Abu Dhabi, Nov 17, 2013 (Agency)
All of 23, Amna Ilyas is tall, dusky and oozes the confidence that it takes to catwalk on the ramps of the nascent yet booming scene of Pakistan's fashion industry. Having tasted filmdom with "Zinda Bhaag", she is now hopeful of clinching more movie offers. From India? Why not?
"I am thinking of quitting modelling and focussing on acting," Amna told in an interview during the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
"A lot of films are being made in Pakistan right now and we are very happy about that. They are not big budget films, but small ones, which are nice. I currently have two scripts," said the actress, who plays the female lead in "Zinda Bhaag", the first movie that her nation has sent for Oscar consideration in the last 50 years.
"Zinda Bhaag", which is turning out to be a commercially profitable venture for producer Mazhar Zaidi and co-directors Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, is currently doing the rounds at film festivals.
After being showcased at the seventh Abu Dhabi Film Festival last month, it was screened at the Kolkata International Film Festival Saturday - and it is coming out to be a beacon of hope for Pakistan's film industry, which had collapsed around the 1990s.
Is she looking at offers from Bollywood?
"See... hopes are there from Hollywood as well, it will be great, but yes, India is close by and we look it as a big industry," said Amna.
Amna, who is yet to visit India, hopes to travel to the country's entertainment hub Mumbai to scout for work. She also wants to flaunt creations by Bollywood's beloved designer Manish Malhotra.
Karachi-based Amna walks and talks with the panache and boldness of a seasoned talent.
Well, seasoned she is! She has been at the top of Pakistan's fashion scene after she started her stint in modelling five years ago. She has worked with some of the top-rated designers of her country - couturiers like Umar Sayeed, Rizwan Beyg and Fahad Hussayn, to name a few.
Her family has been unusually supportive and "chilled out" in a community which is generally conservative - and Amna can't be more thankful about that. Things are changing now for many, says the beauty, whose elder sisters are former models.
"Being a model in Pakistan is great. Fashion is on a boom right now. We had our first fashion week in 2007 and since then, a series of fashion events are happening. A lot of new designers and models are coming up.
"Because of the fact that we have a bit of a conservative environment, a lot of girls were not able to do what they wanted to. But now things are changing in Pakistan and people are becoming more modern and upfront.
"They want to change - and by that I mean, they want to move with the world. So, there are now a lot of people like me who are getting a chance to work abroad and travel," said Amna.
By Radhika Bhirani