Novel actress Momal Sheikh emanates vigor in all her acting performances. She has a successful Bollywood film to her credit and is often cited as a style icon in Pakistan. Sheikh shares interesting facts about her and unveils her lighter side in an uplifting conversation. Guide me through your journey as an actress? My journey started six years ago and I haven’t looked back since. I began with comedy which is tricky as accurate timing and dialogue delivery are necessary. However, I learnt a lot from my first project. I switched from dramas to films which was a different genre but exciting nonetheless. With every project, I have grown professionally and I aspire to keep evolving in my field. I am blessed to have senior colleagues who have never hesitated to advise me and pass down their knowledge. I hope to inspire my junior colleagues the same way and assist them in learning and improving like I did. Theatre or screen presence? Which do you prefer and why? Screen presence for sure! Theatre is very demanding; performing live in front of an audience makes me nervous which is why I haven’t signed up for theatre yet. I am still in the process of preparing myself for that challenge. The actress says performing arts has provided her with an endless platform. “I have been thrown in the deep end many times but spontaneity and quick thinking have only boosted my confidence” You currently star as Abeeha in the drama Silsilay. How is the character different or same as you? Our characters are completely different. Abeeha holds back from expressing her opinions; she is an introvert and generally bears hardships silently. I, on the other hand, am quite vocal and outspoken. I don’t hesitate in expressing myself. In Silsilay, which actor cracks you up the most behind the scenes? Muneeb Butt. He is by far the most hilarious cast member and manages to crack me up before most serious scenes. Sometimes I have to pretend that I am annoyed but that does not stop him from cracking jokes. What are your forthcoming film and drama projects? My movie Wujood is up for a release soon. We are in the marketing phase and are preparing for premieres these days. I am quite excited and expect an overwhelming response from the audience. That aside, I have been offered several roles and scripts; however I am committed to doing something more challenging, something I have never done before. It is all about evolving as an actor and I want to sign up for a role where my potential and abilities are ultimately challenged. What qualities do you wish for dramas and films to change or alter about an actress? Our dramas are quite a hit not only in Pakistan but globally. We have grown immensely as an industry and should replicate the same growth and unity in our films as well. How can an actor give back to a society especially when given the most powerful medium to shape or change perspectives? Social media is by far the most powerful tool in today’s digital age. A platform like this should be utilised to generate awareness and allow actors to voice their opinion on rape, child abuse, drug abuse and other sensitive issues that people shy away from talking about. We should unite against all vices that are increasing in our society and maximise on this forum to make a difference. Are you involved in any philanthropic work? I firmly believe that we are educated and privileged for a reason. It is our moral duty to help others and teach our children to do the same. I tend to not give away details about my charitable work but it is by far the most fulfilling feeling in the world. How do you spend your time off work? When I am off work, I dedicate most of my time to my son. I enjoy quiet, relaxing dinners with my husband and often get pampered at my parents’ house. I also have a very intimate circle of friends and hanging out with them is the best way to unwind. What television/film genre are you most drawn to; comedy, drama or mystery? Why? In television, dramas tend to build suspense over time. The viewership increases steadily and we get a chance to reflect on our work and improve. In movies, suspense films are the most captivating. There is nothing more like it than a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Hypothetically, who would you like to work opposite in Hollywood? Kevin Spacey – the man is a seasoned actor and I can imagine myself learning so much from him and being star struck the whole time! How has performing arts changed your life? I have met people from all walks of life. When I was hosting a morning show, I realised that we live in our own bubble and are protected from the harsh realities of life. When you are exposed to difficult circumstances, you are grateful and humbled by all that you have been blessed with. Dramas provide a similar forum to play many characters. Sometimes we are mesmerised by a certain role that we may reflect on it. Performing arts has provided me with an endless platform. I have been thrown in the deep end many times but spontaneity and quick thinking have only boosted my confidence. Published in Daily Times, February 23rd 2018.