A supermodel, stunning actress and winner of numerous prestigious awards (including the “Best Actress Award” at LSA), Iman Ali needs no introduction. She is one of the few genuine gems of our industry, and is as beautiful inside as she is outside. 
Despite having the rare power of saying “no”, many can vouch for her humility and compassion, and how it is an integral part of her personality. Without any shroud of “super stardom”, Iman Ali gives Cherry Cross a rare insight to her career, life and the choices she made.

Why is Iman Ali such a private person?
Well, that is a question we need to ask God, shouldn’t we? [Laughs]…That’s just the way I am; I am not a private person, I just don’t believe in superficialities of the world.

A project that you thoroughly enjoyed?
It would have to be my movie “Khuda ke liye”.

Your movie had a worldwide realize. It got accolades from critiques and movie lovers alike. How do you feel about becoming a world-wide star?
I don’t think I am or it made me a star, but I am happy that the movie got the recognition. And it’s not entirely because of me. I am happy that the movie helped put Pakistan on the cinematic map and portray a softer image of our country.

How was your experience working with Shaan and Fawad?
I did not work much with Shaan. We just had one scene. As for Fawad and I, we were both new, amateur people working together, and it was a lot of fun. We could relate to each other and had a lot of fun learning things together.

Would you be doing more films in the future?
Yes, I would if good films are offered to me in the future.

Do you plan to go under an Indian banner, any time soon?
Let see. If they come to me, and I really like the script, I definitely will.

Three things that you love and hate about our industry?
I don’t believe in industry, I believe in individuals.

If you were an element of nature what would you be- Earth, Fire, Wind, or Water?
Each one of them. I think as a human being, we have all the elements in us. But we enhance one, and ignore the others. But primarily, we have all the elements.

As a celebrity, there are a million controversies you are subjected to. How do you deal with them?
Just the way any human being would if they heard something funny or absolutely bizarre about themselves. They will be bothered about it for a while but then move on. I cannot let it influence my career or the choices I make. But it would be really nice if people could relate to the media industry and be more compassionate. We, in the industry, have feelings and issues as well, and go through all sorts of emotional turbulence like other people do. And we really don’t need extra stress to deal with.

I don’t fuss about it too much – I know it’s a part of the package and try to live with it.

Are you a spontaneous person or a meticulously planned woman?
That I would have to think about. It actually depends on the situation, really. I am more of a spontaneous person as I do not generally plan ahead in life. But at the same time, if I have to, let’s say travel, then I would make sure everything is in place and under control.

You know, no one knows themselves too well. The more time you take out to get to get to know yourself, the more you find out and it’s an on-going process. But if you say you know who you exactly are, you cannot evolve. I am not ‘take it or leave it’ person, or this kind or that kind of person, for I believe in evolving and improving.

Do you think bluntness and originality go hand in hand?
No. you can be very truthful without hurting anyone and that I believe is the right thing to do. You should try not to hurt anyone by your bluntness or honesty. And I don’t mean that you sugar coat it but be as considerate as possible. I used to be blunt (and that is why I said one must evolve with time) and at times that used to come out as rude. I have realized that it was wrong; you can be honest without being rude and blunt. You can put your message across without hurting another’s feelings.

Have you been lucky in terms of friends?
Extremely! That’s one thing I am good at – I am a good friend.

Tell me how do you plan to pick your roles in the future?
I was always picky in choosing roles. I had a lot of offers but I chose “Khuda Ke Liye” to be my first film. In fact there was a film offered to me titled “Iman Ali” but I turned that down. I haven’t put boundaries on my talent, and am open to challenges.

What is the one lasting impression you want to leave on your audience?
I think I want to be remembered as a compassionate person, someone who cared.

One philanthropic cause that you are very passionate about?
I really can’t choose because there are so many things! I especially care about gender issues but there are so many other things. I think we need to do a lot for humanity. But honestly, I can just not pick one or say this is more important than that.

Imagine that one morning you wake up and find out you are the President of Pakistan? How would you react to it?
I do not know how I would react because honestly I do not want to be in that situation ever. No matter how nice a person you are, somehow it corrupts and changes you.


But, if I were the President, I would try to get our younger generation to work for the betterment of their future and country. I would probably try to understand why people vote for a particular person, what are they thinking, what do they consider before voting. Is it only because they were provided with one square meal before elections and promises of many to come if they vote for a particular party? Or was it by force? How do they decide? Because somehow we always make a mistake. We want to over-throw the present government and replace it with a new one. When the new government comes to power, we realize they aren’t any better, so we again go through the same process. So if I was the President, I would definitely begin with educating people about voting and how should they go about.

Are you a spiritual person?
I like to think I am. I think God loves me a lot, so whenever I am stuck or about to do something wrong, I always get some indication from the One above.

Which one was your best Lux Style Award?
None. Or I think the second one, because it was directed by a Pakistani director and also because we had an older generation of celebrities, ones who really created and built this industry.

Your message for our readers?

Please respect celebrities. Not all are bad and like everyone else, they work hard to earn their bread and better. Also, I am not rude; I just don’t butter people up. If you respect me, I will respect you all the more but if you don’t respect me but expect me to just because you’re “something”, forget it.
Published in Sensation Magazine – December 2009