• Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Marriage happens in its own time: Anoushey Ashraf


Jan 8, 2024


In the ephemeral world of showbiz, where faces come and go, one name has lingered in the hearts of viewers for over two decades – Anoushey Ashraf. Gaining fame as one of the first VJs in Pakistan, Anoushey charmed many who grew up in the early 2000s as the face of MTV Pakistan.

Appearing as a guest on The Talk Talk Show on Express Entertainment with host Hassan Choudary, Anoushey delved into her journey of becoming a beloved VJ back when music channels were still a new and emerging phenomenon. “There were no music channels [before 2002]. When we got music channels, with them came video jockeys,” the celebrity discussed how the year ushered in an era of VJs.

Anoushey went on to recount the landscape that propelled her into fame. “There were no local music channels in Pakistan but from Hong Kong, we used to get MTV and Channel V broadcasts. They had a lot of VJs and we used to watch them,” she explained where she learned the craft.

She furthered on, “We used to follow billboards and foreign charts. At that time, India’s programming was also available to us.” Talking about MTV India specifically, Anoushey shared her early admiration for Indian VJs such as Cyrus and Nikhil, having met the latter on his show in India. Majorly, she credits hands-on experience for refining her hosting skills.

“Learning on the job, literally. No prior experience, never appeared in front of a camera before, nothing. But our channel’s CEO…he was like a teacher. Like the master professor who ensures you get a PhD,” Anoushey praised the man running the scene. “People keep saying that there is no film school here. Or there is no established writing school or one for content creation, I think he was an institution in himself.”

While the small screen has a firm propensity for depicting women whose lives revolve around marriage, Anoushey unveiled an uncommon experience with her father. Not only was the star encouraged to carry a job at 18 while finishing education, but she also grew up with a strong sense of purpose and direction. “My father is still very much like that. [He believes] you should be financially independent, have your work, and make a name for yourself. And, you know, there is no problem with that.”

Anoushey went on to say, “Marriage is a good thing but it happens in its own time, not sooner or later. It shouldn’t be a hurdle and it shouldn’t be such a necessity for a woman. It shouldn’t be such a necessity that your whole life depends on getting married at the right time and having a child at the right time.”

Addressing her wedding announcement from a few years ago, the celeb expressed relief that she did not proceed with the decision and insisted that such relationship troubles are commonplace. However, her hosting career did subject her to taunts from certain quarters of society. Anoushey shared how some people would audaciously tell her to not start acting. “I never did dramas but I always wanted to have that option. That should be my choice.”

“I think that nobody has taken an interest in my life more than my parents. They are the most concerned about my respect. So, if they have allowed it, then there are a few people who don’t think my profession is wrong. You might think so but then that’s your problem,” she continued. 

Elaborating on why acting never appealed to her despite her fellow VJs veering in that direction, Anoushey contrasted a Pakistani actor’s stardom with that of a sportsman, insisting upon the latter’s wider star power in the country. Nonetheless, the VJ is confident in her ability to act. “I can act. I mean, it can’t be that difficult considering the actors we see now,” she jested. 

Conversely, Anoushey admitted that her resistance to acting is also partly informed by her unfamiliarity with Pakistani dramas. From the recent television offerings, she confessed to watching and enjoying Parizaad but expressed disinterest in TV series in general, whether local or international productions.

Responding to an audience member’s query, Anoushey recounted her iconic encounter with Bollywood legend Salman Khan as part of a team from Pakistan visiting India for an interview. In an amusing turn of events, she recalled how Salman greeted the team without a shirt. “When people go to meet Salman Khan, they have usually seen him all their lives dancing shirtless on a beach,” she offered laughingly.

She continued, “And he was gymming and all ripped back then…He came out and he was like, which shirt should I wear? And I was like, these are the legends.” While the audience rejoiced at the anecdote, Anoushey’s following revelation underscored her quirky personality. After concluding the interview, the VJ scored an invite from Salman to a party at Bollywood’s bigwig director Subhash Ghai’s house.

Anoushey disclosed her comical response, sharing, “I was like, we can go but my sister said that we have to buy saris and we have a flight tomorrow morning. So we pondered over that, then excused ourselves by saying ‘Sorry, Sir, we have to buy some saris but we will definitely come next time.’”

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