We live in a tough world where every day one struggles to cope. Where earlier, we weren’t very connected, the advancement in technology has brought us to a stage where we can now read, or watch on TV about people who are nothing but pure motivation; inspires you wish to follow, and lead lives like.
HIP had the honour of sitting down and having a heart to heart talk with one such person – Nazish Chagla, certified nutrionist, director projects/marketing director of the Hobnob group, stylist at Curl Studio and the online group Curl Talk Pakistan, and a mother of two boys. We sat at Ne’cos and had a pleasant chat to learn more about this multi-talented woman.
HIP started off by thanking Nazish for giving us this opportunity and time from her busy schedule, to which she humbly replied that it was she who was thankful for us choosing her for this project. And then, we dwelved head on into finding out how she started.
Nazish: Basically, I studied advertising design from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. I did about 8 years in advertising and was very fortunate to work with the top 3 agencies in the country, with amazing clients like Pepsi and Mobilink. 5 years in though, I began to get bored, and started randomly doing things that might spark my interest, like designing clothes etc. Even though, I was in a creative field, I felt there was something missing. This was around the time, I had my first born, and the hours were crazy! So, I decided to cut back on the time. Around this time, Amina Sheikh (a great school friend of mine) found out I had quit, and invited me help her with some work with her which involved some brand ambassoderships and her film contracts. Amina was very interested in organic stuff, and when we came to Ne’cos to strike a deal between them, the owner, Mrs. Neelofer Syed randomly caught me laughs and asked me what I did. Upon my answering, they offered me a job here! This was about 7 years ago.
My interest towards health awareness came 10 years ago, when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. You always relate terminal illness to substance abuse or other factors like being overweight. But when you look at my mum, who has cooked almost every meal at home for us and was a relatively healthy person, who ate well, slept well, it got me into thinking as to what had actually happened. Where did, not illness…but unwellness, actually come from?
When my first child was born, I was very particular about him, what he ate, when he slept, making sure I cooked every single meal for him my self. So incidentally, when the owner at Ne’cos met me, they realized I was a perfect fit for them, since their total ethos is the organic. Then when I started cooking in the kitchen my self, my interest towards nutrition grew, and that’s when I got my self a certification.
So, one thing actually just connected with each other, and I gradually moved ahead. Also working at Ne’cos was far more rewarding for my conscience as well, since I knew about the adulteration involved in the food I marketed, since when I worked with the advertising agencies. I work passionately at Ne’cos, since its ideology is so close to my heart. The connection with nutrition also immediately rings in, because I also love to work with people, and that has been particularly rewarding, Alhamdullilah, being a health coach.
I feel like now I’m making a difference. It’s very humbling, especially when people come up and tell me, “Thank God we found you”. Initially, I actually think quite out of disbelief, “What are you saying!”, and then I realize how blessed I am.
HIP: How did you get involved in the Curl Studio?
Nazish quite jubilant: Oh the Curl Studio! I’ve always been a curly girl, but I never knew exactly what to do with it. I wasn’t ever into intense personal care either. Then a friend of mine saw me, while rushing my child out from one of his classes. She wanted me to follow a method she had been experimenting with, and I actually just put my palm up and said, ‘Dude! Do you actually know how much I had to get done before coming here. I don’t have time for this!’ But she was persistent, and she added me to the group online. For a few months, I just read the files, and since I was already using nothing but organic products, since after my mother’s illness, I was willing to accept the method, since it eradicates environmental toxins, too.
Then I give credit to Komal Malik, Amna Soomro, Alveena Zaheer, Javeria Abbasi, Saher Arshad, for inspiring me. We were just 6-8 girls who are living in Pakistan, started a Whatsapp group, and there we would share products and our experiences with each other. We would share pictures, and just them commending me, my hair, was very encouraging. I bonded especially with Komal, because in her I found my curl twin, since our hair would love the same products! And now, we are more than just great friends.
HIP: How do you manage your time with all this?
Nazish: I’m very blessed to have a lot of support where my children are concerned. My husband is my biggest support. Without him, there is nothing. He is really hands on with my sons. Then of course, my parents, my mother and father-in-law, and not to forget, their phuppo, who is like a second mother to them! I can forget them for hours, and not worry about them.
I get up at the crack of dawn, and have them fed and ready for school, and then leave for work. Then 5 hours later, I bring them home, have lunch and get their homework and other activities done, make them have dinner, before I return to work again for my nutrition sessions. My day at work ends up around 10:30.
HIP (overwhelmed): Doesn’t that require a lot of energy?
Nazish: Yeah, but I think if you take good care of yourself, eat on time and have a nutritionally balanced diet, its manageable. I eat smaller meals at shorter intervals (because there’s such little time) with lots of vegetables (digests faster).
HIP: Your best and worst memory.
Nazish: So many great memories! Best memories: unconditional love from my children, and their achievements. There is no greater love than that in the world. Also, going back to school and studying to be a nutrionalist. Stimulating my mind, has made me do, I think, all of this, because I love learning new things.
My worst memory was when my mother was diagnosed with cancer, but it changed my life. I always ask my self what I learnt from each experience in life, and that one made a huge difference. It made me who I am today.
HIP: What’s your take on Keto or any focused diet?
Nazish: I’m not a great proponent of any diet that eliminates any food group completely. That’s why I like the Mediterranean diet, which has less of the bad and more of the good. Keto, was historically a therapeutic diet that was focused on countering illness. I do promote it though, when it comes to reversing diseases like non-alcoholic fatty disease, obesity, PCOs, heart disease etc. Keto has proven to reverse these diseases, especially since it was designed to fight Alzheimer’s. I feel it’s better to educate, and advise my clients, rather than stand up and fight against their choices, though.
HIP: Who is your most inspirational person?
Nazish: So many. First, my mum, a huge inspiration. I never realized my strength came from her. My daadi, she had incredible wisdom and was always put together, even though she went through a lot in life. My phuppo, an M.A. in Literature, when even the men weren’t going for Masters. And so creative too, stitching, knitting, macramé etc I think I get my drive from. My boss, Mrs. Neelofer Syed, is like my godmother. She has taught me a lot. She has ingrained everything into how I do things daily. All women incidentally laughs.
HIP: What quality do you admire in others?
Nazish: Resilience; the quality for them to pick themselves, no matter what. Also not approaching every single thing with emotion is something I really, truly admire in people.
HIP: What are you most thankful for?
Nazish: So many things, but first and foremost, my family.
HIP: What do people misinterpret/ misunderstand about you?
Nazish: I have foot-in-mouth disease. I can’t filter. I will say what’s on my mind, so people will either find that very entertaining, respect the fact that I’m honest, and some will get offended, thinking I’m too strong or imposing.
HIP: Which part of being Nazish Chagla do you enjoy the most?
Nazish: I think I love my ability to live the moment and stay focused on my current task.
HIP: Advice for those looking for good nutrition? Nazish: Educate yourself. Make sure you know why something is good or bad. Knowledge is power.
HIP: Advice for those looking for good hair?
Nazish: Healthy proteins, lots of good fats, (specifically for curls) a lot of CGM (Curly Girl Method) practices like not brushing your hair (with a comb or brush) and hydrating your hair with regular oiling. Just take care of it. I’ve realized that the moment you take care of something, whether it’s your hair or your body, it will flourish. Love it and it will love you back.
HIP: Advice as a person/motivator?
Nazish: If you realize, that if you really want something with all your heart, then do try going for it. Start small and move towards it. If you fail, keep trying. If you love it, it will never feel like a chore.
With those final motivating words, HIP parted ways with Nazish Chagla, truly feeling inspired, and serenely content.