IN CONVERSATION WITH PRODUCTION POWER COUPLE MARIYAM NAFEES & AMAAN AHMED
All the world’s a stage for Pakistani media’s power couple Mariyam Nafees and Amaan Ahmed, who announced their engagement in May 2021. While Nafees is praised for balancing her varied roles as an actor, model, producer, theatric, and activist, Ahmed is applauded for revolutionising the local visual arts industry with his film and production house, 'Uncut Studios'.
Recently, however, the two emerged as a production power couple working side-by-side at 'Uncut'. Parallelizing their partnership as 'Harley Quinn to 'Joker', 'Bonnie to Clyde', 'Scully to Mulder', they’ve publicized their eagerness to chase art together. To the outside world, they are living the dream and so this exclusive HELLO! interview questions this dynamic duo on their dreams, shared and individual, and their two cents to those who dream the way they do. Join us as this duo teaches us to dream.
Hello Mariyam! Recently, you recommended ‘let’s start living the dream.’ What is your dream to begin with?
Rather one of the dreams – to live a creative life, full of ideas and being able to execute them. To explore my creative side. To show the people of our country that there’s more to entertainment than just damsels in distress. To show the world what Pakistanis are capable of and most importantly to have creative independence, to be able to experiment.
‘I had my fair share of struggles but God has been very kind. I’m thankful for those struggles as they taught me so much and made me who I am today’ - Mariyam
You’ve also opened up about actresses, like yourself, who are hurt by harassment daily. How do you suggest women in Pakistan’s entertainment industry live up to their dreams, despite this?
With a bad-a** attitude, chin up at all times. By acknowledging it’s not us, it’s them and here I’d also like to give credit to my amazing support system. My family, my fiancé, my friends. If and when you put your mind to it then you can achieve the unachievable.
Do you think being in a relationship has influenced your dream? And what’s it been like starting your production journey with Amaan?
If you know me then you know having a production house of my own was always a dream. Seeing Amaan so passionate about his work definitely made me want to make it happen sooner than soon. I love working with him, the ideas, t h e d i s c u s s i o n s a n d m o s t importantly the work and decision making space he gives me feels great. Couldn’t have asked for a better beginning.
Now let’s dig into the dreams: who would you credit for creating them into reality?
My Amma and family for the everlasting support. And now I add my fiancé to the list because he truly tries to turn my dreams into reality.
A lot of people praise you as an overnight success, did it really happen overnight?
(Laughs) Not at all! I had my fair share of struggles but God has been very kind. I’m thankful for those struggles as they taught me so much and made me who I am today.
‘You will continue to see Mariyam Nafees as an actor, model, activist and now as a producer. I’m blessed to have a guy who understands my work, my passions and supports me in everything I want to do’ - Mariyam
How would you describe your reality: your work-life balance and what are some go-to stress coping mechanisms you recommend?
I’m a workaholic but I also thoroughly enjoy my time off and for that I fly to my city as soon as I get a chance. Spending time with my people and volunteering for causes is the best stress coping mechanism for me.
Lastly, what’s to come for Mariyam Nafees, in terms of work and wifehood? Are we to see Mariyam the producer only or will Mariyam the actor remains shooting for the stars?
You will continue to see Mariyam Nafees as an actor, model, activist and now as a producer. I’m blessed to have a guy who understands my work, my passions and supports me in everything I want to do. There are never any complaints from his side so I’ll just keep on working and vacationing.
Hello Amaan! Let’s start off with your dream. What is it and was it always what it is?
My dream has always been to be a filmmaker who travels extensively to chase art. I’m blessed to live my dream as I envisioned when I started my career. Initially, it was just inclined towards music videos inspired by the MTV era but over the years it has expanded into much more; storytelling and exploring different mediums of filmmaking.
‘According to me, a man who is threatened by his partner’s success and doesn’t support her individuality is an insecure man. She doesn’t need ‘the permission’. It’s her right to choose whether she wants to carve her career or be a homemaker’ - Amaan
How does it feel to be sharing your dream with your ‘partner in crime’: Mariyam?
It’s refreshing to see somebody as passionate as myself, sharing the same dreams. Even though 'Uncut Studios' has a team, it always felt lonely at the top. Mariyam joining means I tackle the creative end and her handling everything else required to run a company. Perfect combo!
As such, what are your two-cents to partners disliking their wife or fiance’s successes and reckon they should home-make post marriage?
According to me, a man who is threatened by his partner’s success and doesn’t support her individuality is an insecure man. She doesn’t need ‘ the permission’. It’s her right to choose whether she wants to car ve her career or be a homemaker.
With you and Mariyam now working together rather closely, h o w d o y o u e n s u r e professionalism despite being a couple?
It’s a two-way street, we both respect our professional boundaries.
How would you describe your current work-life balance: what goes behind the scenes of producing and filmmaking?
To be honest, for me the lines have always been blurred and that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. I often tell my friends: ‘for you watching a movie is entertainment b u t f o r m e i t ’ s b o t h - entertainment and work’.
For me, everything is part of my creative process. Be it travelling, watching movies, attending concerts etc. Also, let’s not forget the extensive hours of research and execution. There’s nothing more satisfying than doing what you love.
As such, what are your two cents to those aspiring or struggling to pursue such visual arts?
Well, let’s not kid ourselves, it’s a mad-hyper world. Being an artist makes us a little more sensitive than others but you can’t forget the business side of it. Keep hustling, keep creating and following your dreams.
Lastly, what’s to come for Amaan Ahmed, be it terms of production or showbiz in general?
The plan is to expand the business and the art. We’re working on some really cool concepts and soon will be venturing into web-series, short films and feature films.
NTERVIEW: REHAM ASLAM
PHOTOGRAPHY: SHAHBAZ SHAZI
STYLING (MARIYAM) : MAVI KAYANI
HAIR & MAKEUP: NABILA’S
- Tags: mariyam nafees