The star discussed her passion for sharing mental health content and offered advice for aspiring actors

Hania Aamir fans will be used to the actor’s radiant smile beaming at them from her Instagram posts dishing out advice about mental health. Sitting down with the International Desk , Hania, dressed casually in a sweatshirt, discussed her commitment to making a difference, her foray into Netflix, and her battles with makeup artists fixated on hair extensions.

The most important thing to Hania is to use her fame in a way that has a lasting impact. Having long been a champion of mental health, Hania has been openly vulnerable on social media, paving the way for her followers to look inward.

“I post openly about mental health so that other people don’t have to go through it,” said Hania in earnest. “People should know that remedies that are out there. Mental health has been such a taboo for such a long time, but slowly that is changing.”

For Hania, knowing that she is making a difference and spreading joy is what keeps her going. “I get scared of the fame I have,” she confessed. Exposing a layer of introspection, the actor added, “When I meet God, what am I going to tell Him? That I posted pretty pictures and made a lot of money? It doesn’t sit well with me. All I want is to have a positive impact and make people laugh. That’s it.”

Pressures of Netflix

The one thing Hania refused to divulge anything about was details of her upcoming Netflix project Jo Bachay Hain Sang Samait Lo. Based on the novel of the same name, the stellar cast includes industry heavyweights Fawad Khan, Sanam Saeed, Mahira Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Iqra Aziz, Khushal Khan, and, of course, Hania. With such an eclectic cast performing before millions of viewers, the pressure is acute.

“It’s crazy,” said Hania. “Khushal and I feel it the most because we’re the youngest. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We just hope that it’s good!”

With 13 million avid followers on Instagram, Hania is no stranger to stardom, having even attracted love from across the border in India. The opportunity to take part in a venture with such massive global appeal, however, is a whole new ballgame.

“Honestly my first reaction was ‘What?’ and “What am I doing in it?’” said the Mere Humsafar star. Wearing a cryptic smile and refusing to give anything else away, the only breadcrumb Hania gave was that the offering will be “slightly different from the novel.”

“It’s exciting, and it’s a huge deal for me to be working with such great actors,” said Hania. “I’m just grateful that Pakistan is having its first Netflix series! You just need to be true to your character and do your job. The more you stress about it, the more underwhelming your performance will be.”

 

Advice to actors 

Staying true to a role and a character is a motto Hania has stuck to throughout her career and advised would-be actors to do the same. “It doesn’t matter if you’re onscreen for five minutes, if you like what you’re doing and it will be impactful, you should do it,” she urged. “Being honest with your craft really helps.”

When taking on a part, all Hania wants is a “good script, a good role” – but it happens far less than she would like. “We don’t experiment with women’s characters much,” she lamented. “Writers, hello! Please!”

According to Hania, what is sorely lacking from Pakistani television is a successful woman character who isn’t villainised. “It would be interesting to watch a nice person (woman) who works!” said Hania, and added, “with short hair!”

The problem of being allowed to wear her hair short has plagued Hania ever since she joined the industry at age 18. “I think the short hair problem is everywhere – not just in Pakistan,” she noted. “I’ve barely seen anyone with short hair in Bollywood. Long hair is associated with a heroine, and it’s not okay.”

Illustrating the problem, Hania revealed that when she is at a fashion shoot, the dreaded hair extensions often make an appearance. “I now push when I go to fashion shoots, and they eventually give in,” she said with a measure of pride. “I would not want any other girl with short hair who comes after me to have to put up with hair extensions every time. We are talking about pushing back against decades’ worth of work. We have a long way to go.”

As well as not having to wage battle for their hair, Hania added that being pretty shouldn’t be the only thing young women actors are admired for and that they should be able to sustain a friendship with their colleagues.

“Everyone should be able to say no to characters that are just eye-candy,” she maintained. “And I just want to say that you can openly be friends with your colleagues. Yes, you are often competing for the same part, but it’s not impossible. I have a lot of friends in the industry and I have a great time with them. It’s easier to be friends with people who have the same job as you.”

The everlasting Badshah rumours 

One particular friendship that has sent Hania’s fans into a frenzy has been her friendship with Indian rapper Badshah. Headlines were made when the pair were spotted together in Dubai on the heels of a smattering of comments the latter had left on Hania’s social media.

“He is just a friend,” insisted Hania. “If I’m feeling low, he’ll leave me a message on Instagram asking how I’m doing. That’s it! You know, I think all these rumours would be avoided if I was married!”

As with anyone in the public eye, the rumours will continue to fly – but in Hania’s own words, she is immune to unwanted comments online. Following the advice she gives her fans, the actor philosophically noted, “Be it positive or negative, one should never let someone else decide what they are all about.”

With her armour firmly strapped on and her career climbing ever higher, Hania’s fans can sit back and eagerly await what is next on the horizon.

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