KARACHI: Pakistani starlet Aamina Sheikh is one showbiz player who has dominated modeling, stage, television and cinema in her country. Born in New York and a graduate in film video production from Hampshire College (Amherst, Massachusetts), she is currently rated as the most talked about star in Pakistan’s showbiz, and has left behind many, in a very short span of time. She is known for her commitments and discipline towards work and enjoys a huge fan following. While talking exclusively to The Eastern Tribune, Aamina Shaikh has vowed to start her global showbiz journey.
The Eastern Tribune: If I recall correctly, you started off on TV with a very light 30-episodes sitcom on Hum Television. It was one of your earliest and less known shows. Why have you not delve into that genre more? Do you think you are not good at comedy?
Aamina Sheikh: ‘Minglish’ was the name of that sitcom. It was my first TV gig and was a lot of fun to do. I did do another light hearted serial by the name of ‘Hum Tum’ which was quite well received. In Pakistan, the drama genre is more popular and gets the highest viewership and fortunately that was the genre from which i got almost all of my offers and opportunities. I would love to do lighter and more comedic projects in the future too.
The Eastern Tribune: Let’s talk about Mohib Mirza. Being an exceptional actor himself, does Mohib Mirza criticize your work? Do you criticize his work and help each other in improving?
Aamina Sheikh: We are very much involved in each other’s work and take time out to give each other honest and critical feedback. As an individual, I consider it a strength and an immense blessing.
The Eastern Tribune: With you and Mohib belonging to the same industry, does it become difficult to manage your relationship with such hectic schedules?
Aamina Sheikh: I think it becomes easier, mainly because we understand the pressures, the expectations, the nuances, the levels of hard work, stresses and the kind of time commitments this field requires. By knowing and experiencing it first hand, one is more sensitive and understanding of another in the same field.
The Eastern Tribune: Any plans of going behind the camera again? Do you have no inclination left for direction?
Aamina Sheikh: Not as yet. Being an actor is an all-encompassing career in itself at the moment. I don’t feel the inclination as yet but one never knows where inspiration may lead. So, its good to keep open to possibilities and see where life takes you.
The Eastern Tribune: How does it feel being associated with Lux? And knowing that you may be the ‘dusky’ heroin to be a part of it?
Aamina Sheikh: Being the face and the ambassador of Lux is an honor and has been a fantastic journey. It is the No. 1 Beauty Brand in South Asia and has been one of the most active brands in supporting fashion and entertainment in Pakistan. Therefore, to be acknowledged by them and be recognized as someone who they believe represents their attributes is indeed an honor. We have had many iconic dusky beauties as Lux girls in history, not just in Pakistan but worldwide!
The Eastern Tribune: There was a time when we could not switch a Pakistani television channel without seeing Aamina Sheikh in it. But now we don’t see you in TV serials quite often. Why is that? Are you moving on to bigger and better things?
Aamina Sheikh: Well, recently I’ve had more film releases with Armaan, Seedlings, Josh and now the upcoming Operation 021. This takes up as much time as it does to make a serial. However, Insha Allah in the near future you will be seeing some exciting work on TV too!
The Eastern Tribune: What is next for Aamina Sheikh? Future plans, professional or personal?
Aamina Sheikh: Career wise I just hope to keep myself encompassing challenges and evolving as an actor. I hope to continue working in Pakistan and also work globally as an international actor.
The Eastern Tribune: Was it your first preference to work for the industry?
Aamina Sheikh: Yes. Once I decided on this career path, it was my first and natural choice.
The Eastern Tribune: As you’ve been taken different roles in the entertainment industry, which one do you think is best suitable for you? and which one is the most successful one?
Aamina Sheikh: I think one can be successful in any career provided you put in the dedicated time, hard-work, sincerity, focus and develop one’s skill, talent and practice towards that particular field. For me, I passionately pursued acting and all that comes with it and it is something I wholeheartedly enjoy giving my self, energy and time to.
The Eastern Tribune: Is it easy to switch roles? From modeling, dancing to dramas and now to movies?
Aamina Sheikh: One gets the time to study one’s role and put in the prep during pre-production, therefore, it is a process to switch from one to the other as each role and medium requires different skill set or a different palette of emotions. It is, however, easier to do so when one is in constant practice of performing and switching according to the requirements.
The Eastern Tribune: How was your experience to reach out to the international market, specially at the New York film festival?
Aamina Sheikh: It was excellent. It was perhaps the first time that I realized the impact our Pakistani work had made out there in the US. We realized in person how huge the drama-following is because of which our fan following truly went global. It is because of this that all screenings of Lamha/Seedlings in NY were house-fulls and the festival felt obligated to do an extra screening, and to their delight that too was a house-full. So yes witnessing this international fan power truly was a very humbling experience.
The Eastern Tribune: When did you suffer the most while working for the industry?
Aamina Sheikh: It’s been a very healthy and progressive journey so far. The path to every goal has its own struggles and challenges, which is what makes us feel alive and makes achieving the goal even more fruitful.
The Eastern Tribune: You’ve recently been very actively advocating against breast cancer with your brother and with Shaukat Khanam Memorial Hospital? Can you shed more details on your social responsibility factor?
Aamina Sheikh: I had aligned with Shaukat Khannum to endorse their breast cancer awareness initiative and at the same time, as a personal contribution towards the cause, I launched a smartphone app named ‘YouMatter.’ It is an app that will continue to grow and be a resource for all girls, women and men out there who want to acquaint themselves with breast cancer, its facts and its preventive measures.
Around the same time, my brother Reehan Sheikh was running the NYC Marathon and he decided to use his run for a home-based cause. Therefore, he launched a fundraising campaign for cancer patients at Shaukat Khannum. It all tied together very effectively and re-enforced the responsibility each of us have towards helping mankind and giving back to society.
The Eastern Tribune: Are you tech savvy? How do you interact with fans on Twitter, Facebook, email or chat? Does that provide you useful insight about your career progress?
Aamina Sheikh: I like to think I am (with a smile!). Yes, social media is a daily dose of love, energy, feedback and motivation for us and does wonders to connect us to those that follow and watch our work with utmost interest and passion. I consider it a blessing.
If you would like to get in touch with Aamina Sheikh, following is all what you need to know!