Jenaan Hussain - On strong characterisation, eating disorders and stereotypical notions of beauty

Jenaan Hussain is a terrific actor and someone who has always believed in defying the age old beauty standards and making her mark through her powerful performances by being an actress with a personality than a hollow size zero or the “gora” rang. She has proved her mettle in a surprisingly short time in an industry that sees new faces and talent every now and then. At a stage in life where every drama and movie choice she makes will count for making or breaking her career, Hussain tells us how she lives on the edge, does drastically different and strong roles and is happy in her skin. The pretty actor wants to carve her own path in an industry where conventional beauty means everything. In conversation with MAG, the skillful starlet shares about life in the fast lane and much more. Read on:

We’ve seen you prove your worth by juggling both positive and negative roles and excelling at both, but who is Jenaan Hussain in real life?

Honestly, whenever I am asked this question it’s hard to answer because when you are acting, you are that person at that time and that is your real life. I keep thinking about all those things and try to make my life in a way that can help in the progress. So, Jenaan in real life is also an artist, who works towards making herself better by going on a spiritual journey every now and then whenever it is needed. And by the spiritual journey, I mean to try and find more and more about myself, my God and the talents I have been given, acting, singing, painting, and most of all, about being a good human.

How did your path into the world of acting pave itself?

Basically, I always wanted to be an actor and honestly, things just happened for me. Allah has made ways for me throughout, first theaters then dramas and the journey goes on. So, things made their own flow in my life.

As an actor, what do you think are some changes that the drama industry could use?

The drama industry can use a lot of changes. But I won’t blame the industry entirely as the responsibility goes on to the masses, the viewers as well. What do they want to watch and our industry goes forward with those ratings only and they cast accordingly, but what we can do is slowly change the narrative and get to the real potential of the actors and use them properly.

When you first stepped into the industry, did you notice any beauty standards that are alive and well in our industry and media? Do you agree with them?

Beauty standards, again, are dictated by the masses. Our people crave to watch their dream princess and Prince Charming only and their rule is set for the fair, slim, and tall, that’s it, and that the Prince Charming comes riding on the horse to save them but in reality, that’s not how it goes. That’s why the drama industry has set these standards. People like me that portray a strong woman’s character with wheatish skin and husky voice never fit into that princess criteria, not that I am complaining but it is what it is. So, if we talk about who should be blamed, it’s a lot of things not a single person.

What has been the worst and best thing about being a celebrity?

About being a celebrity, I don’t find anything worst. In fact, I think things have been best till now because of the amount of love and prayers I get but yes, privacy is what gets disturbed, that is a con but again, pros are there too.

What type of projects and roles will you be pursuing in the future?

The types of roles I want to pursue are strong characters. I always look for a girl in the story who’s making the difference, who is portraying some other person every other time. Like the character of Mohini that I played in Raaz-e-Ulfat was completely different than the character of Nagina which is my upcoming character in Neeli Zinda Hai. So, strong characters are what I look for.

What would you recommend to the aspiring actors or newcomers in the entertainment industry to help them thrive and not burn out?

I would say, just stay passionate and consistent, keep reminding yourself of your vision and never let the arrogance factor hit you. That’s all you need to work things out.

Actors are people of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring good to a huge number of people, what would that be?

I think about a lot of movements that I can inspire but recently, I myself have been struggling with eating disorders which I have seen a lot of people suffer from, but either they don't know or they hide it away. But it affects them so much. So, I want to bring awareness about mental health and eating disorders.

Last month you revealed your look from your upcoming project Neeli Zinda Hai which was pretty intriguing. Tell us something about your character from the drama. What should we be expecting from it?

About my upcoming drama Neeli Zinda Hai, the character of Nagina is going to be something that you have never seen me do before. As everyone knows I am a character artist, I try and try so hard to bring up something new every time and honestly, this role is new for me as well. So, you’ll get to watch an extremely new and mysterious character this time.

Lastly, what lies ahead of you?

So, what lies ahead of me is basically, a lot of singing, acting projects, painting projects, and most of all, my spiritual journey, my yoga, and my meditation. Travelling is on the list once everything opens up.

• Coordination: Umer Mushtaq
• Hair and Makeup: Angie’s Salon
• Designer: Attire By Bushra Wahid
• Photography: Yellow Jacket By Zeeshan Ahmed