Jemima Khan at the GAVI conference, 2011
|Born||Jemima Marcelle Goldsmith
30 January 1974
Westminster, London, England
|Other names||Jemima Khan|
|Alma mater||University of Bristol
|Spouse(s)||Imran Khan (m. 1995; div. 2004)|
|Parent(s)||Sir James Goldsmith
Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart
|Relatives||Zac Goldsmith (brother)
Ben Goldsmith (brother)
Clio Goldsmith (cousin)
Jemima Marcelle Goldsmith (//; also known, since her first marriage, as Jemima Khan; born 30 January 1974) is a British-Pakistani journalist and campaigner. She is an associate editor of New Statesman and European editor-at-large for Vanity Fair.
Early life and education
Born in London's Westminster Hospital, Jemima Marcelle Goldsmith is the eldest child of Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart and financier Sir James Goldsmith. Her mother was from an Anglo-Irish family and her father, the son of luxury hotel tycoon and former Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Major Frank Goldsmith, who was a member of the prominent Goldsmith family, which was of Jewish and French background. Her parents had a polyamorous relationship in which they were married to different partners but, in 1978, they married to legitimise their children. Goldsmith has two younger brothers, Zac Goldsmith and Ben Goldsmith, and five paternal and three maternal half-siblings, including Robin Birley and India Jane Birley.
Goldsmith grew up at Ormeley Lodge and attended the Old Vicarage preparatory school and Francis Holland School. From age 10 to 17, she was an accomplished equestrian in London. Goldsmith enrolled at the University of Bristol in 1993 and studied English, but dropped out when she was married in 1995. She eventually completed her bachelor's degree in March 2002 with upper second-class honours. In 2003, she received her MA in Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, focusing on Modern Trends in Islam.
Marriage to Imran Khan
Goldsmith married Imran Khan, a Pakistani cricketer, and philanthropist who later turned to politics, on 16 May 1995 in a traditional Islamic ceremony in Paris. They also had a civil ceremony on 21 June 1995 at the Richmond Register Office, followed by a midsummer ball at Ormeley Lodge. A few months before her wedding, she converted to Islam,  citing the writings of Muhammad Asad, Charles le Gai Eaton and Alija Izetbegović as her influences. In Lahore, Pakistan, she learned to speak Urdu and also wore traditional Pakistani clothes.
She stated that prior to her conversion to Islam, she was technically Anglican but "was made familiar with Jewish traditions", since her paternal grandfather Frank Goldsmith was German Jewish. During her marriage, her Jewish heritage was used by Imran Khan's political opponents to question their credibility in Pakistani politics, especially concerning accusations that they supported the Jewish lobby.
In 1999, she was charged in Pakistan with illegally exporting Islamic era antique tiles. She said that the charge was a fabrication to harass and damage her husband, but nevertheless left Pakistan to stay with her mother for fear of incarceration. After General Pervez Musharraf overthrew elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a coup d'état, in 2000, the Ministry of Culture and Archaeology verified the tiles were not antiques, and the Pakistani court dropped the charges, allowing her to return to Lahore.
She supported her husband as he became more involved in his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (a.k.a. "Justice Movement") party. Imran became a member of Pakistan's parliament in 2002 and has been a "vociferous critic of President Pervez Musharraf".
On 22 June 2004, it was announced that the couple had divorced ending the nine-year marriage because it was "difficult for Jemima to adapt to life in Pakistan". The marriage ended amicably. Imran has said the six months leading to the divorce and the six months after were the hardest year of his life. After the divorce Jemima returned to Britain with the former couple's two sons; according to the divorce settlement Khan's boys visit him in Pakistan during their school holidays while he stays with his former mother-in-law, Lady Annabel Goldsmith, when he comes to London to see them. According to Jemima, Imran and she remain on good terms.
Although she had written articles when she lived in Pakistan, she started contributing to op-eds to England's newspapers and magazines including The Independent, The Sunday Times, The Evening Standard and the Observer. In 2008, she was granted an exclusive interview with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on the eve of the elections for The Independent. She was a Sunday Telegraph columnist from 21 October 2007 to 27 January 2008.
She was a feature writer and a contributing editor for British Vogue from 2008 to 2011. In 2011, she was appointed Vanity Fair's new European editor-at-large. She was also associate editor at The Independent.
In April 2011, she guest-edited the New Statesman and themed the issue around freedom of speech. She interviewed the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and included contributions from Russell Brand, Tim Robbins, Simon Pegg, Oliver Stone, Tony Benn, and Julian Assange, with cover art by Anish Kapoor and Damien Hirst. According to Nick Cohen in the Observer "Jemima Khan was by a country mile the best editor of the New Statesman that that journal has had since the mid-1970s". The magazine issue included "an unexpected scoop" from Hugh Grant who went undercover to hack Paul McMullan, a former News of the World journalist, who had been involved in hacking as a reporter. In November 2011, she joined as an associate editor of the New Statesman.
Film and Theatre
She was the executive producer for the BAFTA nominated documentary film We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks by Alex Gibney, released in 2013. She was also the co-executive producer for the documentary film, "Unmanned: America's drone wars" by Robert Greenwald released in 2013 and of Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars & Making A Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA released in 2016.
Khan co-produced the play Drones, Baby, Drones at the Arcola Theatre, directed by Nicolas Kent and Mehmet Ergen.
Khan founded Instinct Productions in 2016, a London based content company specializing in high quality TV, documentaries and film.
In 1998, Jemima launched an eponymous fashion label that employed poor Pakistani women to embroider western clothes with eastern handiwork to be sold in London and New York. Profits were donated to her husband's Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital. She ran the organisation until December 2001, when she shut down the business due to the economic situation following the September 11 attacks, and so she could focus on fundraising and on supporting her husband in Pakistani politics.
As voted by Daily Telegraph readers, she won the Rover People's Award for the best dressed female celebrity at the 2001 British Fashion Awards. She was also featured on Vanity Fair's Annual International Best-Dressed List in 2004, 2005 and 2007, the last of which she was inducted into their Best Dressed Hall of Fame.
She became an Ambassador for UNICEF UK in 2001, and went on field trips to Kenya, Romania, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the last of which she later helped victims of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake by raising emergency funds. She has promoted UNICEF's Breastfeeding Manifesto, Growing Up Alone and End Child Exploitation campaigns in the UK.
In 2003, she visited Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza to promote the charity Hope and Optimism for Palestinians in the Next Generation (HOPING).
She continues to support various charity efforts in Pakistan mostly from her organisation, the Jemima Khan Foundation. She also supports the Soil Association and the HOPING foundation for Palestinian refugee children.
In addition to charities, she campaigns for various social and political causes. In 2007, she set up the Free Pakistan Movement, where she, her family, friends and hundreds of protestors participated in three demonstrations outside Downing Street to protest the state of emergency in Pakistan, during which her former husband was incarcerated. In 2008, she received death threats from Islamic fundamentalists for supporting and speaking at the launch of the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based think tank that focuses on "counter-extremism", including preaching religious tolerance.
With John Pilger and Ken Loach, she was among the six people in Westminster Magistrates Court willing to post bail for Julian Assange when he was arrested in London on 7 December 2010. However, she later changed her mind about Assange, questioning his unwillingness to answer the sexual misconduct allegations which led to his arrest and what she described as his demand for "cultish devotion" from his supporters. The bail money was lost in June 2012 when a judge ordered it to be forfeited because Assange had sought to escape the jurisdiction of the British courts by entering the London embassy of Ecuador.
She has campaigned against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as for freedom of information; she attended Assange's extradition hearings and spoke at the Stop the War Coalition's rally in defence of Wikileaks alongside Tony Benn and Tariq Ali. In 2011, she also campaigned against the use of drones by the CIA in Pakistan's tribal areas.
In 2014, she publicly backed "Hacked Off" and its campaign towards UK press self-regulation by "safeguarding the press from political interference while also giving vital protection to the vulnerable." In August 2014, she was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.
Goldsmith has two sons from her marriage with Imran Khan: Sulaiman Isa (born 1996) and Qasim (born 1999), and retained Khan as her family name till December 2014 when her ex-husband remarried. On 29 December 2000, she and her family were on a British Airways jet to Kenya which was temporarily knocked off course and dived thousands of feet after a mentally ill passenger tried to seize controls in the cockpit. Her mother later said, "Jemima was frightened of flying even before the incident; she's petrified [now]". While she was married, she was described as being shy, but also modest, stylish and levelheaded.
Following her divorce in 2004, she returned to London and later became involved in a romantic relationship with Hugh Grant. A 2005 article in the Evening Standard noted that "Jemima's profile" changed from "high during her first marriage" to "soaring since she became involved with Hugh Grant". Her relationship was scrutinised extensively by the tabloids, but a 2005 survey of London visitors favoured them as "the celebrity couple people would most like to show them round London". The relationship continued until February 2007 when Grant announced that they had "decided to split amicably". Grant's spokesman added that he "has nothing but positive things to say about Jemima."
In September 2013, The Daily Telegraph reported that she was dating British activist and actor Russell Brand. In 2014, rumours of an imminent engagement started to arise. In September, she and Brand separated. In October 2014, she announced she was changing her surname back to the original Goldsmith.
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Well, I have Pakistani citizenship and I have British citizenship, so I'm a dual national. I still have my roots in England, but I feel quite tied to Pakistan. I live here, my children go to school here. My life is in Pakistan now.
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