The stunning new actor-model Ainy Jaffri has been seen in commercials for brands such as Dawlance, Ufone and Omore. She has also starred in a few plays, with her most recent one being Meri Behen Maya, in which she plays the role of a young girl despised by her stepmother. But while her beautiful face has enticed many a make-up artists to add her to their portfolio, she says entering the industry was not easy and that acting was a no-go area in her family.
“My parents wouldn’t want anyone to be involved in acting as they belong to a conservative family with a fixed set of values,” says Jaffri. “A lot has to do with not being familiar or not being able to understand the environment of the media.” She feels people tend to become judgmental about things they are not involved with, so it took her family some time to understand her decision to act.
The model-actor will soon be making her debut in the film industry. PHOTO: AYAZ ANIS KHAN
Taking inspiration from Hollywood actors Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Natalie Portman, Jaffri entered the realm of entertainment with great passion. “I am an actor; I believe modeling is a natural extension of acting as actors are constantly asked to endorse brands,” she says. “However, I am just five feet four inches in height. I know I’m not tall enough [for ramp modeling] according to this profession’s requirements, so I don’t opt for it either.”
“Our industry has plenty of dramas where women are depicted in powerful, woman-centric roles. Females have a strong role to play in our society, and as a result, female actors get the chance to portray that,” says Jaffri. “I believe acting gives you an insight into the human psyche — you are able to venture inside the human brain and see how it works; this really helps you on a personal level,” she says, adding that it has helped her understand others better.
Jaffri has been fortunate when it comes to choosing the plays she wants to work in. She is currently living with her parents and is not the sole bread earner, so there is no compulsion to accept all offers that come her way. “I am lucky that I get to make a decision and it’s a luxury I am grateful for,” she says.
As far as future plans are concerned, Jaffri will soon be making her debut in the film industry with a Humayun Saeed production.
“When I was growing up, I think I was very selfish as a sister — I would bully my younger siblings a lot, but I guess as time passes by, you grow up,” says Jaffri, with a mischievous smile. The family includes three sisters, with Jaffri being the eldest; producer Meher Jaffri who gained fame post Pakistani film, Seedlings (also known as Lamha) and Sarah Jaffri, who is involved in labour and employment issues in Pakistan.
Ainy’s youngest sister Sara with her in London, July 2012. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
She lived most of her life abroad, grew up in Singapore, completed her Bachelors in Commerce from McGill University in Canada and then moved back to Singapore where she worked for an advertising firm. With the passage of time, she grew “homesick for food, family and friends”, and knew it was time to move to Pakistan. She said that she knew in her heart that she had the ability to act and perform, so she made the decision to leave.
“In the initial two years, I used to Romanise the entire Urdu script of a drama, which was written in Urdu,” she says, talking about how she memorised scripts. “I was so bad at it. But as time has gone by, I have become better. The more you read, the better it becomes.”
Her decision to move to Pakistan, however, has more to do with her passion for acting than anything else. “I really enjoy acting and performing, and that is why I’m here,” she says, adding that she is used to an ‘open society’ and a lifestyle which is quite restricted in Pakistan.
Without giving away too much information, Jaffri says she still hasn’t been able to find Mr Right. “I haven’t found the right person, but I do believe in eternal love and am a believer in marriage,” she says. She adds, “But I am not impatient. I believe it comes naturally to be with somebody and to understand them, but you need to train your brain towards it.”
On a final note, she says that people should “follow their heart and dreams”. “I urge parents to give their children the opportunity to have their own identity and live their dreams.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2012.