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I understand that Pakistan isn’t a trendsetting country. Meaning, we usually get inspired by other countries that set trends or come up with original ideas which we follow. I’m not saying that all shows/films/concepts are derived from things that Hollywood or Bollywood are doing, but mostly we do and I guess it’s okay as long as our interpretation is unique and distinct. Miss Veet Pakistan is clearly following a Western template when it comes to the show’s format; anyone who has seen America’s Next Top Model will agree with that. And there have been numerous shows that have been inspired by the famous series that ran for 22 successful seasons, with a 23rd cycle in the pipeline. But when one watches Miss Veet Pakistan, there is nothing Pakistani that screams out.

What is so Pakistani about the show? It’s inspired by a Western show, has been shot in Sri Lanka and has a model who can’t even speak Urdu and isn’t a Pakistani resident/citizen. We aren’t trying to sell patriotic rhetoric here but identifying the need for shows like Miss Veet Pakistan to have a unique selling point which it doesn’t right now.

What makes this lack of originality worse is the fact that the production quality of the show is shoddy even though we know that a lot of money was spent in making it. The fact that the entire show was shot in Sri Lanka, where the cast and crew stayed at a fancy resort for nearly three weeks, and has some very prominent names of the entertainment industry on board, such as Azfar Rehman, Tapu Javeri, Aamna Sheikh, Aisha Khan and Fayeza Ansari, points to the fact that Veet has heavily invested in the show. They even held a concert at Ocean Mall featuring Noori and Sara Haider as part of their promotions. The duo has also recreated Noori’s ‘Dil Ki Qasam‘ as the soundtrack for Miss Veet Pakistan. There is investment in brand building but no clear USP on the brand itself.

At this point, it seems that Veet doesn’t care much for doing anything original or intelligent. Perhaps the only thing done differently this time is that the show is looking for a brand ambassador and not a supermodel, which makes everything weirder considering the show is following the format of another show that looks for models. Even the challenges the contestants are being put through are model-based: fitness challenges, make-up challenges. The judges keep saying that they are looking for ‘well rounded personalities’ but then the contestants are judged on how quickly they can get their party make-up right. It would have been better to continue their hunt for models because a model needs to know everything about beauty and fashion. Veet claims to be looking for a brand ambassador but the message is extremely confused. A strong independent woman is one who can do her party make-up under 60 seconds?

Why does Miss Veet Pakistan have to be judged on how well she can paraglide over water in Sri Lanka? (This has not happened yet but based on a conversation we had with the creative minds behind the show, it’s to be expected.) How many Pakistani women will actually have to do extreme water sports in their lifetime?

The show is clearly confused and misguided and why wouldn’t it be when the people responsible for creating it are simply doing this to market their product? There are other branded shows that have done wonders for our entertainment industry, for instance, Coke Studio took a Western concept and revived Pakistan’s music industry. Nescafe Basement used another age old method and gave youngsters a platform to come forward. What is Miss Veet Pakistan doing for our industry? It used to introduce models to the fashion industry but it’s not even doing that anymore. That clearly shows that brands perhaps aren’t concerned with the industry, and we can’t blame them too much because at the end of the day, their job is to sell their product.

And the end of the day, it’s just mindless entertainment for those who consider this entertainment. Sort of like morning shows. Watching girls get judged on their looks and beauty is hardly progressive, in fact it does feed into objectifying them. So here’s a message for the producers: A Miss Veet Pakistan should have been promoted as a Pakistani role model not a wannabe foreigner.