Born in Abbotabad, attended university in Rawalpindi and now based in Karachi - Jenaan Hussain is the complete package of what one may call a diverse artist. Having trained as a fine artist, she found her calling in theatre. But it doesn't stop there. We caught up with the actor in between shoots for 'Neeli Zinda Hai,' 'Pardes' and 'Working Women.'
Singer, artist and actor? Who is the real Jenaan?
All of them are the real Jenaan. The artist, the singer, the actor - they are all Jenaan. I use them all to emote. Each of these identities feed into my creative process as an actor, a singer and an artist.
You have had a long, prolific career in television, but you have mostly avoided the limelight. Why is that?
I don’t think that I have avoided the limelight, the limelight has avoided me. The truth is that, South Asian audiences have a preference for a certain kind of ‘face’ particular roles. I do not have that ‘face’ or that skin color or the personality that one needs to be a so-called superstar in the industry. But I am not afraid to admit that I am a strong actor. I do character acting and the audience loves me in those roles. But the way industry works is that only lead characters or actors make it to the limelight. And that is not necessarily my route or career path. I want to take on interesting roles -characters with depth.
You have been a vocal advocate against body shaming of all sorts. Do you think it is still prevalent in the industry?
Body shaming is not only in the entertainment industry, it is all around us. Even the people who have been body shamed themselves, have become so bitter after the experience that they are now body shaming others. It is so common in our society. People hurt each other without giving it a second thought.
Which roles have been your favorite so far and why?
Almost all of my roles have been my ‘favorite’ roles. I don’t like one dimensional roles. In Raaz e Ulfat, I played this girl who is physically grown up but her mental age is not more than 6 years old. In Bashar Momin, my character was dealing with al ot of complicated issues.I enjoy emotionally complex characters.
What’s next for Jenaan Hussain?
Next for Jenaan Hussain is music. And even better acting. Maybe people will see me less but whenever they will see me they will see me in good strong characters. I have also been studying music. I have always wanted to be a musician - since I was 4 years, atleast and it some how escaped me. First it was studies, then it was theatre and the television acting. There was also painting in the mix. But now that I have some time, I have started studying music. I don’t want to be the kind of musician who’s a one-hit wonder and then people forget about her. I want to learn the skill.
There is a visceral, yet charming honesty about Jenaan Hussain that may catch you off guard. But one thing is for certain, Jenaan is a force to reckon with.