“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook
What is Andaaz?
The Andaaz Magazine: More than just a magazine.
Andaaz is a Pakistani print magazine that aims to increase awareness about Pakistan’s massive untapped potential via discussing the Pakistani fashion and art industries and their impact on the international image of Pakistan as a country. Additionally, the magazine gives small businesses in Pakistan the opportunity to advertise their products and services. The magazine presents the youth of Pakistan with a platform that they can use to publicly express their opinions and thoughts regarding Pakistani trends and issues.
In every issue of the Andaaz Magazine, there is a topic of Pakistani art where different artists are featured, especially those who do not have a large fan following. The whole purpose of Andaaz is to serve as a tool for youth empowerment in Pakistan.
In the fashion section of the Andaaz Magazine, the readers will get a chance to see the latest styles of attire to the most traditional dresses as well.
The Andaaz Magazine is more than a magazine, it is a community. A community of creators, artists, writers, and individuals who believe in the power of the youth. Who believe it is time for a change. Who work towards a better future for ourselves, for those around us, and for our country, Pakistan.
Andaaz Magazine is more than just a magazine. It is an initiative brought forth by the youth for the youth. Andaaz is a magazine aimed to create awareness regarding issues that are rarely spoken in the South-Asian community. It is a magazine that aspires to ignite people’s passion for art, creativity, fashion, health, and fitness by providing them with the right dose of entertainment and inspiration.
Their first issue was released in August 2020, and the team currently comprises ten writers and 3 heads. I got a chance to speak with the founder/CEO of Andaaz Magazine. We spoke about the inspiration behind the implementation of the idea of producing a youth-empowered magazine and the future of Andaaz Magazine in the entertainment and fashion industry.
Eman: Can you tell us briefly about Andaaz Magazine? How did you come up with the initiative? What message do you wish to denote to your readers through Andaaz Magazine?
CEO: Being a youth-empowered magazine, Andaaz Magazine has four main categories. Fitness, Lifestyle, self-development, and Pakistani art. It is a magazine by the youth for the youth! Every month different members of the youth are selected for their work to be featured and recognized and appreciated! The initiative was created and put into action when the youth and its members decided that it is time for a change and that the future of this country lies in the hands of the youth. It was with this motivation and this mindset that a magazine was created, and we have not looked back ever since.
Our message has been the same since the creation of the first issue. We promote individuals to use #ApnaAndaaz in everything they do in life. When translated, this means my style in English. We promote individuals to use their own style when doing any task in life. In a nutshell, we promote individuals to be themselves.
Eman: Where will we see Andaaz Magazine 5 years from now? Do you plan on publishing the magazine internationally?
CEO: We are grateful to say that the magazine has subscribers in London, New York, San Francisco, and Dubai! Though no one can predict the future, no harm ever came from hoping for the better! In 5 years from now, I see our magazine with a larger International and national reach, forever inspiring the Youth from countries around the world to be their own person! In 5 years time, I would want to look back at the project I created with no regrets and Pride that I played a role in the development of my country.
Eman: In your opinion, what is youth empowerment? What initiatives can we, the better as responsible citizens of a community, can take to ensure the youngsters of this generation can have a safe and educational world to grow up in?
CEO: This definition varies from person to person. Personally, it is felt that youth empowerment is any action or any such incident or moment that inspires a member of the youth to take a look within and do what they love, may it be painting, running, drawing, or anything in life. Youth empowerment is when not an entire movement but just one person is enough to create a change.
Unfortunately, in our society, the youth and its power are not taken seriously, and the only people who can change this mindset are the seniors of the community. Change always starts from within. Apart from requesting the government to create better education systems and resources for the youth, we can use the resources we have today. For example, using social media and friend groups to spread inspirational and positive messages that provoke the fire in the hearts of the youth.
This is the same fire that means to be ignited for action to take place, then one ignition spreads from one heart to another heart and soon becomes a wildfire that stands firm in its thoughts and beliefs.
Eman: There aren’t many youth empowering magazines and media outlets in today’s society. Teens are taught less to focus on real-world issues and focus more on things that will likely not help them think outside the box. What is your take on that?
CEO: When starting this project, there was one promise I made to myself, not only as a founder but as being a simple member of today’s youth. I had promised myself that Andaaz would never focus on the scandalous lives of celebrities. It would never chronicle who’s cousin got engaged to, where they got engaged, what her favorite color is Etc. Etc. Even though today’s magazines get most of the publicity while focusing on issues that are far, far away from developing society.
When talking about the mindset of the youth, it is very important to remember that they take inspiration from the world around them. If their parents or elders, along with their peers, encourage them to focus on things that will not help them think outside the box then they will have no choice but to follow that very mindset until it becomes a routine. I completely agree with the above statement and that is one of the main reasons why this project exists today.
Eman: I have seen you promoting the Top 10 Under 20 businesses of youngsters all over Pakistan, which is an immensely impactful initiative. How did you come up with the idea? Do you believe that youngsters, in today’s day and age, don’t get the recognition they deserve in the mainstream media?
CEO: Thank you so much for your kind words. The top ten under 20 lists were inspired by the lists of other magazines, for example, BBCs list of 100 most influential people and 30 under 30. Yet, as with everything about our magazine, it was customized for the youth!
In today’s day and age, youngsters do NOT get the recognition they deserve as they are looked down upon because of their young age. This is just one of the reasons why the magazine came into being. To give back to individuals, especially members of the youth, a chance to be recognized and the feeling of being appreciated.
Eman: In Andaaz Magazine’s previous issues, you have explored some of the more intriguing topics, such as mental health and emotional transformation. What themes can we expect from the upcoming issues? Is there a specific theme that you really wish to bring forth and discuss?
CEO: Our themes of the month depending on what time of the year it is and what major event has taken place in the world that needs to be discussed. For example, the November 2020 issue mainly focused on change and rebirth as the year was ending, and it seemed to be the perfect time to look back at the past and learn from it. Another theme was one of moving on, which needs to be done in order to learn from the past in a constructive manner.
Eman: Do you believe we have a lack of educational media content for the youth in South-Asia? Why or why not?
CEO: Yes, I do strongly believe that we have a lack of educational media and knowledge, specifically for the youth in South Asia. The reason I believe this is because I myself am a member of the youth. To date, I have not come across an outlet for the youth where I can successfully and openly express my inner feelings without there being the need for any edits or any censorship on a certain topic.
Eman: Can you tell us a little more about the December 2020 issue of the Andaaz Magazine?
CEO: Personally, the December 2020 issue is one of my favorite issues yet, it is the perfect balance of looking towards the future yet still holding a link to the past. This December 2020 issue proudly uses
half the resources as the before issues,
half the water,
half the plastic,
half the electricity and,
half the paper. Therefore, it is half the size as well.
This was an attempt by the team to be more sustainable and reduce the carbon footprint of the magazine. Our top 10 under 20 list was extended to top 20 under 20 to make up for the individual that we were unable to take in our issues in the year before.
We felt this was necessary as our magazine stands for inclusion. And we simply could not have ended the year without knowing that we have made all necessary efforts to include everyone in our magazine.
Eman: Did you come up with Andaaz Magazine’s idea all on your own, or is someone else working with you as a founder too?
CEO: The idea of launching a magazine was created at 6:04 AM while I was sitting in Quetta, Balochistan, and enjoying the freezing weather. Safe to say, I was alone. (hahaha) I have my team heads who do work assigned. But as far as creating the magazine, there is only one founder.
Eman: If you could meet your younger self right now, what would you tell her? Will she be accomplished with all the things you’ve accomplished so far?
CEO: I would tell her to visit Quetta more often.
I’ve come a long way, but I still have a long, long way to go. Andaaz was something that was never on my bucket list. Something that was on my bucket list since I was a child was to make a change, to give back, and to leave an impact, be it only on one person or be it on an entire community. And as long as I worked with complete honesty and a clean heart, the younger, wilder me would be proud.
Eman: What advice would you like to give to all the young content creators out there who are struggling to get their voices heard?
CEO: Hang in there, nothing lasts forever, not even the bad times.
Andaaz Magazine: A place where dreams come true, a platform to get your voice heard, a platform for change, a platform for inspiring the youth, and a platform for the betterment of Pakistan.