Home Celebrity ZOYA NASIR


The Pakistani actress discusses getting into character, challenges she’s faced, her toughest role to date, and so much more…


Zoya Nasir is a Pakistani actress who has been exposed to the world of acting since she was a young child. At the age of five she could be seen performing dance moves and acting out scenes on the side while cameras were rolling on set. It really is no surprise that acting is Zoya Nasir’s true calling. In an interview with OK! Pakistan, the actress shares her favourite role to-date along with the most challenging one, how she gets into character, the kind of scripts she’s most attracted to and so much more…

Who would you say Zoya Nasir is?
Zoya Nasir: I’m learning life as I go, wanting happiness around me with a gentle ambition. So basically self-content is Zoya Nasir personified.

Who inspired you to take up acting?
ZN: I grew up on sets. The golden era of Lollywood, if you would, as my dad is a screenwriter. Ever since I’ve seen the camera roll I knew I wanted to be an actor. I would hold dupattas and sing along the songs or act out scenes from an age as young as five.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement?
ZN: My biggest achievement is yet to be achieved but to this date I think it’s our family’s combined effort to meet once every year. We are spread around the entire country with my four elder siblings with a total of 11 children. Doesn’t make it easy. It’s priceless. I’ve scene siblings drift apart and we haven’t. That’s an achievement Alhamdulillah.

Which role was your favourite – Annie from Badzaat Or Sameen from Mere Humsafar?Why?
ZN: Both are very different from each other to be compared. Every role I do is my favourite as I put my heart and soul into it. But I was surprised at the feedback I got as Sameen. It was a tough role to perform. Unlike Annie’s loud character, Sameen was monotonous, serious and simple. I hadn’t done it in a long time so found it really challenging and when people loved it, I felt exhilarated. However, I’m proud to okay Annie as well. Playing such a high maintenance role isn’t a peace of cake either.

What is your greatest strength and weakness?
ZN: Trusting anyone too easily is my greatest weakness. My family is my greatest strength, especially my parents and my eldest brother. I can’t imagine a world where I exist without them.

What type of scripts attract you the most?
ZN: Strong substantial roles or comedy. None of that damsel in distress.

What are the steps you take to tap into one of the characters on screen?
ZN: To step into the character, first of all, I read the script two or three times because I really need to understand it. I need to justify the character’s actions and what they say because most of the time I’ll be reading a line and be like, “this is not how I would respond”. So I need to tell myself that it’s not me. It’s the character that’s responding, not me as myself. So basically that character’s personality is different to mine. In order to become the character, you really have to understand the personality tangent of that character and act accordingly to justify all of their moves and all of their actions and thought processes. Some are serious, some are territorial, some are spoiled, some are ambitious, some are territorial and some are kind of negative because they are threatened. So all these characters are different personalities. That’s how you become the character. It changes your body languages. It changes your style of talking. That’s what it is. The character is a whole living person with a different personality, not yours, but somebody else’s.

Did you face any challenges in this field? And how did you overcome them?
ZN: The only challenge I faced was the challenge of  becoming the character. I really had to learn the difference between becoming the character and just practicing lines. It made me a better actor.

If you had the opportunity to work with any actor of your choice, who would it be and why?
ZN: I would love to work with Junaid Khan again. He’s so easy going, he doesn’t give anyone a tough time, he’s funny and he can do any role to perfection.

Any plans of coming on the big screen?
ZN: So far, none. However, if I stumble upon something great then why not?

Do you think it’s an artist’s responsibility to speak about matters that might be of public interest – politics, current affairs, human rights, etc. ? If so, why?
ZN: The artist should speak up because we are the face of the nation in a way. As an artist you tend to have an influence over people including your fans, especially with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Those people listen to you blindly. However, before giving your opinion or raising awareness, I think an artist should be well aware of the matter – be it human rights, animal rights, or political views.

At a very young age you have gained a lot of success. Do you think that has changed you ?
ZN: Thank you so much for acknowledging my success and of course it has changed me. It has humbled me. It has “unspoiled” me because now I know the real world, the good and the bad that comes with it, and how when you really want something it’s that much harder to get.

How do you balance your personal and work life?
ZN: It’s really hard but I try. If I end up doing two plays at a time then I literally have no life. The working hours are tiresome and then you have to be prepared for the next day. It sucks all the energy for anything else to do. I’ve missed major events, like my siblings’ birthdays, or my neices’ sports day, family reunions and weddings. That being said, sometimes I’ll be free at a stretch for upto two months and I always make sure to make up for it so that’s my own way of keeping the balance.

The entertainment industry is said to be full of stress and pressure. What do you do to tackle the pressure that comes with your work?
ZN: I think all professions comes with their own challenges and I’m not the best at working under pressure or in a toxic working environment even though I’m a hard worker. When things get too much for me to handle on my own, I turn to my mother or my brother and they guide me through.

Describe your most challenging role to date.
ZN: The most challenging role for me was Sameen because she was very well-balanced and it was hard for me because it could have come across like I wasn’t acting at all or she could have have appeared to be very boring with a lack of personality. I think when you’re doing negative characters or playing the role of a damsel in distress, or even comedy, it’s a lot easier so Sameen’s well-balanced role was very challenging for me compared to all my other roles. It was a very well-written role but one that was hard for me to do.

Who do you consider to be your role model? Whose career you would like to emulate, and why?
ZN: I don’t have just one role model. I have loads of them and it would be a long list. Also, I wouldn’t want to emulate anyone else’s career. I would want to carve my own path and make a name for my own self.

What has been your favourite role to date, and why?
ZN: Narmeen in Dobara. Even though I had very little screen time, the contrast in the beginning compared to when I re-enter was written and directed to perfection. It was a joy to work with Danish Nawaz, all the actors and the entire crew – everything about it was great.

Describe your acting style.
ZN: I want to say I can be theatrical, dramatic and organic, and purely Zoya Nasir. I don’t imitate or take inspiration from anyone when it comes to acting. I just channel the character that I make up in my head.

What are you passionate about?
ZN: Acting, my salon, my place, my family and my friends.

Who is your celebrity crush?
ZN: Fawad Khan.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
ZN: When people spell my name with an “x”. It’s Zoya not Xoya.

Favourite perfume?
ZN: Trésor Midnight Rose by Lancôme. Sadly it’s been discontinued and I’m down to my last bottle.

Go-to label?
ZN: In Pakistan it’s Lama, Outfitters, Limelight, Khaadi or whatever wonderful things my mom gets me to wear because she knows what I like.

Coffee or tea?
ZN: None. I’ve lost my tolerance for caffeine.  One cup of chai starts giving me palpitations.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing right now?
ZN: I would be a beautician and a salon owner, which is what I’ve actually been doing since before I became famous or started my career in acting.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?
ZN: I was sent an article by a friend according to which I have left behind two kids in the United Kingdom. It’s definitely not true. Other than that, I’m re-reading my favourite book, Digital Fortress by Dan Brown, for the fourth time.

How would you like to be remembered?
ZN: I’m not sure at the moment. I’m discovering myself as I go. But I would like  to be remembered in good light. 


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