Ayesha Gilani

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Ayesha Gilani Ayesha Gilani is a television anchor, reporter and producer at Voice of America Urdu Service (U.S. State Department), for her primetime Pakistani television show called Kahani Pakistani (American tale), a magazine show which presents Americana to countries outside of the [U.S.] She is also Mrs. District of Columbia USA Earth 2016, a former Miss Pakistan World, an actor, model, emcee, writer and humanitarian.

Popular primetime TV show, Kahani Pakistani[edit]

Voice of America is the external broadcasting institution of the U.S. government. At Voice of America Urdu Service, Ayesha is a multimedia reporter, anchor, and producer with experience producing a primetime television show from start to finish, including anchoring, producing, writing, editing, and reporting. Kahani Pakistani, meaning Pakistani tale in Urdu, is a wildly popular infotainment magazine show which presents life in America from the point of view of someone who identifies with both Pakistan and America, dispelling myths to Pakistanis about America and Americans, and vice versa, and building bridges as a result. Through the show, Ayesha presents Americana from all angles. She draws on her experiences as a former Miss Pakistan World, and as a daughter of immigrants, bringing a wide variety of content to the show.

The show's success has been noted to have been, in large part, accrued to Ayesha's noted flair for compelling story telling and captivating interviewing. As a result, the show has been highly acclaimed and rated, returning numbers of 78 million unique viewers tuning in via television inside Pakistan alone. (Oct., 2014.) The show is also viewed via satellite and the internet globally.

Topics covered in the show range from the glitz and glam of places like Hollywood and its resident celebrities; to the heart-wrenching details of the daily grind of the less fortunate while visiting a group therapy session at a women-only homeless shelter in Washington, D.C.; to the flare and pomp of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week and the behind-the-scenes characters; to a philanthropic organization in inner-city Miami which works with super stars such as Lil' Wayne and Pitbull to use music to give underprivileged children tools for a successful future via its after school programs; from an 855-foot jump off of the Stratosphere tower in Las Vegas; to a former gambling addict who was incarcerated, lost her family, and then overcame her sickness to become the manager at a gambling addiction center in Vegas.

Mrs. District of Columbia USA Earth[edit]

Most recently, Ayesha has been crowned Mrs. District of Columbia USA Earth 2016, and will represent the capitol of the United States of America as she vies for the crown of Mrs. Earth USA.

Miss Pakistan World 2009[edit]

Ayesha won the title of Miss Pakistan World on June 27, 2009. There, she also won the title of Miss Congeniality. Her talent was a Raqs' al Sharqi (traditional Egyptian cabaret belly dance) performance she choreographed in which she emerged from a basket as a snake, and combined dance steps from ballet and merengue.

Other international beauty pageants[edit]

As Miss Pakistan World 2009, Ayesha has 9 international pageant titles, one of which made history as the first and only continental title for Pakistan to date—Beauty of Asia 2010 won in China.

Miss Pakistan World 2009 - Canada/Pakistan Winner/Queen Miss Congeniality 2009

Beauty of Asia 2010 - Beijing, China Title winner. First continental win in Pakistan’s history.

Miss Earth Pakistan 2009 - Philippines Third largest pageant in the world. Talent top ten. “Desenyo Pandi” traditional runway show winner. Media favorite; voted top 10 all 3 weeks of pageant. Miss Congeniality runner up

Miss Tourism Queen Pakistan 2009 - Shanghai, China Fifth largest pageant in the world. Miss Elegant runner up. Talent semifinalist.

Beauty of Pakistan 2010 - China Titleholder.

Miss Globe Pakistan 2010 - Turkey/Cyprus Titleholder.

International media coverage[edit]

In the media sphere, Ayesha has made her mark in many arenas, from walking the ramp as a showstopper at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, to writing beauty columns, to working with charities such as Becky's Fund and CDRS (Comprehensive Disaster Response Services). She has received extensive international exposure and has been featured in publications such as Vogue India, INK Magazine, Hello Magazine, Dawn News, and Khaleej Times.

Notable mentions[edit]

“Ayesha Gilani has shown an outstanding storytelling talent that enhances the appeal and the relevance of the stories that are basically sad and heart wrenching, sometimes. Good storytelling can sometimes mask the roughness of the content!”

Bageshwar Verma and Bob Long, Office of Performance Review, Global Strategy Group, May 22, 2014

"While the world has mostly had Pakistan on their minds for the [backlash] it is suffering from the Talibaan, some Pakistanis have made the international media for their talent, hard work and commitment. Ayesha Gilani is helping to promote 'the beautiful land of rich culture and traditions'.”

Dawn.com, "2009: The Year That Was," January 3, 2010

“A positive, intelligent, humble, beautiful, talented individual with an incredible work ethic: that’s how we describe Ayesha Gilani.”

Sapna Magazine, June 23, 2010

“Ayesha Gilani is what every Pakistani girl only dreams of being… Ayesha continues to prove to the people of Pakistan as well as to the world that she takes her field and work seriously and passionately. Set to travel the world, she takes up the challenge of changing preconceived notions of people about Pakistani women, thought to be oppressed and lackluster, through means of press conferences, conversations and friendships with fellow worldwide pageant queens and by personal example; she is indeed a true patriot.”

Ink Magazine, Jan-Mar 2011 Issue

“…Kahani Pakistani establishes a high benchmark for its production and presentation quality. It shows the talent of the service’s television team, and underscores the fact that excellence in content creation, versioning, and production is possible by using limited resources in a creative manner.”

Bageshwar Verma and Bob Long, Office of Performance Review, Global Strategy Group, May 22, 2014

"From fashion to philanthropy, to crowns, coaching and broadcasting, Ayesha has conquered her greatest fears -- as well as audiences around the globe."

Page 3 Magazine, Nov. 2014

Pageant coaching[edit]

Currently, Ayesha is also a judge for some of the world's most well-known pageants. There, she also trains aspiring pageant competitors to excel in pageants as well as in the workplace, and is the only Pakistani on the panels. Ayesha is also a professional pageant coach, and has coached three aspiring queens into pageant crowns.

Motivational speaker[edit]

Hoping to be a positive role model for women the world over, Ayesha also is a motivational speaker for young women from all walks of life, inspiring them to break free from the confines of expectations (whether societal or self-inflicted) and pursue their dreams, keeping in mind their own respective beliefs and values. Her goal is to conquer all one's fears and become the best version of oneself a woman dreams of being.

Personal life[edit]

Ayesha's parents migrated to the U.S., first settling in Miami in 1970. Her father worked and supported his new bride, received an education, and eventually would move to New Jersey where he'd go on to build the entire trading floor of Chase Manhattan Bank, and then to assume the role of Senior Vice President at Goldman Sachs' before retiring along with his wife. Ayesha was born and raised in New Jersey in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood called East Brunswick. After her father retired, Ayesha, along with her parents and siblings, relocated to Washington, D.C., where she resides today along with her husband, Randall, who is a documentary film maker and photographer.


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