Without a doubt, social media is the source of all new information. This new medium has it all, from breaking news to original programming. It has also grown in popularity as a source of entertainment, inspiring content creators all over the world. Pakistan, on the other hand, is not short on talent.
With the popularity of social media apps like TikTok and Instagram, Gen-Z and some millennials have taken advantage of 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 offered to an A-lister. Romaisa Khan, who won the Most Entertaining Instagram Celebrity Award at PISA 2021, is one of these social media sensations.
Romaisa discussed her first job in the entertainment industry, the surge of content creators during the pandemic, and much more with The Express Tribune. Romaisa Khan is the daughter of Tanveer Ahmed Khan, a well-known comedian and writer. “My father was a stand-up comedian who performed on stage.” As a writer for television, he also worked. He’s also performed and written skits for Comedy Cirus in India.” And it’s for this reason that Romaisa believes she knew what she was doing.
When she was three years old, she began acting. She appeared in several TV commercials and began recreating videos on the app Dubsmash when she was 14 years old, which was all the rage in the mid-2010s. She went on to Musically and then TikTok from there. Her friends persuaded her to make her account public when she was 16 years old, and she hasn’t looked back since. She currently has more than 2 million Instagram followers and more than 6 million TikTok followers.
Covid forced the closure of cinemas all over the world. While international markets and Bollywood moved to over-the-top (OTT) platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and others, Pakistan’s entertainment industry struggled to keep up, owing to a lack of OTT platforms. During the pandemic, this is where content creators stepped up, boosting their audience. “It’s true that Covid assisted us in some ways, and we got a chance to reach the masses,” Romaisa said. In 2020, during peak-Covid, I had a million Instagram followers.”
Her PISA victory was significant for her career as a content creator, but she had not expected it. “It was unexpected,” she exclaimed, “because I was up against so many big names.” But, by Allah’s grace, I’ve triumphed.”
This success, understandably, came with a great deal of pressure – and, of course, industry competition. There were times when Romaisa was not in the mood to create content, but the support of her fans kept her going. “In the world of social media content creation, there’s a lot of competition, 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 much as possible.”
Romaisa has also appeared in a number of dramas and is set to make her feature film debut with John, which will also star Aashir Wajahat. “Both have their perks,” she continued when asked which medium she prefers. I loved filming dramas because acting is my first love. However, I enjoy the creative freedom that content creation provides.”
One might assume that TikTok’s on-again, off-again ban has caused a slew of issues for content creators who rely on the platform for supplemental income.
Romaisa, on the other hand, found the transition to Instagram and YouTube videos to be much less of a hassle. 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 all the beauty standards that many people expect in movies and television. In terms of the ban, she believes that rather than outright banning an app, community guidelines should be established and actively followed.
So, how does Romaisa’s future look? Will she abandon content creation now that John is out? “While evolution takes time, I believe social media will soon eclipse traditional media.” That is, however, only my opinion. Our TV stars are already adapting, vlogging on YouTube and making TikToks. In terms of myself, I’d like to make more films and dramas while also improving my content. I’d like to make short films someday, but I’ll never stop creating social media content.”