you. Another lesson I learned was to be comfortable in putting myself out there in front of the camera for millions of people to watch and learn something from me.
What is your message for the Pakistani youth?
Live your dreams, do not be shy or intimidated. You’ve got it, just be passionate and live the best life. Spend less time on social media and more time on practically doing good things for people around you. Focus on contributing towards a stronger Pakistan. Pakistan Zindabad! HH
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