Without a doubt, social media is now the source of all new information. This new medium has it all, from breaking news to original content. It has also become a great source of entertainment, spawning content creators all over the world. Pakistan, on the other hand, does not lack such talent.
With the popularity of social media apps like TikTok and Instagram, Gen-Z and some millennials have seized the opportunity to make a name for themselves. Gone are the days when aspiring actors would queue for hours to audition for a role only to have it taken by an A-lister. Romaisa Khan, who also won the Most Entertaining Instagram Celebrity Award at PISA 2021, is one such social media sensation.
Romaisa talked to The Express Tribune about her first job in the entertainment industry, the rise of content creators during the pandemic, and much more. To begin, Romaisa is the daughter of Tanveer Ahmed Khan, a well-known comedian and writer. “My father was a stand-up comedian who performed on stage. He also worked as a writer for television. He’s also done a lot of work in India, where he performed and wrote skits for Comedy Cirus.” And it’s for this reason that Romaisa believes she knew what she was up to.
She began acting at the age of three. She appeared in several TV commercials and began recreating videos on an app called Dubsmash when she was 14 years old, which was all the rage in the mid-2010s. She then moved on to Musically and, eventually, TikTok. But it wasn’t until she was 16 that her friends persuaded her to make her account public, and she hasn’t looked back since. She currently has over 2 million Instagram followers and over 6 million TikTok followers.
Cinemas all over the world were forced to close due to Covid. While international markets and Bollywood moved to over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and others, Pakistan’s entertainment industry struggled to keep up, owing to a lack of OTT platforms in the country. That’s where content creators stepped up during the pandemic, boosting their following in the process. Romaisa offered her two cents on the subject, saying, “It’s true that Covid assisted us in some ways, and we were able to reach out to the masses.” During peak-Covid in 2020, I reached 1 million Instagram followers.”
Her PISA win was significant for her career as a content creator, but it was unexpected. “It was unexpected,” she exclaimed, “because I was up against a lot of big names.” But, thanks to Allah, I was victorious.”
This success, understandably, came with a lot of pressure – and, of course, industry competition. There were times when Romaisa was not in the mood to create content, but it was the love of her fans that propelled her to consistently deliver exceptional content. “There’s a lot of competition in the world of social media content creation, but it’s healthy competition,” she explained.
There are a lot of new content creators who are doing some amazing work, and I try to promote them as well.”
Romaisa has also appeared in a number of dramas and is set to make her feature film debut in John, which also stars Aashir Wajahat. “Both of them have their perks,” the aspiring actor continued when asked which medium she prefers. My first love is acting, so I enjoyed filming dramas. However, I enjoy the creative freedom that comes with content creation.”
One might assume that TikTok’s on-again, off-again ban has wreaked havoc on content creators who rely on it for supplemental income.
Romaisa, on the other hand, didn’t have as much of a problem because she quickly switched to Instagram and YouTube videos. She attributes her success to social media applications because she believes it is a medium through which creators can directly connect with audiences – based on what they want to watch and free of the beauty standards that many people expect in movies and television. In terms of the ban, she believes that rather than outright banning an application, community guidelines should be established and actively followed.
So, what’s next in store for Romaisa? Will she make the switch to mainstream entertainment now that John has come out? Will she stop creating content? “While evolution takes time, I believe social media will soon become mainstream.” But that’s just my point of view. Our TV stars are already adapting to social media, vlogging on YouTube, and making TikToks, as evidenced by their use of social media. In terms of myself, I’d like to do more films and dramas while also improving my content. I’d like to make short films someday, but I’m certain I’ll never stop creating social media content.”