Sophiya Anjam – From Unheard to Heard
Born and bred in Lahore, Sophiya Anjam was never an average, ordinary girl. She always wanted to shine and engaged herself in numerous extracurricular activities along with focusing on her education. Since she always wanted to opt for a career related to media, Sophiya completed her Masters in Mass Communication from Kinnaird. This was perhaps merely the start of a path to success that had no U-turns.
The story behind Sophiya’s admission in Kinnaird is one that is fascinating as well as inspiring. She applied for Bachelors in a lot of colleges, including Kinnaird, since that was her dream college. However, as luck might have it, she got accepted in all of those colleges, except Kinnaird. When the time came for the ultimate choice to be made, she visited several campuses. The campus of Government College for Women, Gulberg, fascinated her greatly and caught her attention, so she decided to take the plunge.
Since Sophiya came from the pampered environment of LGS, the environment of her new college was totally different for her. She got a hands-on insight into a totally different social circle. This did not only broaden her horizons, it also influenced her perception of people. She excelled at the college, and was awarded with a gold medal for the best graduate. With such an achievement at hand, she applied and got into Kinnaird College for her Masters in Mass Communication.
‘The people at Kinnaird applied a lot of confidence building measures. They threw us into every possible thing. They taught us to go face the world. They taught us that it was okay to ask questions. They taught me to be myself.’
Sophiya knew that she wanted to be in the media, since forever. However, the push towards practicalities was initiated from Kinnaird. She was nicknamed the Internship Queen, because she was always doing one internship or another. She completed her Masters at the age of 22 years and interned at Dawn, The Nation, Hum TV & another one in Dubai at a production house called Kromosome. Thus, she gained a considerable amount of internship experience before joining radio.
Sophiya’s entry into radio was very random, perhaps because that is what fate simply had in store for her. One of her friends, Saba Eitizaz who is now a renowned journalist, used to work for FM91 in those days. She called Sophiya, asking for help in hiring some new female RJs. She spontaneously ended up giving her own audition because of her friend’s insistence & got selected. Then of course, there was no turning back.
‘I had never planned it. It was very random.’
Sophiya’s life can be called anything but uneventful. Doing a lot of things all at once and managing them together is like a thrilling game for her. She is also the host of one of FM91`s most popular radio programs, Drive On with Sophie, as well as heading the Marketing Department at the radio. She used to host a TV show for PTV World and now she is planning on doing TV again.
She also hosts different corporate and non-corporate events, does a lot of voice overs and donation drives for charity purposes and also takes up marketing projects both national and international. Her upcoming project ‘Zaikay Zindagi Kay’ is with Asad Sheikh, who is Founder of popular group Foodies R Us and it explores Street Food while showcasing the original and local eateries of the city
Since she was not very experienced when she first joined the radio industry, she was very unsure about her approach. All she knew was that she wanted to be in the media and that she wanted to make a difference in the world. However, experience helped her learn that having access to a powerful platform is extremely important, since it enables people to look up to you. It gives a certain amount of responsibility that needs to be shouldered.
‘This is something I understand now. Whatever I do, I have to influence certain people, a certain society, a certain circle, or perhaps just my own self. But it has to have an influence somehow.’
For her, the biggest difference in the Pakistan of now and in the Pakistan of her childhood days is the lack of safety. Her childhood was great, perhaps because there was no terrorism and there also was no social media addiction. She grew up in a relatively safe environment, a bubble, which was safe from negativity and pessimism with a good balance of reality thrown in. Every person deserves an innocent, sweet childhood that is full of fond memories and so was hers.
‘The kind of society I envision for Pakistan is very different from what it is today. I am very disappointed in our society. We are a very confused, artificial and negative nation. I think we need to understand and address this situation as soon as possible. That is what I try to work towards, so we can all do our part in building a balanced and progressive society’
Sophiya believes that we should start from the basics. Any nation’s backbone is primarily formed by two things, education and health. We might have very good roads, but there is never enough focus on education or health. This is perhaps only because our criterion and priorities are very mixed up, which further goes to show that we are nothing but a confused nation. Making roads is not a bad thing, but not at the cost of education or basic rights. Education should be our primary focus and that should be followed by the inculcation of a certain respect for laws.
Sophiya has no intention of stopping anytime soon. She would love to keep busy and so she has several things in the pipeline. In the near future, she wants to establish an organization that can help people in different ways. She is still in the process of thinking about the different tiers, which could be health or education related, or they could be related to certain social issues that we tend to ignore.
‘I have also thought about venturing out in acting, since I always loved acting and dancing when I was a kid.’
For Sophiya, it is of utmost importance that the youngsters of today should try out different things, to find their ultimate passion. However, they should always do a bit of preliminary research before doing anything. It is never wise to believe everything that is online, because social media isn’t something that can be blindly trusted.
‘Use your common sense. Research a bit before forming opinions. Don’t be judgmental, because what is green to you can be purple to me. Be kind, and be sensible.’
Interview by Hammad Anwar | Written by Minahil Amin