The Lux Style Awards is easily the most coveted awards show in Pakistan. For 18 years, it has established and upheld a tradition of excellence, and continues to serve as a platform to empower women, be it in the background or at the forefront of the industry.
The highly revered awards show is a grand affair, carefully crafted and curated by talented individuals, majority of whom are women that have proven their mettle in terms of their grit, and their talent speaks volumes. To keep an awards show as relevant and happening as the Lux Style Awards have been for the past 18 years is not an easy feat, yet these people keep upping the ante by bringing the best version of the show year after year, without fail!
From the team at LUX and Unilever to the director of the 2018 show, Vaneeza Ahmad, director of the 2019 show, Frieha Altaf, official styling partner each year, Nabila, to the Awards Manager, Fareshteh Aslam and this year’s red carpet team of Anisa and Amina Khan, the show is helmed by women who have established their footing in a cut-throat industry, and the output is a grand display of visionary and powerful women at work.
In a country and in an industry that is inherently patriarchal, for women to be at the forefront of such a big platform is a hugely empowering message in itself, and for that platform to consistently also laud women for their achievements in an industry where representation is very important, is another feat in itself. More than half of the Unilever Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Awards have been gifted to women; from Noor Jahan in 2002 to Roohi Bano in 2010 to a very deserving star Shabnam now in 2019, and Nabila for her achievement in fashion and styling.
At the LSA ’19 too, women reigned supreme, with no shortage of recognizable talent; from Frieha Altaf as show director, to the long list of female stars performing on stage including Mehwish Hayat, Momina Mustehsan, Hina Dilpazeer along with the LUX Girls Saba Qamar, Maya Ali, Meera, to the Chairman of Unilever Shazia Syed, to the Director of Beauty and Personal Care Asima Haq.
Shazia Syed set the tone for the show this year with her inspiring opening speech about the importance of supporting our entertainment industry and pushed to make the non-traditional the new normal. She also spoke eloquently about how Unilever has always championed the rights of a woman in this country, and then the rights of the differently abled, and now aims to provide a safe space for the transgender community. This speaks volumes about the company’s ethics and its vision; that of inclusivity.
“We need to transparently continue to un-stereotype not just in our homes but across our communities and beyond. We need to make the tough choices between selling the usual masala versus those powerful controversial messages that have the most impact. It is through these bold decisions that we will be able to demonstrate our bias for tolerance, inclusiveness and freedom from stereotypes. And it is by doing this that we will become conscious and adaptable, and eventually become progressive. And this is the biggest contribution we can make to our country,” concluded Shazia.
Kicking the night off with Shazia’s strong message, the event had to live up! And that’s exactly what it had in store, showcasing diversity, equal opportunity and freedom from stereotype.
Fahad Mustafa took to the stage to introduce the first performer of the night; none other than the uber talented Momina Mustehsan, who performed alongside Eva-B, a female rapper from Lyari who is trying to break the glass ceiling while chasing her dreams. The whole segment was written, directed and produced by Mustehsan, emphasizing on resilient women, with the song Rukay Naa Rukay from the recent LUX campaign.
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A power-packed opening performance by Momina Mustehsan celebrating womanhood with local female rap star, Eva B who’s defying judgements with her debut?@mominamustehsan LSA2019 #HappeningNow #LSAAwardNight2019 #LuxStyleAwards2019 #AwardNight #KhoobsurtiSeKyaSharmana #follow #style
“This special segment was an ode to the strong women in our society; women who struggle in numerous aspects, yet, always manage to create opportunities and stand up for themselves. This is the first time I’m performing at LUX Style Awards and what makes it most special for me is that it revolved around the women empowerment theme,” said Mustehsan about her segment.
The industry’s Gangster Guriya, Mehwish Hayat, and the sweet girl-next-door, Zara Noor Abbas also rose to the occasion to set an example for the women in the industry. Countless moments of effortless camaraderie between the Chhalawa co-stars cemented the importance of having each other’s back in the industry, specially as women.
Last year’s break out star, the Laal Kabootar actress Mansha Pasha, also advocated strongly for the role of women in the industry and pointed out the recent and a very welcome shift in narratives around/about women in the industry; pointing to Hajra Yamin in Pinky Memsaab, Hania Amir as a young fighter pilot in Parwaz Hai Junoon, Mehwish Hayat for her portrayal as a polio worker in Load Wedding, Sanam and Aamina’s complex roles in Cake, and Sohai Ali Abro’s realistic portrayal of a motorcycle girl in Pakistan.
“Bohat si filmon mein humain larkiyon ke liye aisay roles milay jo hum screen pe bohat kam dekhtay hain. Sirf sharmeeli, dorti bhaagti, nachti gaati larki ka stereotype bohat hadd tak challenge kia gya. Ab larkiyan sirf paharon mein saarhiyan pehan kar nahi dance karteen balkay motorcycle bhi chalati hain.”
Perhaps the most iconic moment of the star studded show was the equally star studded tribute that was presented in the honor of film star Shabnam, who was a huge part of the Pakistani film industry in its heyday. The LUX girls, Meera, Maya Ali, and Saba Qamar performed to yesteryear hits that featured Shabnam, which made for a fitting tribute to an icon who is responsible for paving the way for the likes of the LUX girls themselves.
Meera performed alongside upcoming actor Asad Siddique, and shook a leg to Wada Karo Sajna, while Maya Ali put on a stunning performance on the Noor Jehan sung classic, Chhiti Zara Saiyyan Ji. Saba Qamar, the current LUX girl, who is known for pursuing headstrong roles, set the stage on fire as she whirled and twirled to the fiesty Mera Babu Chail Chabila.
The legendary Shabnam was escorted on to the stage by none other than Atif Aslam, who crooned the iconic song Mujhe Dil Se Na Bhulana from Aina. It was a bittersweet moment as the audience erupted in applause for the two, and needless to say, it was extremely emotional. The whole segment that ushered in the Lifetime Achievement Award presentation was an ode to women who have contributed relentlessly to the industry and aimed to further the message to young talent to showcase their skills un-apologetically.
There was a second Lifetime Achievement Award for the night, and also reserved for an incredibly strong woman who has built herself up from the bottom to conquering the world of hair, makeup and styling like none before her. The iconic, Nabila. Show director Frieha Altaf, who for many years has worked with Nabila to present the stylish face of the industry, gave a laudatory intro to the powerhouse that is Nabila Maqsood. The award was presented by her two sons, Zair and Zahid Maqsood.
Nabila has previously won 10 Lux Style Awards, and after her Lifetime Achievement Award, the maestro decided to take a bow to make way for newer talent, and to take a step back to dedicate herself to social causes. She preached the message to #DoMore with the industry’s collective social influence. At the LUX Style Awards alone, the audience consists of individuals that have millions of social media followers and she urged them to bring about a collective shift.
“Let’s come together and do our bit to build a better world. A world which is diverse, inclusive, embracing and fair for all,” said Nabila.