Warm, bubbly and full of energy and ideas, we caught up with actor and host Hira Hussain at home. Her candour and complete lack of artifice hardly suggest any connection to the glamorous world of showbiz but viewers would have seen her in television plays and in the critically acclaimed Pakistani film Cake.
Creative and welcoming by nature, Hira is a keen home maker who loves decorating her living space. From painting and stencilling to doing wall finishes and carpentry projects, Hira is as hands on as it gets. Our team spent a lovely afternoon with Hira Hussain at home and spoke to her about her love of DIY projects and more.
How long have you lived in this house?
Well, I live with my in-laws, this is our family home. My husband and I moved here some years go after we returned from England.
So then who is responsible for the decor?
Well it is my mother-in-law’s house and most of the furniture has been passed on by family. But I keep adding things or changing existing pieces. I work around what I have, re-upholstering sofas or adding textures and colours to walls. And over time, the family started to appreciate my efforts which encouraged me. But it is a work in progress, there is still lots to do.
So you are fond of doing interiors?
Very much so but I don’t like things to look spanking new, even if something is new. And I don’t like expensive things. I live for thrifting. I absolutely love it, it gives me life.
Tell us about this very unique alcove-type space.
Well I bought this jharoka completely raw. I changed the colour and had the mirror put in. All these bottles are from botal gali (bottle Gali) or Empress market. This cabinet was actually an old shoe rack. I had the doors added so that it looks neater but it is still used for storage. Then I just added the lights and other pieces. I love taking on such DIY projects.
And the wall finish?
As I said, I don’t like to spend money. This finish was the simplest thing. The mason was just slapping on cement and I told him to stop and leave it just as it was. He was quite horrified but I insisted. Then we painted over it … I was going for a cave-like feel.
Do you entertain often?
Oh yes! We entertain lot. This blue cabinet is again something I picked up as a skeleton. I plan to use it to store glasses which will be handy when we have people over. I painted it, added the brass hinges and other finishes, had a light put in … it’s still not complete.
Tell us a little more about this blue corner.
It was an awkward sort of space since it’s part of an extension and I wanted to incorporate into the rest of the room. I have measured and cut these strips on the wall myself then we painted it. I also painted over an old canvas and made this painting. Then added the cabinet.
So you are a very hands on home-maker. And you also act and host. Which do you prefer? Acting or hosting?
Hosting comes more naturally to me, it’s effortless. But acting is a lot if fun, you get to be someone else for a while. So I like to do a bit of both, it keeps things interesting. However, I find that for me, acting can also affect me in a negative way. It can make one very competitive and I start to notice unnecessary flaws in my looks. It can bring out one’s insecurities.
You have done a lot of negative roles?
Yes I have, negative roles tend to be very strong characters. They have a lot of significance. But I think I have been stereotyped a bit as far as casting is concerned.
What is your favourite spot in the home?
My favourite spot is the lounge. I like to chill here with a cup of tea.
Which would you pick? Style or comfort?
It would have to be comfort with my personal style. I’m never in a hurry to fill up spaces in my home. When I find the right piece, it will speak to me and be perfect.
Do you think it’s important to have pleasing interiors?
Definitely. I like to work hard and then spend quality time with my family and friends. The most important thing is to keep oneself happy and safe. So surroundings are very important. This room makes me happy.
It was a pleasure catching up with Hira Hussain at home.
Photography by Naeema Kapadia