It was by sheer chance that Sonya Hussyn got into acting. But once she did, the pretty girl, as they say, hasn’t looked back.
Born and raised in Karachi, she’s the eldest of her siblings. “I'm very close to my parents. My father is from Lucknow, so I'm not a typical Karachiitte and have learnt a lot about mannerism and delicacy from him,” says Sonya demurely.
“Growing up was a lot of fun. I was an absolute tomboy,” she adds. Hard to believe as Sonya has blossomed into a pretty young girl. “I was the most unconventional of girls you would ever meet. I would fight, take part in sports competitions, was so blunt and so much more that I shall cherish forever. Such glorious days that make me laugh whenever I go down the memory lane,” says she laughingly.
Not inclined towards acting at an early age, she did however participate in school dramatic activities. “Even though I never knew acting was my true calling, I did take part in several plays as a student and I was always very observant. I loved storytelling and was quite tuned in to my surroundings. I think that's an important aspect in an actor’s life to be observant and discerning about your environment as that helps in the development of your character in any project. So I guess that facet has always been there.”
Having done her BS in Physiology with Biology, Biochemistry and Zoology as her minors, Sonya is a physiologist by education. Acting was never on the cards for her. Rather she had always dreamt of becoming a pilot since childhood. However, man proposes, God disposes!
Her foray in showbusiness was quite accidental, as has been the case with many a celebrated actor. “I actually once went to a television presenters' audition with my friend where a director spotted me and offered me my first commercial.” That set the ball rolling and before we knew it, there was a new star on the horizon.
Sonya gives credit to Mohammad Ahmed “for my breakthrough completely. My first critical and successful serial was in fact my second project, Dareecha. People started recognising me at public places by the name of a character I was playing in that serial – Suraiya – and they literally started relating me to the character. But one thing's for sure, the script was written beautifully. Each dialogue was beautiful and extremely strong. I honestly had a fantastic experience and it truly paid off,” she says animatedly.
Hailing from an enlightened family Sonya did not have to face any resistance from her family. Rather they were super supportive of her all along. “My parents have always supported me in all my decisions. They are my strength. They're the most important beings in my life and I'm overly sensitive and protective towards them. They're more like friends and like every child in the world, I love them dearly,” says the doting daughter for whom her parents’ happiness is of utmost importance in life.
“I think it's really wrong when parents try to impose their decisions on their children. My parents trust me and have been by my side throughout. That way I feel I'm blessed.”
Sonya has featured in several serials and telefilms by now all of which she claims have been “amazing experiences. However, Nazo is a serial I did last year where I played the character of a special child. That is a subject really close to my heart,” she emphatically says.
The story of Nazo revolves around a mentally challenged girl and the lack of acceptance her parents show towards her. Nazo’s parents, Tabassum and Riaz (played by Atiqa Odho and Ahmed Ali) are perpetually at daggers drawn at the fact that they have no sons, only two daughters, Samra and Nazo. What adds to their frustration is the fact that Nazo is a helpless lass who needs constant care. One fine day after a heated argument the father leaves the house in a huff and unfortunately meets an accident resulting in his death. He leaves behind his wife and girls at the mercy of the world. In order to run the house the mother has to be out the whole day which results in the sisters bonding together. Samra, played by Zhalay Sarhadi, finds solace in her sister Nazo’s company and the two become inseparable.
Tabassum is at her wits ends and wants to send Nazo to a mental hospital. The play was extremely poignant and one couldn’t help empathise with Nazo.
Sonya’s portrayal of the mentally challenged Nazo is brilliant, to say the least. Not an easy character in any way, Sonya had a challenging time trying to perfect her character. And she sure did a good job. No wonder then, that she considers Nazo her favourite project to date.
Besides drama serials Sonya has also been busy with films. She hails from the lot who believe in delving in the various genres of art – anything that allows one to express oneself freely.
“I have now almost completed shooting for my second feature film. It's based on women empowerment and tackles an issue in Pakistan that is often brushed under the carpet. I cannot disclose much at this point in time. I play the character of a headstrong woman, and I've loved every part of being her. It will be out in the first half of the coming year. Apart from that, I'm reading a few scripts, but nothing is concrete as yet,” she says in detail about her celluloid activities.
Besides acting we have been seeing Sonya in various television commercials. Talking about modelling as a career, Sonya shares, “I never opted for modelling as a full-time profession. The campaigns or TVCs that I do are not as a fashion model, but as a celebrity or a brand ambassador. Similarly, if I walk the ramp, I'm the showstopper. Those are the perks you have when you're an actor. But jokes aside, I would really like to appreciate all those gorgeous models, because modelling is no piece of cake. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication. My true calling is and will always be acting.”
Sonia is absolutely happy with her lot at the moment. “I’m very content with the work that I'm doing currently. I tend to work less, but work in substantial projects and continuously try to improve myself as an actor first. I have no plans of becoming a director or producer at the moment. I believe that there needs to be some sort of knowledge or education for direction or filmmaking. If I ever do get into it, I would want to first either attend film school and thoroughly learn the craft, or at least be trained by the maestros of our cinema. I don't wish to be a jack of all trades and a master of none; I simply wish to master whatever I take up,” says the smart girl.
When asked to name her favourite co-star she thoughtfully shares, “Each and every one of my co-stars has been absolutely amazing. If I'm not comfortable with somebody, I excuse myself from the project before it goes on the floors. So far I've encountered really supportive people. However, I would really like to mention Fahad Mustafa, who made me feel at home on sets. He's got a fantastic sense of humour and working with him felt like I'm not working at all!”
This svelte girl is a fitness freak and believes in a healthy lifestyle. Her first and foremost aim is to lead a healthy life as she realises that health is wealth.
“Fitness to me is very important, my partner and I own a gym in Karachi and if I'm in town, I make sure I take out enough time every day to be there. It’s very important to keep yourself fit. Staying fit is not as easy as it seems to be; one needs to make an extra effort not only because it's good for health, but you start feeling good about your body as well. You need to have a healthy diet which means cutting down on fried or junk food, without rice or carbs. Which is again not that easy especially for a foodie like me,” she laughingly adds.
“I think dance is also a very effective means of staying fit. Another important thing is to make sure that we drink lots of water throughout the day,” she elaborates.
Talking about her beauty routine she says, “As far as my beauty regime is concerned, I just try to keep everything simple. Cleanse my face at least twice a day. I also believe too many products can be extremely harmful for your skin, so it's essential to firstly, buy from reliable brands, and secondly, have lots of intake of water throughout the day,” says the actor.
People who generally think that actors’ lives are all about work and parties will get this; it’s really quite the opposite or at least it is for Sonya. She’s definitely not a party animal; she’s also not a very social person and prefers to spend time resting and relaxing. “I'm not very social. Or probably I remain too sleepy all the time,” she mirthfully reveals.
Although everything about Sonya’s life seems picture perfect she has had her fair share of ups and downs. “Like every chapter in our lives, my career has indeed been a bumpy ride. I've been through emotional and professional ups and downs. And that doesn't only happen in showbusiness… I bet if I were a pilot, I would have faced similar situations there as well. Yes, I have had experiences that I do not wish to speak about, but one thing's for sure – I have learnt from each one of them!”
The best thing about this girl is that no matter what, she stays positive. “Not everything goes according to how it was planned, but that's when God tests our patience. Success only comes to those who wait and devote themselves selflessly to their craft and profession. Hence, no matter what, I always have an optimistic energy about everything – you never know how long you may live, so it's important to make the most out of every second.”
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