What are you passionate about?
What am I passionate about? Let’s see… I’m passionate about animals. I love animals. One of my goals in life is to make a conservation sanctuary for the animals. Ones that are going extinct, the ones that are getting bullied. That kind of stuff.
Also I’m passionate about… Since I was in grade 8 I was challenged that I couldn’t work for Warner Brothers. Since then I am passionate about working for Warner Brothers.
And the third thing I’d say I am passionate about is not working a 9 to 5 job all my life. I want to do my goal for Warner brothers then I will change my job and be a photographer, a tour guide that kind of stuff. And I love cheese.
What is something significant you have achieved?
I got selected from Pakistan for a scholarship to the US. From about 5000 only 100 were selected and I was one of the 100. It was a state scholarship so basically the state invited us to the US. I spent a whole semester there as a cultural ambassador and I think that’s one of my biggest achievements.
Who do you look up to?
My mum. My mum’s my role model because since I’ve been little I’ve seen how strong she is in a community like Pakistan. Although she’s a doctor, and she comes from a family of many doctors, my grandfather was a doctor too, she’s the only sister that’s a doctor.
And I have seen how courageous she is. In Pakistan it’s not very easy for girls to go out and study that way when we were growing up. Now it’s more convenient, it has been more easy, but when we were growing up it wasn’t that easy.
She sent us from (Atival) because I come from that valley, she sent us and used to encourage us to go and study and do what we wanted to do. And everyone in the family were like why are you doing that, there’s so many dangers for girls out there, it’s very difficult for girls to survive in that way. She was like nah, because she was kind of a single parent in that my Dad was in Dubai all the time, he got stuck there and he wasn’t there a lot of the time when were growing up. She single handedly raised 4 kids, and all of us are educated, and today I am here because of her.
What is the greatest risk you’ve taken?
I take so many risks every day!
Well one of the risks I would say is I didn’t tell anyone that I was going to apply for my scholarship for the US. Not that they wouldn’t let me go, but because it was kind of a risk in a way, what if I don’t get selected or do get selected. If I do get selected I knew they would let me go, but I didn’t tell them until the very end when I got my Visa settled and everything.
And I got my Visa, I told my mum ‘Ok Mum I’m going to America’. She laughed and said ‘OK’, she thought I was joking, she’s like ‘yeah sure go ahead!’. I said Mum I got my Visa, I’m going. She like ‘Oh no you’re not!’. That was her first thought, because she thought because I am the youngest in the family, how can she go alone. And then she’s calling all my uncles and everything, she’s like ‘she didn’t tell me, she’s going to the US’.
That was like the first shock for her. I think the whole procedure of me doing everything on my own, was kind of a risky thing.
What’s something that has changed your life?
When my father died. It was a very sudden death, and we were talking to him in the afternoon, and after two hours, because he wasn’t with us, he was in another city, and our aunty called from the hospital and she said ‘your father has died’. We were in denial, I couldn’t fathom it for a very long time. Because he wasn’t there and I hadn’t seen him in three months. And sometimes I still think that he’s somewhere and I can still get to him but I can’t. It’s changed in a way my whole life, it has become very unpredictable.
You know there’s a thing called death, you know that the idea of death is there, but you haven’t really felt it. When my father died I actually felt it. And I was like, you know what you have to live each and every moment of your life, you cannot leave things for the next day or the next morning because you never know if you are going to die or you are going to live. So that accident has changed my perspective a lot towards life.
What’s your best advice to give to other people?
My best advice Carpe Diem – Sieze the day. Just live every moment and literally just achieve or just do what you’re doing that day and don’t make very big plans because that’s how I live my life. I have my certain goals but I don’t have every goal set. I achieve one thing every day, even if it’s like cleaning my room. It’s one achievement per day, live by the day, and do good, and you’re set for life.
What role do your beliefs play in your life?
A lot because I’m more about being a good person, and I believe that is what my beliefs are, just being a good person each day and every day. If you look like a Muslim and you don’t act like one is totally different, even if you don’t look like one but acting like your actions are. So I think my beliefs are in a way just do good, and I think god will reward you for that.
For example a small thing is if I’m selling a shirt because I work in a clothing store, and it’s all sales and commission based. But if I know a person doesn’t look good in it then I’m going to lose a sale. It’s more about am I being truthful to that person, am I being genuine to that person. And it’s my belief that if you are genuine to a person it actually comes back to you in this life or the life thereafter. So in small things like that, even if I am losing something I know that later on it’s going to become a good thing.
Is there anything you would like people to know?
I think women are really misunderstood. If I talk about Islam and if I talk about myself and my culture to you. I think women are really misunderstood. They think women are oppressed just because we are asked to wear a hijab, we are asked to cover ourselves, not thinking it through a perspective that we like it.
Nobody has asked us to do it, but we like it. I don’t do a hijab, but I know if I start doing it, it’s my own choice. My mum does it, my sister does it, but that’s their own choice. That’s not really oppression, that’s their own liking. That’s how we are raised, It’s what we believe is right for us.
If I see a women whose not, again regarding my religious beliefs, if they think a woman is wearing revealing clothes, oh they’re not close to god, or they’re not religious or something, I think that’s a very very wrong thing to say. Because I don’t think you are allowed to judge anyone and you do not know what relation they have with god.