- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
Ayesha Toor - On her life as an actor, a model, a host and everything in between
- 07 Jul - 13 Jul, 2018
- Cover Story
She emanates an aura of mystery that surrounds her everywhere she goes and that "I think has become a part of my personality over the years, I have developed it and have worked on it.”
This is Ayesha Toor, an artiste of many talents who knows her craft to the core. As eloquent as Ayesha is, she is all heart whenever she speaks and that is enough to engage anyone. She credits Zhalay Sarhadi “for everything I do now, professionally. She is the one I turn to for advice and whenever I am in a fix. She is the one who made me realise my real potential as an actor and an artiste.” The brave girl knows how to manage her professional life as an actor and a host, is strong enough to say ‘no’ to people and does everything with panache.
A writer and an avid reader who wants to travel the world, Ayesha talks at length about her life as an actor, a model, a host and everything in between. Read on to find out more about the girl who is ‘addicted to chocolates’ big time.
How did you enter the show business?
After working for one and a half years for The News International, I quit. Then one day, I met Sajid Hassan through mutual friends and he offered me a role in a drama serial. He had asked me before as well but I told him that I’d never work for television. While at The News, I met Mohsin Sayeed who also asked me to model for a video. But I refused him too, citing the same reason that I would never join the showbiz industry. A couple of years later, a few friends of mine were doing a drama for Sajid called Funters. I thought it was fun and I ended up doing that. I did a couple of more things after that, and then I did a video for the song Behti Naar, directed by Saqib Malik for Rushk band. It was only after this that I started getting more offers but I accepted only what I thought was fine because until then I did not consider to take showbiz as a profession.
It was in 2003 when I started taking it seriously, doing more work and considering relevant offers. I still do not know the reason why I did not take all of this seriously before. I used to stumble here and there but I don’t have any regrets because I think that the industry is way more professional now than it was previously.
What do you think you’re better at, acting or modelling??
I’d like to say I’m a better actor because I am comfortable in front of the camera. I’ve gained experience working with renowned people and especially the new comers. I don’t do modelling very often and never thought of it seriously.
Your first cover shoot?
I don’t remember exactly but I did a shoot for Mag The Weekly back then. That shoot was literally ahead of its time. It was wonderful and is one of my favourite covers. The photography was done by Tapu Javeri.
What do you think is the definition of a good actor?
A person who has an incredible charm, who puts aside his/her personality and ego and completely immerses into the character.
Your favourite co-stars?
Irsa Ghazal, Nauman Ijaz, Amber Rana, Ali Kazmi, Sajid Hassan and Firdous Jamal. I’ve learnt a lot working with them and I really enjoy their company as my co-stars.
How do you think the stars of good old PTV days are different than the new comers entering into the industry today?
The new batch of actors is brilliant, I believe. They take their craft seriously. I’d say the actors of the current period are much more talented, no doubt. As far as the scripts are concerned, I am clueless as to what these dramas are trying to portray. Our lives, mine or yours, are completely different than what is shown in our dramas. So, I feel like instead of being progressive, we regress script-wise.
What sort of project do you want to work in?
Honestly, something that’s a normal, real life story. There is a new trend that we are witnessing in our dramas that a woman’s role is only limited to crying which does not make any sense. Nobody is writing near-to-life stories.
Would you want to bring some change in scriptwriting?
I definitely want to bring a normal side of life to scriptwriting. What I also want to change is the morning show culture. Because wherever I go, I am asked, “Why don’t you people do something about these shows? Why aren’t you making efforts to change the way they are portraying
It is beyond my understanding what these morning shows are teaching. To me, these are only showcasing heavy make-up and jewellery and nothing else. This needs to change.
When did you start hosting and why?
I started hosting a long time ago. I think that’s the first proper thing I did for television. My friend Fariha and I did a fashion-based show for Indus TV. We used to sit down, work hard and do research. Later, we did a music video show. I realised that for some strange reason people like the way I talk.
What do you enjoy the most; acting or hosting?
Both. If I’m hosting, I miss acting and when I’m acting, I keep thinking about going back to hosting a show.
What is your stance on favouritism in the industry?
Unlike the past, showbiz has become such a lucrative business, there is so much money involved. It has become a proper profession now. The more the money, the bigger and better the industry. If people want to come in, let them come in. Our audience is really smart now and at the end of the day, they will filter the talent. If someone is not up to the mark, people will eventually reject them.
A role that you want to play eagerly?
I really want to work with Fasih Bari Khan one day because every character he writes is fascinating.
What are the current projects you are working on?
I’m doing Social Diaries right now. I was going to start a project which was in works for quite a while now for a private channel but I broke my foot and had to return the script. For now, I’m not working too much acting-wise because I badly need my foot to get healed first. But I am doing a lot of photoshoots and I am loving it.
How do you keep yourself fit?
It’s genetic. A couple of things are also important, like [having] plenty of water. Keep your skin clean and don’t wear a lot of make-up. Let it breathe. If we take care of ourselves by putting small efforts, we’re all beautiful people.
Do you write also?
I used to write for magazines but haven’t written anything professionally in a long time. I write scripts for all my shows. I don’t ask someone else to do my research or write for me. I have written telefilms; everything that I’ve written is not a direct love story, but the theme is based on relationships, emotions and how we love each other.
Where do you see yourself 10 years down the line?
I see myself living on Beach Island, but working in France on some kind of research or development work or a book. Then, I also want to live in Hunza. So, I want to live in three different places in my life.
What’s fashion for you?
Fashion for me is excitement. Something that is easy, fun and affordable. It’s an amalgamation of your imagination, creativity, budget, weather and people you are surrounded with. It’s a way of life.
What’s your style statement?
I like doing things my way. I will also make fun of myself sometimes on the red carpet, because you know, you can’t always control what you wear, but I always do things my own way. I can wear shalwar kameez with leather arm bands and I can wear a western dress with jhumkas.
Are you into buying expensive brands?
I can buy T-shirts from Zainab Market and then I can buy an Alexander McQueen top as well. It’s not about the money, it’s about what I like.
Most memorable moment?
There are so many.
Any scariest moment?
When I killed a lizard.
You are most nervous when?
When I am working on a new project.
You are most satisfied and comfortable when?
When I am at the gym.
First celebrity crush?
You wish to work with?
I like all colours, but you can say it’s green.
Any personality you would like to spend a day with?
If you are stuck on an island, what will you do?
Live happily ever after. I enjoy my own company.
Craziest fan encounter?
There was an aunty in Lahore who recognised me and she cupped my face. She wanted to see if I was wearing any make-up. She came so close physically that I was like, “Ok, this is scary”. I didn’t know how to deal with it.
The last time you were really angry?
I was really angry when my foot broke. Later, when I realised my life is halted for a month, I was even angrier.
The most embarrassing moment?
When I was asked to host a show on 2005 earthquake and I was not prepared for it. I didn’t know anything and I was so upset that they asked me to do a current affair live show and I didn’t have any knowledge [about the topic].
If you were not an actress, what would you be doing?
If you could change something about your personality, what would it be?
I’d want to be more courageous.
You wish you never have to?
I wish I never have to lie.
Fool proof way to win your heart?
[Give me] chocolate.
Who is adventurous.
You can’t live without?
You would never forgive?
Actually at my age I’ve learned to forgive.
Name one person closest to your heart?
My brother, Suleman.
You get most emotional when?
When I listen to good music.
The secret to luscious skin and locks?
Well, I’d say it’s genetic.
Your workout regime?
I do a good, proper workout. I go to the gym. I do yoga. I enjoy working out. It is part of my life.
Have you ever had your heart broken?
Every day! Look, you have a heart and it’s meant to be broken. There are so many things that can affect you. Jesay aap subah uthtay hain, raat
ap waisey sotay nahi hain, so you know little things matter, and they should matter.
How do you relax after a tiring day?
I eat food if possible and then I go for a light walk at night, that relaxes me.
Three things you can’t leave home without?
Water bottle, house keys and phone.
What makes you impatient?
What are the most important things you have learned so far in life?
Forgiveness, kindness and I’d say being brave.
You are addicted to?
Any language you know other than English and Urdu?
This is one thing I am planning to learn this year, a foreign language.
Are you a reader?
Yes, I read a lot.
Photography: Arshad Javed
Hair & make-up: Hima Raza @Mirrors Salon
Coordination & Styling: Thomas Fernandes
Location: Bars Home by Bina Asim
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