T-Diaries: Anoushey Ashraf

A glimpse into the world of Pakistani powerhouses


December 17, 2014

What sparked your interest in the television industry?

I was 18 years old when I got my first job! Working in the industry at a cool music channel was a big enough attraction for me. I was going to host my own show and make my own money at the age of 18 while my friends weren’t making any. I was going to become popular too and that was reason enough to join the industry.

Do you think that morning shows in Pakistan are doing well?

I think we have yet to set standards for morning shows. However, the past few months have witnessed a change in the genre owing to the criticism we have been receiving. There are no more wedding seasons or ghost stories being covered. Things have become better.

What is the hardest part about being in the showbiz industry in Pakistan?

Being a woman on television is the hardest as the stigma of a girl working in the media hasn’t been eradicated yet. I get really annoyed by people having the same mentality. Talented and educated girls are joining the industry now, with the support of their families, just like my family supported me when I started. But in Pakistan, we still stress over our pictures being leaked and being criticised about the way we dress. We don’t get the respect we deserve.

If awards were for sale, how much would you pay for one?

I would never be willing to pay! Ironically, there isn’t even a category for hosts in our award shows.

Do you think that the public and critics expect too much from an artist?

I think they should expect better! If we don’t deliver what the audience wants to see then it’s a downfall for us. However, it’s a two way street and the industry shouldn’t undermine the audience by showing whatever they want with the thinking that ‘Log toh kuch bhi dekh lenge (people will see anything)’. The public is becoming intelligent and as the industry develops, the bar for quality also increases.

You have been part of a few acting projects so why haven’t you ventured into the drama industry completely?

One loses their star value if they start doing everything. I had been approached by friends to do a few sitcoms and thus, ended up doing them. However, I am not passionate about acting and want to concentrate on hosting. When people recognise me for that or when they need a good host and instantly think of ‘Anoushey,’ it is overwhelming.

Do you think that the standard for hosting in Pakistan needs to improve?

Yes! We have people who speak well but have no one to do research for them or writers who could write their scripts. Unlike other countries, we are not trained and have to do our own quick thinking in front of the camera. We make our own lines and say whatever comes in our minds but still need professionals to do the research as well as good writers. At the moment, what you see is what you get: hosts are the same on and off screen.

Do newbies entering the industry respect their seniors?

New people entering the industry become stars immediately. Most of them haven’t faced the struggle and that has gotten to their heads. However, one should always be humble because once you think you have achieved it all, you stop growing.

Any advice for young women aspiring to work in the industry?

There is place for girls in our industry and thus, if girls want to enter they should definitely go for it. However, they should follow their dreams only after they have completed their education.

Anoushey Ashraf

VJ and Host

Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, December 14th, 2014.

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