Pakistani model Mathira is no stranger to our awaam.
Mathira graced our screens as a singer and hostess and audiences willingly consumed her quirky mannerisms.
While Mathira was at the peak of her career, she often became a target of constant belittling due to her bold demeanor.
It is this bold and unwavering demeanor that has kept her going, and made her talk about harassment in the industry. In an interview with Geo – when asked about harassment, especially in light of the Harvey Weinstein controversy – Mathira was pretty blunt when stating her opinion.
“There are instances of sexual harassment here as well,” she stated. “But in most cases, the perpetrators are not the established, well-known names. Those who have a reputation for professionalism, of getting the job done, don’t indulge in such things.”
The actress went on to explain how the “people who talk big” are the real problem.
“If you meet someone who is boasting about starting a fifty million rupees project, then beware. There is something not right.”
She also pointed out why actresses in Pakistan are hesitant to speak up.
“Another reason why actresses in Pakistan are reluctant to speak up is that such predatory men only target young actors, who are new in the field and can later be scared into silence. Their family system might be such that they are discouraged to voice their experience publicly.”
However, she remains hopeful about the nature of the industry.
“But you know, I do believe that times have changed. More and more people are speaking up. So these dubious characters are slowly being thrown out of the industry.”
When talking about whether she’d personally been a victim of harassment, Mathira had the following to say:
“Well, I started off with a small TV channel, and I realized that this is where I should stick it out for a while. Even though the set up was relatively small as compared to some other channels, the environment was safe. Hence, I stayed there till I got to know more people in the industry. Yes, I have encountered many shady men in the industry. But thankfully, I was protected by my organization.”
She even had a few pearls of wisdom to share with younger girls about to step into the industry.
“I would give the same advice to young girls starting off. They should begin work with an established network before freelancing, for the sake of safety.”
It’s great to have outspoken and brave individuals like Mathira, who aren’t afraid to say things as they are. Here’s hoping that our young actors and actresses can avoid the “shady men” that still lurk in the darker corners of our industry.
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Cover image via: geo.tv