NAYAB HUSSAIN is an actress born in Pakistan and raised in NY. After completing her Doctorate of Pharmacy, she took a leap of faith and moved back to New York to resume her career as an actress, while working as a full time pharmacist. Nayab has worked on several TV shows and films, such as Law & Order: SVU, Veep, and God Friended Me. Most recently, Nayab worked on the Lifetime TV Movie Death Saved My Life and the new Queen Latifah show, The Equalizer.
Nayab’s goal is to break the mold and defy stereotypes that have defined Muslim women in the world, as she has been able to do in real life. She hopes this will inspire the next generation of Muslim children to open their minds and hearts to the arts, and to not be afraid of Log Kya Kahenge (what people will say).
Becoming an Artist
Growing up as a Muslim girl of Pakistani descent, there are three things in life you can do: be a doctor, an engineer, or marry one!
As the first-born child of immigrant parents from Pakistan, there were a lot of expectations placed on my shoulders to be successful in any of those three areas; I decided from a very young age that none of those were really my cup of chai. What I wanted to be was an artist. So when my mom saw me on SVU and I said my one line, she asked, “That’s it? Why haven’t you done more?”
From South Asian parents, that’s probably the equivalent of “Way to go! Keep at it.”
My journey has always been filled with the words “log kya kahenge?” (what will people say?) I think these words define the South Asian child growing up - steering them in the direction of least resistance.
Despite the warm words of encouragement, I completed my Doctorate in Pharmacy and practiced as a pharmacist for over 10 years. I love being a clinical pharmacist – helping people with their health issues and encouraging them to heal. But acting is what makes my heart sing.
I am ambitious, outspoken (while being diplomatic) and empathetic– think Mariska Hargitay meets Sarita Choudhry. Always pragmatic and definitely warm, with a hint of sarcasm, I am your no-nonsense professional with a compassionate heart. I have a strong work ethic and know how to read a room.
As an artist, I want to inspire the next generation of Muslim children to open their minds and hearts to the arts and not be afraid of Log Kya Kahenge. To have the strength to tell our stories without the fear of becoming caricatures. To add our voice to the narrative and not be afraid of losing it.
Let's discover where the journey will take us.