“Empowerment can't be restricted to women working in the field only. It is women raising a generation that can bring a positive change when they grow up.”
Vaneeza Ahmed — a name that doesn’t need any introduction. This exceptional woman is known for her beauty, charisma, prudence in making the right choices, her unmatchable style and, most importantly, her balance in every role she takes on in life. From being a model to a successful entrepreneur and an actress with exceptional talent, she never fails to impress millions of her fans across Pakistan and the world.
In our in-depth conversation with her, Vaneeza shared some of the fondest memories from her childhood, when she started off recalling, “I was born in Murree and grew up in Islamabad, so my initial years were spent in the capital before moving to Copenhagen, Denmark. Later, I completed my high school from Germany where the whole family lived for a couple of years due to my father's work. It was because of these transfers that we were raised to be adaptable and, therefore, I grew up with a flexible personality. I was very comfortable with change and tried to instantly adapt to a particular surrounding without much hesitation." Recollecting further, she added, "As a child, I was very tomboyish. I looked up to my father and to please him, I played with my mechano sets and cars and this went on till my college years. My friends from those years still can’t digest the fact that I grew up and become a model.”
According to Vaneeza, her parents have contributed immensely to the woman that she has become. She gives special credit to her mother; especially, after her father passed away, she became an example of strength for Vaneeza, who took inspiration from her mother entering into an unconventional career that was also not an easy one at the time – constructing houses and real estate. The transition from being a housewife to becoming a businesswoman left Vaneeza awestruck and she picked up a lot of characteristics from her mother.
Shedding light on how she started her career, Vaneeza mentioned, “It all started with the dramatics society at Kinnaird College for Women University, where I participated in the annual play and got the acting bug. If we speak about modeling, Nilofer Shahid took auditions at the college and just for fun, and maybe for a free designer dress, I auditioned. I was approached by her for a shoot and since she was a family friend, I went ahead with it. That was the game-changer project for me — my whole life changed within a week. After that shoot for Herald, it has been a roller coaster ride. From wanting to be a doctor, I became a professional model.”
Vaneeza shared that in the initial stage of her career, there was a lack of family support but after seeing how dedicated and determined people from the fashion industry were, her mother started to support her and she gained more confidence from that point on. She stated, “Athar Shahzad, Mehdi, HSY — all are thorough professionals and working with them brought out the best in me. People generally have a different perception about this industry but if you are courageous and determined, nobody can stop you from growing. I worked on some good projects and I was taught to strive for better than what everybody else was doing. I try to do everything to the best of my abilities; one should always try their best and believe that they can do better than what they’ve already done. That is the way one keeps going and growing.”
Vaneeza believes work becomes easier when you have a committed team. She explained, “I’ve enjoyed working with most of the photographers and designers in Pakistan, but Athar Shahzad has to be on the top of the list. They have been extremely motivating and understanding. We understood each other from scratch and it is a joy to work with people who don’t compromise on being professional. That is how the next generation should be trained as well. Nations only progress if there are individuals who are dedicated to fulfilling their dreams and achieving their goals. My biggest strength has been my ability to keep moving by fighting all my fears, conquering them one by one. Having faith in Allah helped me a lot throughout my journey. It made me try my best and try the hardest way possible; I try looking at the positive side of every situation and not give up. Giving up is a trait of an escapist, so never give up.”
Nations only progress if there are individuals who are dedicated to fulfilling their dreams and achieving their goals.
The biggest achievements for Vaneeza are her children. She said, “As far as work is concerned, everyone works hard but in life, real success for a parent is to raise a human who has great values and a strong moral conscience. That is a great way to measure how successful you’ve been. Everything else is temporary but legacy stays forever. Therefore, men and women should invest time and energies in bringing up children who grow up and become fine human beings.”
Women empowerment in Vaneeza’s vision is not merely getting out of the house to work, which is something most women do anyway. From her point of view, "Women empowerment is putting your point across and be heard. Do not be ashamed to have an opinion or voice your opinion. After having my children, I realized being a mother is empowering in itself. Raising children in the right environment, focusing on their values and teachings is a bigger necessity than making money or growing careerwise. Empowerment can't be restricted to women working in the field only. It is women raising a generation that can bring a positive change when they grow up."
“As far as work is concerned, everyone works hard but in life, real success for a parent is to raise a human who has great values and a strong moral conscience. That is a great way to measure how successful you’ve been. Everything else is temporary but legacy stays forever.
Vaneeza’s message for the women of Pakistan is: "Believe in yourself and whatever you do, put your best in it. Don't get trapped and think you can only be valued if you go out to work, learn to have a take on situations in life and don't be manipulated — that is how you will be valued. Nothing can beat a woman who has an opinion on things. Learn to create your reality, which you strongly believe in and then act upon your ideas. Be strong, be yourself and no one can stop you from achieving your goals — biggest amongst which should be serving the country by just improving the way you look at things." HH
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