Zara C. Churri on fame and what was uniquely powerful in Qandeel Baloch's quest for it

You know, a lot of people always ask me how I managed to lose all that weight in my late teens. What was it that drove me away from my one true love - the humble McDonalds of course - and towards a lifetime of looking and feeling ultra-modern-sexy? Usually, I tell people some bogus heartfelt tale about my love for fashion. Confession: it’s all lies, baby. The truth is that ever since I was a little girl, I was convinced that I was going to be famous. It was my only desire. At first, I wanted to be an international pop star like Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera (I just love them so much), but soon enough, it didn’t matter how. I wanted it so bad that I even made a deal with God that I would sacrifice love for fame (I’m paying for that now, trust me). Anyway, very recently I came to the conclusion that I may never be famous after all. And that hurts like a b***h.

Know this: I am a Genie in a Bottle. Yes, it’s true. I am awesome, beautiful and crazy. But I have this thing inside my soul (this terrible, awful thing) that stops me from being Dirrty. It stops me from exercising My Prerogative. It’s Toxic. Internal self-regulating shameful fear: I’m A Slave 4 U.

Unbowed by her many male critics, Qandeel Baloch fearlessly brought her
brand of diva to TV


It was all anybody could talk about: Bano was back from college with all her twisted perversions. Yes, the girl who had once falsely accused a teacher of sexual harassment simply for the sake of some fun was back. And this time, she wasn’t wearing any leggings. No, Bano had jumped on the Saturday night party wagon with bare legs and had already managed to stir up controversy by publicly getting wasted, throwing up on a new bride and falling into a ditch. This Saturday, I was going to witness it for myself. Therefore, I dressed to the nines and got ready to hit the hottest party in town - Sherdil’s summer birthday bash. However, as I made my way towards the front entrance of the venue, I saw what appeared to be a body lying flat on the lawn all by itself. Upon further inspection, I found a compromised Sherdil struggling to get up and out of a pool of his own vomit.

“Sherdil! Oh my God, what happened to you?”

“Oh, hi (burp) Zara. I...I fell over that rock!” he said, pointing to the top of the stairs that led to the entrance.

“Wait...you tripped and fell down all those stairs?” I asked, absolutely horrified.

“Huh? No...the rock. I tripped and fell over that rock...and stumbled...down the hill...”

“Those are stairs, you idiot, and you look like you need to go to the hospital! Where is everyone? Why isn’t anyone helping you, birthday boy?”

“Did I miss it?...uh, Bano (burp) was gonna dance to Oops I Did It Again.”

I had to look away. She had this power to make me - super liberal cosmopolitan me -
feel uncomfortable and out of place


Okay, so not everything a woman does can be considered empowerment. Honestly, I’d punch a b***h in the face if I saw her acting silly or giggly or naïve in front of guys (love me or hate me but you know you’ve seen some women do that). But Qandeel Baloch didn’t do that. She wasn’t a Snookie. No, she had that self-assured Kardashian spirit that made her do whatever she did with confidence rather than with frivolous stupidity (you know?). Like, she showed up on all these news shows and spoke with a strong voice. She was sexual and provocative, but she was never caught tripping over a rock, wasted, or giggling at obviously dumb jokes. I personally felt violated when I saw some of Baloch’s videos this past week. Like, I had to look away. She had this power to make me - super liberal cosmopolitan me - feel uncomfortable and out of place (hardcore, I know). Heck, the woman turned a selfie into a weapon. If that’s not talent, I don’t know what is.


“There are so many rules when it comes to how a woman should behave,” Madam Faiza said, putting out her cigarette on the bed of lettuce left over from her salad. “The way you dress, the way you talk, the way you eat or drink...” she trailed off, absolutely aware of (and highly amused by) the discomfort felt by all the waiters and customers at the restaurant. It was evident that everyone was completely turned off by her crude demeanour and incessant smoking. “No matter what you do, just remember one thing,” she continued, snapping her fingers and calling for the cheque. “Reputation is power. Good or bad, use it wisely and to your advantage.”  n

Zara C. Churri lives in Lahore