A profile of Pakistani TV host, model and actress Juggun Kazim published in the Daily Times Sunday magazine
Newly wed Juggun Kazim shares her thoughts on marriage, celebrity and motherhood.
|Juggun Kazim Make-up and Photography by Maram Abaroo|
The bubbly and vivacious Juggun Kazim has been in the public eye for a long time. Her acting career includes films, music videos and TV serials. Despite her petite stature, she’s carved out a career as a model. She’s currently a hugely popular talk-show host on PTV and spokesperson for L’Oreal Garnier skincare. Her recent glamorous wedding to lawyer Faisal Naqvi was all over the papers. Yet, Juggun has led a far from charmed life and she has always been very open about the trials and tribulations she has faced. From her father’s murder to her weight issues and struggles with bulimia, Juggun has not shied away from discussing traumatic periods of her life.
“When you work in the media, you somehow become public property. If your fans know the good, I feel they have a right to know the bad. Also people sometimes assume that you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and that you have not faced any difficulties. But everyone has problems, and I feel that by sharing mine people will understand that just like them, I’ve had my share of tough breaks.”
It takes chutzpah to out yourself out there in that way, to be so real about the good and bad you have faced in life without either glamourizing or milking your problems for sympathy.
Juggun is now, however, in a good place. She’s newly married and she can’t praise her new husband Feisal Naqvi enough. She talks of his kindness and of how comfortable she feels with him. She says she probably fell for his intellect first but it was his affectionate personality that sealed the romance. She’s dismissive of the way romance is portrayed in movies, claiming that it doesn’t really exist. For Juggun, romance is the way Feisal will invariably drop a kiss on her head whenever they meet or the way he’ll sit through The Bling Ring because she wants to watch it, even though he’d rather be reading. She talks with enthusiasm about their honeymoon in Vienna, Florence and London and about how his steadiness balances her exuberance. Juggun is no usual starry-eyed newly-wed though,
|Juggan with hubby Feisal Naqvi|
“Since I’ve been married before, I know what a bad marriage looks like and appreciate what I have now even more. The important thing in a marriage is being with the right person – someone who understands you and is compassionate about the choices you have made and are going to make.
Like all newlyweds we went through the process of learning to share our space but Feisal and I know how to support each other. We are mindful of each other’s commitment to our careers and of each other’s priorities. For example, Feisal knows that the single biggest priority of my life is my seven-year old son Hamza. He is supportive of my busy career, backing me up by being there for Hamza when I need to work. Thanks to him, I’ve finally found time to exercise so I can lose weight. Previously, exercise always took a back seat but now with a stable home environment for my son, I have had time to give to myself. I’ve always had a lot of support from my family, but a sympathetic spouse makes a world of difference.”
Juggun has displayed great courage in moving on from the physical abuse of her first marriage and in bringing up her son as a single parent. What’s clear is that she hasn’t settled for second best or married for the sake of marrying. She’s married because she feels she has found the right person. With her husband’s support, Juggun is also looking to expand her acting career. She wants to consider different, challenging roles and is excited by the fledgling renaissance in the Pakistani film industry.
She’s been criticized in the past for some of the roles she has chosen to do in Canadian and Pashto films. She replies that she learnt early on in her career to separate a character from herself. Just because a character does something on film that doesn’t mean it’s something Juggun would do or endorse. Juggun’s take is that we watch all sorts of stuff on the screen – it’s obvious some actor has to play those roles. She isn’t interested in audacious parts purely for shock value or for the sake of publicity – she isn’t a starlet looking for her big break. However, she’s not averse to daring and controversial scenes, as long as the project is interesting and the part worth playing. It’s a position any professional actress who takes her art seriously would take.
Juggun is very clear that a lot of her life and career choices since the birth of her son have been shaped around his needs. She describes him as her first priority and she has at times discarded opportunities that would have impacted on her ability to give him quality time. When asked how motherhood as changed her as her son has grown, Juggun replies,
“Before having Hamza I was very carefree and had less thought for the consequences of my actions. I’ve become much more responsible. I think now about saving and college fees, I think about what my actions are teaching my child.
I’ve become more aware of my roots and my heritage and am more patriotic. No matter where we, or our children go, we will always be Pakistani. We should have pride in our country and make more of an effort to make our country a better place for future generations.”
On a lighter note, Juggun says that her son has taught her to get less upset about small things. Whereas she may not have listened to similar advice from anyone else, her six year old has taught her how to not to sweat the small stuff. While he is a typically naughty seven year old, Juggun says he is both intelligent and emotionally mature.
“For example sometimes in public he will notice when I’m uncomfortable and will start talking to me to distract me.”
|Motherhood plays a pivotal role in Juggun’s life|
For his part Hamza enjoys the limelight that comes with being a celebrity child. Since Juggun has always talked about how Hamza is the center of her life, he has been in the public eye ever since he was born. He usually revels in the attention, except when people intrude on their privacy by accosting them in grocery stores or doctor’s offices.
Hamza has had to learn to share Juggun since she got together with Feisal. Luckily they get along well. She is confident that the marriage has been very positive for her son as Hamza finally has a father figure, something that has never been part of his life before.
“Feisal’s children are 12 and 15 so he has more experience as a parent whereas sometimes I feel that I have to make things up as I go along. He’s also more patient than I am and can rein me in when I am too exacting as a parent.”
For the time being Juggun is looking at expanding her acting career with meaningful and different film roles. She is enjoying her popular talk show “Morning with Juggun”, which allows her to reach a huge audience. The show airs on PTV every weekday from 9 – 11 a.m. As friendly and down-to-earth on screen as she is in real life, she has the perfect persona for a talk-show host.
|Juggun Kazim Make-up and Photography by Maram Abaroo|
Juggun has also recently started writing bi-monthly columns in a local newspaper. It’s not a side of her that the public has ever seen of her before but her writing is engaging and polished. She confesses that she’s written all her life, but mainly for herself. Journalism was part of her degree but though she loves to write, it’s not something she’s ever felt confident enough about to seek publication. It was her husband who encouraged her to publish her work. Juggun was initially reluctant but has had a phenomenal response.
“I’m really enjoying my column. Writing has always been a secret pleasure and a release. I’ve always written to express things that I couldn’t articulate in any other way. It’s wonderful to have some intellectual stimulation in English, the language I’m most comfortable in, particularly as so much of my TV work is now in Urdu.”
In the long term, Juggun would love to open a restaurant.
“I’m definitely a foodie. I love food but my restaurant would not be a la-di-da type of place. I like simple hearty homey food and I feel it would be great to have a restaurant serving excellent food in that style.”
She also thinks owning a finishing school in Pakistan would be a great idea. Her own mother went to finishing school in Switzerland and she feels that it would be wonderful to offer that sort of grooming to girls here in Pakistan. These are long term possible business plans though for the time being she is too busy with her media career to pursue them seriously.
A very down-to-earth celebrity
Juggun is refreshingly different to the usual brand of pretentious star. When asked about her favourite trends, she confesses that she doesn’t have a clue. She says she’s more of a jeans and T-shirt kind of woman and depends on her favourite designers to tell her what to wear to keep her looking on-trend. Her top beauty tip is to wash your face and wear deodorant! Her favourite past-time is watching a movie with her husband and son or cooking with them. Her weakness is designer bags,
|Juggun – a down-to-earth celebrity|
“It’s my biggest indulgence. I’ll be in H&M jeans and a Rs200 T-shirt from Zainab market but I’ll have a killer bag. I probably pick up something new every few months. My favourites are Cavalli, Alexander McQueen, Gucci and Prada. I’m not a fan of the ubiquitous Birkin – I don’t like it as a bag and I’d rather pick up something a little more unusual that reflects my own personality.”
It’s easy to not to look beyond the newly svelte actress’ media persona. However a few minutes with Juggun Kazim are enough to show that she is more than just a pretty face. Articulate, self-effacing and intelligent, Juggun is remarkably normal – just the sort of person you can imagine being good friends with.