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Celebrities Interviews

Myra Qureshi – Because Natural Beauty Shines Best

“Myra Qureshi is co-founder and CEO of Conatural, Pakistan’s first certified organic company that manufactures, retails, and exports organic skin and hair care products. In 2014, Myra capitalised on her 13 years of management consultancy expertise by launching Conatural, a pioneer in the Pakistani market for certified organic skin and hair care, and took the company international.”

What was the idea behind the label “Conatural?”

Our market is flooded with adulterated and toxic creams and cosmetics and the average consumers really don’t know what they are putting on their skin. Our mission was to create organic, unadulterated, pure, and wild-crafted beauty products, so we decided to call the company ‘Conatural’ meaning a “company that is natural.”

What motivated you to quit your job in the corporate sector and opt for an entrepreneurial venture?

I had worked in investment banking abroad for over a decade. When I completed my Exec-MBA and returned to Pakistan, I knew I wanted to start a business that took entrepreneurial principles to organise, mobilise, and manage a for-profit business that has a social mission at its core. I studied the local market, and realised that organic products were something that I was really passionate about and that there was a market for them as well.

Which product is highest selling and why?

We have different products for different age groups that are bestsellers. Our hair range does very well though across gender and age groups.

Which segment of society makes up for most of your customers?

As we are using certified organic ingredients, the cost to source and manufacture is high. So we can never be a mass product in Pakistan. As such, our customers are usually those who seek and can afford genuine organic products.

What does your average day look like?

I wake up and check e-mails, and then spend quality time with my one-year old baby, followed by yoga. I usually leave for the factory at 9:30am and have breakfast in the car, as I am always pressed for time!  En route, I catch up on the news, reading, and responding to e-mails.

At the factory, we always have our R&D meeting first (when our brains are fresh!), followed by procurement and production planning meetings. I then meet with the warehouse team and leave for the head office around 1:30pm. The first hour is usually spent doing finance-related activities, followed by marketing and sales updates. I try and spend at last 2-3 hours on business development, laying the foundation for future growth and opportunities. I spend a lot of time directly engaging with my teams on their tasks and usually leave the office around 7:30pm.  After an early dinner, I put my baby to sleep and then usually make a few work calls, after which I spend time with family, zone out with Netflix, or go see friends.

What is your brand ideology?

Conatural is a pioneer in Pakistan in the use of ingredients that are certified organic (where possible), natural, wild-crafted, and pure therapeutic grade essential oils. Our product ideology is a mix of exotic essences, Ayurveda, and modern aromatherapy. Our products are 100% cruelty-free and we never test our products on animals. In terms of our brand ideology, you could say it is to promote a lifestyle that is wholly organic and in tune with Nature.

What are the biggest challenges of operating in this industry?

The challenges of establishing and running a holistically organic company in Pakistan are numerous. The big ones, though, are lack of education on ‘safe’ beauty products, zero government regulation within the personal care sector and pretty much no protection of intellectual property rights, and difficulty sourcing organic ingredients.

We have to spend a tremendous amount of time, resources and effort in educating consumers on how to read labels, make better and informed choices, and know what certified organic actually means. Few people understand what ‘certified organic’ actually means; many believe that ‘organic’ is synonymous to ‘natural’. However, just because something was grown in your garden doesn’t make it organic. ‘Certified organic’ is a lengthy, expensive, and rigorous process; from thoroughly scrutinising each ingredient to be non-GMO and checking the water that is used to irrigate the land, to inspecting the soil, and quality-testing the raw material itself to ensure its 100% natural.

When it comes to regulation, there are no safeguards or checks in place to ensure quality control. Some companies are guilty of producing products that cause can cause irreparable damage to the skin and many creams sold in the market are a dangerous cocktail of compounds like mercury, steroids, hydroquinone, and tretinoin, the long term use of which can lead to lethal health concerns – all under the labels of ‘natural’, ‘herbal’ or ‘organic’. Meanwhile, companies like ours spend years researching and developing products, only for copycats to come in and literally copy the packaging and product design. In most cases, they are able to copy the outer packaging very well, but not actual cream or lotion; but when consumers get the fake product, our brand gets a bad name.

Then, as I mentioned, sourcing certified organic ingredients locally is very tough. Our food chain is massively compromised due to the amount of chemical pesticides and fertilisers used, so it not economically viable for growers to stop growing anything on their soil for years so that they can even be close to fit the criteria of organic to get certified. I spend at least two months of the year travelling the world to source certified organic ingredients.

What are your future plans with regard to this venture?

We are looking to expand into Europe.

In your product line which product is close to your heart and why?

The Skin Renew: Organic Age Defying Cream is pretty close to my heart because it took us nearly two years to research and develop it. We wanted to make an organic cream that promised results within two weeks of usage. It was a tough one, but in the end I’m super proud that we got there. This cream is fabulous for anti-ageing!

Conatural recently made its debut in UK. How was the experience and response?

The response was fantastic. We made our debut at the prestigious Asiana Bridal Show held at the Grosvenor House in London. Not only did we generate sales but to represent Pakistan at such an important event internationally was a humbling experience.

Why UK instead of Dubai, which has a larger South Asian population?

We launched the brand in the UAE in October. We stock with souq.ae which covers the entire UAE and most countries in the GCC.

Celeb Insight Celebrities

Former Super Model Aminah Haque’s Recent Picture Shocked fans

Aminah Haque is one of those super models whose contributions in the industry of fashion and entertainment definitely played a very important part to make it what it is today.

Aminah was one of the most popular faces of Pakistan gracing the ramps and covers of various national and international shows and magazines. Even today if you think of the models who have ruled the fashion industry of Pakistan, her name would definitely be in top three. We are sure that everyone from 90s remember dancing to Awaz’s Mr Fraudiye and loving Aminah.

After a few years she created her magic yet again along with Faakhir in Mahi Ve, remember?

Aminah has been an inspiration for most of the girls who wanted to enter the fashion industry. She is definitely a role model for most of us out there. Amna decided to quit modelling after tying the knot with the designer Ammar Belal.

Now, a recent click of Aminah has been circulating on the internet in which she looks very different from what people remember her, leaving the social media in a shock.

Here’s how people are commenting on her photo.

We don’t really get why it is so hard for people to understand that people age and they don’t actually look the same forever. And why such negativity? Your mothers, sisters, and daughters are definitely not Katrina Kaif lookalikes then why are people so harsh on our celebs, knowing the fact that have quit the industry as well!

Celeb Insight Celebrities

Sumbul Iqbal as Showstopper In Scotland Pakistan Fashion Week

The first time we noticed Sumbul Iqbal was when she appeared in the play ‘Ghayal’ where she played the role of a girl who gets raped by her very dear family friend played brilliantly by Gohar Mumtaz. Sumbul then stunned people with her versatility in ‘Neelam Kinaray’ and is now once again stealing everyone’s heart in her current plays ‘Aik Thi Rania’ and ‘Kahan Ho Tum’. This beautiful girl keeps on adding accomplishments to her name and now after conquering hearts in Pakistan, Sumbul Iqbal is all set to go foreign.

Sumbul Iqbal is all set to be a part of the Scotland Pakistan Fashion Week as a showstopper for a local designer.

“I am very excited to be a part of this as this is the first time that a show like this is happening in Scotland where Pakistan is being represented internationally by our own talented designers for the locals there,” shares Sumbul Iqbal.

Adding further Sumbul explains how Scottish designers will also be part of the show. “A number of well-known Scottish designers will be a part of the show. I feel honored to have the invitation extended to me as Miral Luxury Pret is also organizing the Scotland Pakistan Fashion Week.”

But for whom will Sumbul Iqbal be walking the ramp, is something which she did not want to disclose at the moment as she wanted to keep it a surprise.

With 30 designers participating with three fashion catwalk shows, the Scotland Pakistan Fashion Week is all set to happen at Hotel Crowne Plaza in Glasgow. And with Sumbul Iqbal also a part of it, we for one, look forward to seeing the lovely actress spread her magic all over Scotland on the 16th of March this year!

Celeb Insight Celebrities

PEOPLE CAN’T STOP RUINING THIS PERFECT PICTURE OF HOCANE SISTERS

We all know how beautiful and talented the Hocane sisters are. Their popularity in different areas of media did not happen suddenly. They both have separately worked hard on their careers to reach where they are today. Urwa Hocane started as a VJ by applying in a talent show. On the other hand, Mawra Hocane started her career while performing in theaters, then as a VJ and finally as an actress. The two have fought against many obstacles to become successful and we couldn’t be more proud.

Recently, a debate started between the fans and haters of the Hocane sisters when a Facebook page posted this picture of the two on their page.

They asked the fans if they wanted to see them together in a show. Fans and haters were quick to respond and thus a debate started between the two sides.

Here’s a hater who clearly wants them out of the industry!

This hater even forgot how to spell their surname.

This one clearly has a thing for UrwaHocane.

Now, this is a role we want to see the sisters do as well.

Haters gonna hate… sigh

This one can’t bear the two together, even though they are the sweetest!

Couldn’t agree more with this fan.

 

Meanwhile the sisters are busy being happy with their lives. UrwaHocane was just recently vacationing in Poland and look at how perfect she looks.

And Mawra is busy being perfect in her recent drama Aangan.

Celeb Insight Celebrities

Shah Rukh Khan playing a dwarf in his upcoming movie

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has a perfect gift for his fans at the beginning of this year. King Khan’s upcoming release is Anand R Lai’s dream project, Zero which stars Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma in titular roles.

Looking at the teaser, we can say that the film looks quite promising. Zero will see Shah Rukh Khan portray the role of a dwarf, or as the makers like to call it – vertically challenged.

It is speculated that SRK will have a double role in the film and Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma will be seen playing the love interests.

In one of her interviews, Katrina Kaif had earlier said, “It wasn’t about the space or the VFX. Honestly, Anand sir has been discussing this film with me for the last two years. It was originally titled Katrina Meri Jaan, which is probably why people keep asking me if I’m playing myself in the film.”

King Khan had a sweet Twitter conversation with Anushka and Aanand before revealing the title.

Celeb Insight Celebrities

Noor Bukhari to Get Married for the Fifth Time

Lollywood’s model and actress Noor Bukhari has been the subject of quite a lot of controversies. She has had many divorces. The actress has now once more been surrounded by the rumors of a fifth marriage.

All of us found out when the actress married for the first time in April 2008. She married Vikram when they had been in Dubai and everybody thought about it as a blissful marriage at first. Then rumors had it, that she filed a divorce after a couple of months of marriage when she realized that he had lied about his conversion to Islam. She made efforts to have him convert, but failed and they separated.

The actress decided to marry a second time in 2010 with a movie producer/director Farooq Mengal.

Sadly, the second marriage was also not fortunate for her as there were reported incidents of bodily abuse and the couple got divorced after four months.

Noor Bukhari made another effort for the third time when she tied the knot with Awn Chaudhry in 2012.

Alas, the actress is simply not very fortunate with males in her life and as a result of an unhappy life, the couple parted ways, this time attributable to unknown causes.

But it seems Noor was unwilling to quit her quest to find true love: She gave it one more shot. In 2015, she secretly tied the knot with Wali Hamid Khan.

Again the divorce happened. After her divorce with the singer, she embraced the hijab and decided to become a good practicing Muslim.

Now there are rumors of her fifth marriage which have been going around and the media can’t seem to leave the actress alone for considering another marriage. A video clip report by a channel went viral on social media, claiming that Noor Bukhari is all set to tie the knot with her third husband, Awn Chaudhry once more.

Celebrities Interviews

Sadya s Salon

Brides & You got a chance to catch up with Sadya of Sadya’s Salon. Read on to find out some interesting things you would want to know about this talented makeup artist:

Did you discover your talent accidentally or were you always sure about what you wanted to do?
Like every girl, I have always loved makeup. I remember doing my own makeup, sitting on my mother’s vanity table as a child. But education has always been a priority in my family. So after getting my degree, I began learning makeup properly from my mother, Mrs Nazli Iftikhar who is the owner of House Wife Home located in Lahore. Then I started teaching girls at her salon. That’s how it all started.

You have been in the business since 2002. What is the pull that draws you to this profession?
When a bride is ready and her face lights up with joy, it inspires me. I thank God for making my passion my profession. I graduated from NCA with a degree in Communication Design and did my masters from London in Interactive Media. But through the years the art of makeup has always been by my priority and now my profession.

Name one person who has been your support throughout the years?
My mother. She has been the pillar of strength in my career. She was one of the pioneers in the field and learnt makeup from London in 1982. I can’t thank her enough for being my mentor, friend and support through the years.

Sometimes the fame goes to one’s head but you seem like a really down to earth person. How do you maintain a low profile?
Everyone has ups and downs and time teaches you a lot. I stay focused on my work and believe that no one can be perfect- we must all improve every single day, that’s what keeps my feet on the ground.

What is the one thing that makes you relax, after a tiring and busy day?
My family. The smiles of my kids really lift me up.

With cutthroat competition in the market what is it that sets you apart from others?
My work speaks for itself. Personalized makeup is all about giving personal attention to the bride. I go into the minutest of details, from makeup to hair to dupatta setting, paying personal attention to everything, making sure that it is done with utmost finesse and perfection. I do not let the bride go out of my salon, till I see the spark of satisfaction and confidence in her eyes.

How do you make sure that the bride is satisfied on her big day?
Wedding day is a huge day for every girl and we are honored to be a part of it. We try to make sure she is comfortable, relaxed and confident. One week before the wedding day, we have trials for hair-do and a session about the overall look and styling of the bride. This helps the girl be happier about how she will look on her big day.

Do you offer bridal deals for brides who cannot afford expensive make up packages?
Yes. We offer to pre book your wedding package in summer for a winter wedding. The package costs between Rs 30,000 to 60,000. We highly respect the appreciation girls have of our work and for those we have special Summer Packages.

What brands of make-up do you use?
There are so many amazing brands in the market now, some have amazing foundations, others have an amazing colour palette. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation is one my favourite foundations. Two faced has amazing bronzer/ contouring colours. Mac has unbelievable lip shades with pigmentation. Dior has great glosses and the list goes on.

Which lipstick trend do you promote- classic or matte?
I love classic but only with a little gloss.

Do you enjoy teaching your trade? Do you ever feel insecure?
It is a blessing to have a skill. To me it is important to share it with others. The best part is when you teach someone, you inspire them, you motivate them and that is fulfilling in itself. It gives me a sense of achievement, not insecurity.

What is one thing you like most about being a beautician?
The most beautiful thing is the smile of a bride or anyone who is made to feel beautiful after the services have been completed. As the bride walks out of my salon feeling beautiful, I feel pride.

If stranded on an island which product, do you feel you cannot do without?
If I have to choose from makeup products, it would be lip balm.

Which products do you feel a girl on her honeymoon cannot do without?
Sunscreen, face powder, mascara, blush and a lip gloss.
Do visit Sadya’s Salon which is located on Maratab Ali Road. It is worth the time, effort and money. We at Brides & You wish Sadya, a future full of even more success and expansion.

Celeb Insight Celebrities

Saba Qamar’s Tattoo Has Started a Terrible Online War

Saba Qamar has been rising tremendously high lately in her career. With her critically praised performance on a floundering show ‘Baaghi,’ and her Bollywood debut in the acclaimed ‘Hindi Medium’ opposite Irrfan Khan. The actress recently won big at the Masala Awards in Dubai, bagging the Best Breakthrough Performance for the film.

Recently, she shared a picture in which she shows that she has a tattoo on the back of her neck. Whether the tattoo is for an upcoming movie or it’s a personal liking, however, people reacted on it with a love-hate reaction. As sensitive the subject of having tattoos is in our country, people do react to it with complete passion.

Have a look at the tattoo, which appears to be in a foreign language, yes, we all want to know what it actually means.

Here are some hot and cold comments, starting with some cold ones which are the obvious ones…

Some people did end up loving the tattoo and were quite curious about what it’s about and what language it is.

Let us know how this makes you feel.

Celeb Insight Celebrities

Sanam Jung s extreme weight loss will inspire you

Morning show host and actor Sanam Jung gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Alaya Qassim Jaffri, in November last year and continued hosting her show, remaining in the public eye throughout her pregnancy and after, slaying with her charming smile, dapper looks and lively personality.

The actress was, unfortunately shamed for pregnancy weight gain by some internet users and as awful as that sounds, it didn’t stop the talented star from conducting her morning show.

Not that she had to lose any pounds to look like the stunner she is, but it appears to be that the star has been working super hard to get back to pre-pregnancy shape, and guess what, she already has!

The Dil-e-Muztar actress recently shared a collage of pictures on her Instagram in which she revealed that she has lost a total of whopping 17.5kg!

Clad in black, she looked ravishing in both pictures! Giving a shout out to her trainer, she wrote a caption: “Lost 17.5kgs! And the entire credit goes to my fantastic trainer @shoaibkhan1990 for pushing me beyond limits. I couldn’t have done this without you!”

Well, in our opinion, Sanam looks absolutely beautiful in both her before and after looks.

This, however, is not the first time an actress has been shamed for post pregnancy weight. Bollywood beauty Kareena Kapoor Khan was also attacked by body shamers after she wore a one-shoulder black dress with a thigh slit to a party.

Celeb Insight Celebrities

Saba Qamar And Mahira Khan: The Top Debutantes

Eastern Eye, a UK based publication recently released a list of top Bollywood debutantes for the year 2017. There was a lot of hype in Pakistani media as two of our actresses Mahira Khan and Saba Qamar also made it to the list.

Mahira Khan made her Bollywood debut opposite Shahrukh Khan in the film Raees. Raees was a super hit and Mahira became the first Pakistani actress to join Bollywood’s hundred crore club. She looked beautiful in the role of Asiya and now her role has gotten her a place in the best debutantes list.

Saba Qamar also made it to the list due to her superhit ‘Hindi Medium’ opposite Irfan Khan. Saba won hearts on both sides of the border with her portrayal of Meeta in the film and now she is one of the top debutantes also.

The two actors have made us all proud and we wish them great success in the future and hope to see more good work from them for the whole world to see.