For most women in their forties, body image is a touchy subject at best, a personal nightmare at worst — but not for this 41-year-old mother of three. Meet Nyla Hasan, who was crowned ‘Mrs Pakistan World’ on January 31 2011.
A Canadian-based Pakistani, Hasan is an inspiration for women in Canada, in fact, for women everywhere. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Hasan shares her experience: “It feels fabulous. It is an honour for me to represent my country at a global level. Being a mom of teenage kids, I could never have imagined winning a beauty pageant! Most women give up on life once their kids are older. I grew up feeling and believing I was ugly, in fact I remember students at school and university in Karachi, teasing me because I looked different. So, winning the pageant was amazing, I was truly honoured”.
Speaking about the reaction of her children, she said, “I had not told them I was participating. They thought I was joking when I told them I had won the pageant. My teenage daughters are thrilled for me as they look towards me as a role model; my son — the eldest, was equally proud. I felt a lot of respect from them and other family members and friends. One day I would expect my daughters to be Miss Pakistan World, InshaAllah”.
Born in Chittagong, Hasan moved to Karachi with her parents, graduated with an honors degree from University of Karachi and then shifted to Canada 10 years ago. She’s certified as an image consultant in Canada and runs an image consultancy firm in Toronto.
“The best fitness tip I can give women is to be positive. Besides, being forty plus is the best age if you ask me. Women are more mature and confident. Since the children are older, we can finally focus on ourselves without feeling selfish!”
When asked about her favourite Pakistani stars Nyla replied, “I adore Atif Aslam and Shaan equally. What I love most about Atif is that unlike most people he is not shy in stating that he is a work in progress, constantly evolving. Shaan, of course, has kept Lollywood alive. His role in Khudha Kay Liye was phenomenal”.
Almost every beauty queen to-date has had some level of silver-screen ambition, when asked who would be in her Lollywood dream team, Hasan said: “I would love to introduce meaningful movies to the Pakistani community, while keeping them fun and entertaining. The ideal team would include Shaan, Atif Aslam, Iman Ali, Nadeem, Atiqa Odho and a strong director like Shoaib Mansoor. These are the best Pakistan has produced and it will be amazing to see all these wonderful actors work together”.
Given that she would want her daughters to follow her footsteps, the only thing left to ask was whether contests like ‘Mrs Pakistan World’ had any hope of ever being held in Pakistan? Her enthusiastic response: “Absolutely! Participation of the general public should be supported and encouraged. It should be held in Karachi where it can draw an audience of thousands. My dream would be to see Pakistan nominated as the country with the most beautiful woman, as truly we have the most beauty in the world”.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2011.