The Woman Behind the Supermodel - Mehreen Syed
"I like to think that i am a very strong woman who knows what she wants"
The supermodel, Mehreen Syed poses for Ather Shahzad and speaks to Hello! in her most candid interview to date, opening up about her family, career, the fashion world, her marriage and a lot more!
"I had a totally normal childhood; my father died when I was four years old. My mother became a lawyer after his death to support our family. We’re four sisters and one brother. I studied home economics in college. I met Ather Shahzad when I was in college – I was sixteen years old at the time. I asked them that I wanted to work in the fashion industry. They insisted that I should focus on my studies and work will still be there. I was always a very studious student and used to work while I was in college to support my family. When I shared my intention of working in the fashion industry with my family, they were highly against it because of the image of the field– it took me a really long time to convince them. I was blessed that Ather Shahzad mentored me and I met the right people who have become really close friends of mine through the years."
The making of Mehreen, the supermodel
"Over a decade, Mehreen has come a long way in her career and has rightfully earned the spot of a true supermodel with her grace, beauty and poise, not to mention the tremendous amount of hard work she puts into everything she does. She shares some of the most important milestones of her career, “Indigo Face of the Year in 2010 was something that gave me a lot of recognition. Being L’Oréal Paris’ spokesperson is another amazing milestone – it is my fifth year with them and I have never experienced anything else like it. I love my work and I love the care, support and respect that L’Oréal lends to me. Another major highlight of my career is the regular fashion weeks that are now happening."
Mehreen has a true passion for her work and gives her fullest to everything she does. She says:
"I am very dedicated and hardworking – my mother has always been the greatest inspiration to me. She is my role model because of the way she worked hard after my father’s death to support us. That is where my drive and passion come from – I always wanted to do something for my mother."
"Initially, people didn’t like me much, there were many who barely knew who I was. Now, there’s so much more exposure and one gains a lot of recognition. It is my firm belief that God gives you respect, but your hard work has a lot to do with it."
"There are a number of people who have supported me throughout my career. Ather Shahzad are my true mentors and have always helped me grow. The credit for me being where I am today goes to them. They have supported a lot of girls and helped them become what they are today. I don’t think I would be where I am today without them. I’ve seen Ather and Shahzad working hard for years; I believe that our photographers don’t get the recognition and support they deserve. If Ather Shahzad had not been there, Mehreen Syed would not be what she is today."
"I have worked really hard to get where I am today. I take great care of myself – It is really important to love yourself and value your health. I think a healthy diet is all about will. For inner peace, I don’t let negatively affect me in any way; I always stay positive and do my best at whatever I do.”
On married life
“I am truly blessed to have such a great husband in Ahmed. He is always very supportive and appreciative of my work. My in-laws are also amazing and I am grateful for their eternal support. I think that the secret to my happy marriage (Mashallah) is that I respect my husband and he respects me – I consider respect to be the most important component of any relationship. I travel a lot with Ahmed and love it; I’ve developed a taste for different cuisines and enjoy our adventures together.”
“My adorable daughter, Aman is my life. People think that career ends when you have children, you have to give up your work. I balance my life – I love my work, but my family is my priority. I like to think that I am a very strong woman who knows what she wants – nothing lasts forever and one needs to invest in relationships to be happy and successful in life. God has given women a lot of inner strength; they just need to believe in themselves and their power. If you respect yourself, people will respect you.”
Mehreen is the founder of IFAP (International Fashion Academy Pakistan).
“When I started, there wasn’t and still isn’t a fashion academy for modelling in the country. While there were people who didn’t see any sense in me starting the academy, I got a lot of support from the fashion industry; Ather Shahzad were always there from the very beginning. Right now, many of the top models are graduates of the academy – so far, we’ve had 400 graduates. The academy is now affiliated with the Punjab Board – we’re offering women courses in make-up, skincare and hair. At present, my focus is to equip women with a skill set so that they can support their families. I supported my family for years when I was younger and it is my dream to enable females to do that for their families. With ‘I Care’, my objective is to teach make-up to girls and help them open small salons in their houses so that they can support their families.
‘If Ather Shahzad had not been there, I as Mehreen Syed would not be where I am today’
When asked about her plans for the upcoming years, Mehreen comments,
“I love my work and enjoy it a lot; I want to stick to it for years to come. I believe that it is natural for one to transition from modelling to acting – I have a few offers I am considering and will choose what I think is best. This industry has given so much to me; I want to do something for it in return. IFAP and ‘I Care’, an NGO I’ve just started, are my attempts at moving in that direction. My first priority is my family; I would rather do a few good projects than numerous mediocre ones, so my goal is to always look for good opportunities and do my best."
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