Amna Ilyas has worked hard to stand out of the crowd and carve a space for herself in the world of showbiz. Whether on the ramp or behind the screen, the Baaji actor has managed to make a name for herself despite the colourism she claims to have faced in doing so. But the dusky beauty is not one to shy away from social issues. Recently, while speaking to Urdu News, the Zinda Bhaag starlet spoke about how she didn’t believe she could make it as an actor at first. “I never thought I would become an actress. I did TV commercials and fashion videos in which I would simply do as I was directed. After I was offered a film, I felt as though I may be able to act, so I tried my luck.”
She explained how the success of her first film helped give her the confidence she needed. “I gained a lot more satisfaction after witnessing people’s response to my films Good Morning Karachi and Zinda Bhaag.” Ilyas added, “I figured if people were praising my performance, then there must be something of value in it; that I must have done a good job.”
On her transition from model to actor, Ilyas explained that dialogues did not come naturally to her and she struggled quite a bit when it came to getting them right in the beginning. “When it came to acting, the situation was such that I could not get my dialogues right. They just wouldn’t come out of my mouth. I didn’t know where to stop, when to start speaking, or even where to look while delivering the dialogues. I had to work very hard to get the hang of it.”
When it comes to films, the starlet makes sure to do her homework before saying yes to any offers. Ilyas explained that when she is given a script, she goes over it again and again to truly get the gist of it. “I read the script about four to five times before agreeing to play a role,” she confessed. “Reading the script thoroughly helps to understand exactly what the writer is trying to get at and what the story is truly about, as well as how you can do justice to the character.” And Ilyas doesn’t want to limit herself. She believes that a true actor is one who can play every role well, regardless of genre. “I can’t convince myself to limit my options to only serious roles or just comedy characters. If I get the chance to play a character in an action film, I’ll do it.”
Although it has been many years since, Ilyas still gets the jitters when in front of the camera. “It feels like there is an exam that I have to give and I don’t know what the result will be.” When asked how she came up with the idea of making videos on social issues, she said, “I used to make funny videos and upload them but when I got a good response from people, I felt that there should be regular work put into these videos and so, started working on ideas together with my team.” Ilyas went on, “Every time I make a video, the goal is to get people to learn from it. Meaningful content certainly attracts people’s attention. I try to help them understand complex issues through humour.”
The multitalented star has worked very hard to get to where she is today. “I’ve always maintained a professional attitude and haven’t shied from calling out what’s wrong or standing by what’s right,” she shared.
In a previous interview with Voice of America, Ilyas had detailed her struggle with colourism, highlighting the discrimination we see in everyday dramas, where women of fair complexion are given priority over the dark ones. “This happens. Our people also want to see only those girls on the screen who are fair,” she explained, revealing that her own battles with discrimination began from her very home. “As a child, I was told a few things about my deep complexion, such as by my mother and aunt, who made me realise very early on that it ‘would not suit me well when I grow up’,” she had said. “As a child, you may not understand the meaning of these words but when you are conscious, you understand the psychology behind these thoughts. When I realised this, I stood up against it.”
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