Shazia Naz Khan, a model turned actress is an all-rounder through and through. From roles in projects including Kiya Life Hai, Mera Pehla Pyar, Mehram, Bin Roye, and Kuch Na Kaho to appearing in numerous TVCs and print ads such as Jazz Mobilink, Bonanza, Gul Ahmed, and Nishat Lawn, upon talking to her it’s clear that her real achievements go way beyond.
She’s a humanitarian, who strongly believes in giving back to the less fortunate. She’s a huge supporter of women’s empowerment and is convinced that a strong woman is what eventually leads to a strong world. She’s an artist who is inspired by her surroundings, emotions, memories and travels, and paints beautiful murals and canvases in her downtime. She is a foodie and a work out buff, who kick boxes, rides horses, dances, gyms and does yoga. It’s clear that she is dedicated, always on the go, and constantly motivated towards achieving so much more. It’s no wonder that the hashtag she thinks best describes her life is “catch me if you can.”
Shazia Naz Khan is truly beautiful inside and out and she opens up to OK! Pakistan about her work, hobbies, beliefs and so much more…
Humanist, actor, model, painter – which do you resonate with the most?
SHAZIA NAZ KHAN: Well… being human is intrinsic and it comes from within and the remaining three are different forms of artistic and creative expressions. When I want to enjoy a private moment of creative expression, painting is the one I resonate the most with while acting and modelling are the ones that allows me to share my expression with my audience and the world.
Tell us about your first modelling stint. How did it all start?
SNK: To be candid… it was unexpected.
I used to go to a classical dance place for lessons since I was a child and always felt inspired by this form of art that uses the body as an instrument of expression – I guess you can call me an aesthete.
So, one day a designer came to the class and offered me to model in a photo shoot for his upcoming collection. I asked for a little time and discussed it with my sister; she encouraged me so I decided to give it a go. The rest is history.
And the transition to acting?
SNK: I remember I used to be intrigued and mesmerised by acting at the same time. As an audience I used to be in awe of the whole process.
After a few years in modelling all across print, television commercials, magazines and the ramp, one fine day I got a call from a director for an audition in a sitcom Kiya Life Hai (Season two). I remember the character was called Seher, which was pretty much my reflection off-screen. My audition was taken on a video call. I got the role and it was one of the sharpest learning curves of my journey into creative expression – from body expression, vocal expressions, emotional expression, and tonality. I was fortunate to have a great team and director in my first ever outing in acting.
“For me as an actor, curiosity and intrigue of the craft shall always remain.”
You’ve mentioned that acting is something you’ve always been intrigued by. Is it all that you imagined it to be?
SNK: To be honest for me as an actor, curiosity and intrigue of the craft shall always remain. The layers of learning and waves of characters and its minutest details in every performance always unravel mysteries of human emotions, relationships and life. It is much more than I had initially imagined and I am very fortunate to be in a profession where my intrinsic passion of learning about human life is directly linked with the profession I am in.
I know it’s difficult to choose but out of all your acting performances, which role has been the most meaningful for you?
SNK: Playing Maya in Mehram; the character had a complex emotional graph which had a roller coaster effect resulting in a challenging role that I thoroughly enjoyed playing.
Also, the theatre play, Aap Ki Sonia, was great exposure to a live audience. the intensity of the character emitting rage, anger and madness in an articulate fashion where the ethos of the 1970’s period played an influence was a powerful experience.
You’ve got a very unique and dynamic Instagram page with a significant number of followers – do you feel the pressure to lead by example?
SNK: Instagram is exciting for me because I get to interact with my followers and understand how they’re feeling and responding. This interaction is in a way a personal bond with my fans where we both learn about each other. It does get overwhelming at times but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
What are your views on women’s empowerment?
SNK: For me a strong woman means a strong family, a strong family turns into a strong community that turns into a strong nation and a strong world.
I believe that women are responsible for cultivating an empowered culture but I strongly believe that men are more responsible in curating an empowered culture. An example of this is my father who was a strong man and created an environment for me where I could pursue my dreams on fair terms in a not so fair society. What I mean to say that the centuries of imbalance that has caused women to suffer due to men curating the world needs to shift to a balanced one and men are equally important in changing the paradigm.
You’ve been actively involved with volunteer work. Can you tell us a little about that?
SNK: I believe that giving back to society and to those who are less fortunate than us, is a must. Most of our life relationships and interactions are transactional. We must take time out to live in a moment where we are involved in pure giving without the thought of receiving anything in return. Ironically these moments are most rewarding and I feel that a moment of gratitude and a smile that says nothing but acknowledges your time and one’s selfless gesture is food for the soul. Simply put, it keeps us human.
What do you like to paint? What inspires you?
SNK: Art makes us communicate energies and transform them in colours. I believe painting helps me to express myself in a different, personal language and I also find it extremely therapeutic. My artwork depends on what I’m feeling when things in life get overwhelming, and that’s when I like to unwind by painting. I get inspired by my surroundings, emotions, memories, and travels. I paint murals and canvases with acrylic paints.
What is one accomplishment that you are proudest of?
SNK: My teary-eyed mother, after watching one of my performances telling me, “you did justice to the character.”
I believe that giving back to society and to those who are less fortunate than us, is a must.
A foodie and a workout enthusiast – have you figured out the perfect balance?
SNK: Eat and burn baby… eat and burn.
What is your fitness regime?
SNK: I do a mix of kickboxing, dance classes, gyming, horse riding, and yoga. It’s important to constantly surprise your body with a range of physical activities as muscles have memory and if it keeps getting what it’s expecting the impact is minimal – so keep the muscles guessing as to what is coming next. Meanwhile, I keep nourishing my body with neutrants that it requires; each body is different and you would need to learn about your body before you venture into your indigenous routine.
What is your dream project and what do you one day hope to achieve?
SNK: A female-orientated action thriller that encapsulates the essence of a young dynamic Pakistani girl, perhaps a Tomb Raider shot in the mountains of Baluchistan and up north or a biopic of Fatima Jinnah.
SNK:Hanging out with friends and watching movies.
Acting or modelling?
SNK:A hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia.
Last book you read?
SNK:The Art of Thinking Clearly.
Favourite local actor/actress?
SNK:Faysal Qureshi and Sajal Aly.
Hashtag that best describes your life?
SNK:Catch me if you can.
Who inspires you?
SNK:People with compassion.
Favourite workout routine?
SNK:Blush on, sun screen, mascara, and Chapstick.
Last thing you bought?
SNK:A pair of red high heels.
Three things on your bucket list?
SNK:To curate my dream home, own a horse, and go on a world tour.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
SNK:A compassionate, creative adventurer with a kind soul and humility intact who believes in love and hope.
SNK:Bazeecha-e-itfal hai duniya meray aage. Hota hai shab-o-roz tamasha meray aage. – Mirza Ghalib.
FEATURE: MAIRA PAGGANWALA
STYLING. RAO ALI KHAN
PHOTOGRAPHS: UMAIR RAZA
HAIR & MAKE-UP: NABILA SALON
OUTFITS: ASIM JOFA
JEWELLERY: ROUGE BY ROOJ AMIR