Saheefa Jabbar Khattak is an aspiring young woman who is known not to shy away from breaking stereotypes and raising her voice on social issues that some celebrities choose to overlook. The stunning model made her mark in the fashion industry in 2015. In 2018, she was awarded the Best Emerging Model at Lux Style Awards and Best Rising Star at Hum Awards. Awestruck by her bold and witty personality, our one-on-one session was nothing short of fascinating. Here's how it went.
“Learn some skill, polish it, and grow. You're meant to be someone exceptional — don't let anything bring you down.”
What is your first memory of performing in front of a crowd?
Oh, that was when I was really, young, maybe around 8-years-old. I was studying in grade two. A fancy dress competition at school got me excited. I dressed up as a nurse and I remember that I tried to look and act like the nurses I had observed. I don’t know how good I was but it felt really good to be on stage.
What were Saheefa’s dreams and ambitions while growing up?
You know how some people are always sure of what they want in life, this might sound funny but I always wanted to be famous and for the world to know me for my abilities and skills. So yes, you can say that I had always aimed for fame.
When did you decide you were going to become a model? What was your first audition like?
It was not at all planned. It was one of those things that just happen. I was offered to do a gig and after that there was no looking back. Looking back now, I feel as if it was meant to be.
My first audition was scary! I hate auditions as I never do well in them. But thankfully, things did work out in my favor on that particular day and here I am today.
Do awards matter to you? And while we’re at it, did you think you would be able to bag your first award so soon after entering the Industry?
No, they don't matter; sub jhoot hai. Frankly, I never worked to get an award or a particular title. I just worked hard and people who work hard get rewarded in one way or another. It's the persistence and hard work that matters at the end of the day; keep striving and you will thrive. It is your inner satisfaction, the feeling of being content and the conviction that what you’re doing is right, is what true success is about. The rest is all just artificial and material.
If we speak about the awards night, I had not really thought about it but when I stepped in, I had a gut feeling that I would win that night.
Which world is tougher — fashion or television?
Both are poles apart but both require your determination, hard work, and diligence. I enjoy both; I started working as a model and now I am an established actor. Both have their own demands and areas that need special attention. TV projects demand long-term commitment while modelling gigs only take a day or two in which everything has to be done; neither is easy, neither is more difficult than the other.
While selecting roles, what do you look for in the script?
Honestly, almost all the scripts are the same now. Our industry produces what sells. New scripts and new roles are so important to educate our masses. I hope and pray for people to start focusing more on writing good scripts and better content. When masses become aware and their vision becomes broader, that is when you'll witness a change in the society.
How important is formal education?
Education itself is very important. It plays a vital role in a person's outlook in life. It makes you who you are, changes your perception about the world and how you deal with different circumstances in life. So whether it is formal education or informal, it should be a compulsion for all.
What does women empowerment mean to you?
Equality everywhere — at home and at our workplaces. At this point, I'd say equal pay is also a very important facet of women empowerment. Women do the same work, sometimes better than men, but they get paid less. That is unjust!
However, I don’t believe anyone can come and empower women, or even that they should. Women need to empower themselves and not wait for anyone. Learn some skill, polish it, and grow. You're meant to be someone exceptional — don't let anything bring you down.
You got married soon after entering the entertainment industry, how did marriage change life for you?
Getting married didn't change anything at all for me. We were engaged before I started modelling, we accepted each other for what we were and that included being comfortable with our career choices as well.
How do you think girls who take inspiration from you should work towards achieving their goals?
Set a goal and then keep working hard to accomplish what you aim for. Stay true to yourself. Be yourself and do what makes you content and you will feel that there's harmony between your mind and heart. That is where happiness is derived from. You don't want to waste precious moments of your life and later regret not being able to achieve what you wanted to.
What's the one thing you take pride in being a Pakistani?
Pakistan is beautiful and to be living in a gorgeous land where we get to see different seasons, experience various cultures with the freedom of being able to choose who we want to be as people — that's the beauty of it. HH
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