With looks that could kill, she was part of every other fashion event in the city. She would be counted amongst the top few glamour girls. This was because she gave her very best from the very beginning of her career. Meet Zhalay Sarhadi.
Talking about herself, she says, “I am a very loving person and have very strong bonds with my friends and family. I am extremely hard working but failure kills my motivation easily. I lack an engaging spirit and have a short temper but luckily it subsides quickly.”
About romance she says, “I am a die-hard romantic but tend to stay within the boundaries of rationality. At the same time I am a very impulsive person and love spontaneity.”
Sarhadi is happily married to Amir Anees, the owner of an outlet called 5th Avenue, and has a two-year-old baby girl named Anaya. She manages to strike a balance between her personal and professional life, “I have always been a private person. My family life means the world to me. I have set my priorities and they involve me spending more time around my family. My work is such that it allows me breaks in between since it’s not an everyday 9 to 5 job. I have ample time to give to my precious one as well, allowing me to carry on with my creative aspirations in moderation. I simply love my work but I will not sacrifice my family life.”
About her acting and modelling career, Sarhadi says, “I started acting and then went on to hosting. Last but not the least I tried my hand at modelling. Acting has always been my first choice. I absolutely love enacting roles and enjoy hosting as well. As far as modelling is concerned, it gives a bit of a boost to my usually deflated ego.”
About her association with 5th Avenue, Sarhadi says, “You can say I married into 5th avenue. It’s my husband’s business venture. It is a brand which sports western wear fused with a bit of the East. We make clothes for both men and women, both casual and semi formal party wear, too.”
Coming back to modelling, Sarhadi says, “It’s tough. It requires you to be a certain body type. Not everyone is eligible for this. It is actually easier in Pakistan to become a model than anywhere else in the world. We have a more lenient criterion. There are three categories of models: print, ramp and television. For print and ramp, one has to be super skinny and have a lot of attitude on the ramp. Height is more essential for catwalk than print. For commercials or tvcs a pretty expressive face is required. I like doing commercial for obvious reasons.”
About her current projects Sarhadi says, “My current projects involve a lot of acting, sprinkled with hosting.” She is doing acting for private TV channels.
“There is another serial and a hosting job in the pipeline. One day I wish to work for the big screen. Let’s see how that goes.”
My most prized possession is the strong values of honesty and determination instilled by my parents
Love or money?
Love I want unconditionally. Money I can get on my own.
If you could change one facial feature, what would it be?
My nose. I would make it a bit thinner.
What is your favourite fattening food and how do you resist it?
I love all kinds of food. I resist by tasting everything but not hogging on anything.
My earliest childhood memory is…
In the hospital with my mother at the birth of my little sister.
My latest purchase was…
A birthday cake for my daughter’s second birthday Mashallah.
My biggest achievement (so far) is…
Surviving the odds and carrying on with my career.
My most prized possession is…
The strong values of honesty and determination instilled by my parents.
My biggest fear is…
I fear, fear itself.
My craziest fan moment/encounter was…
An eighteen-year-old boy was jumping up and down in frenzy outside my house when he saw me. I can never get that image out of my mind.
My biggest aspiration is…
To be the best at whatever I do. Even if it’s motherhood solely.
What message would you like to give to the women of Pakistan?
Be bold and be yourself. Stop thinking that we are subservient to men in general. The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.
Published in The Express tribune, November 21st, 2010.