Thursday chronicles with Zara Zaman Khan, an interior decorator by day, a stand up comedian and entrepreneur mentor helping startups on bootstrapping in her free time!
Read on as we speak to her about her unconventional career and unconventional sense of style.
Tell us what all you do?
By day I am a left field interior designer known for my unconventional design style. I like getting my hands dirty and don’t mind getting actively involved in construction work, I love power tools. By night I raise awareness on gender issues through stand-up comedy, performing in different collectives like insolent knights and Bhainhood. In between, I am working on convening artists and musicians from across Pakistan and MC-ing their shows with authenticity and a splash of comedy. When I’m not working I’m always travelling, anywhere and everywhere. It’s my way of life. I value my independence above all!
Throughout my projects, there has been a common thread of creativity, sustainability and raising the rights and voices of women in public forums to call out hypocrisy in our society.I also regularly mentor start-ups with spaces like national incubation center to help young entrepreneurs find their footing.
How difficult was it to pick these unconventional career choices?
Early on I realized that to pursue my passions with creativity and commitment, I had to break down the conditioning that success means the stability of a 9 to 5 job. This has been the key to my ability to juggle my many projects, passions and hobbies. I set my own schedule. Which means I give my mind the freedom and space to work in my own way and avoid the creative blocks that come from pushing yourself to a place/on a timeline where you lose your passion.
You also seem to have unconventional sense of style; how did that evolve?
I would say that my sense of style mirrors my approach to life: always challenge social norms and conventions. I find that fashion is a powerful canvas for self-expression and activism. I love to mix color’s, prints and styles, wearing traditional and indigenous pieces in ways that are distinctly modern and unorthodox. Gender stereotypes for dressing (which are so entrenched in this sub-continent) have never constrained my style.
I have a passion for traditional jewelry and uncut gemstones. I have always felt entitled to dress as I want because when I see nature and its creatures express themselves with such unapologetic vibrancy, I see no reason why human beings should be devoid of the same privilege.