Zara Abid

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Zara Abid
Zara Abid Ali

(1992-04-04)4 April 1992[1]
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Died22 May 2020(2020-05-22) (aged 28)[2]
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Cause of deathPlane crash
OccupationModel, actress
Modeling information
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[3]
Hair colorBlack[3]
Eye colorBrown[3]

Zara Abid (Urdu: زارا عابد‎‎; 4 April 1992 – 22 May 2020) was a Pakistani model and actress.[4][5] She has been featured in various photoshoots.[5] She made her film debut in Chaudhry, directed by Azeem Sajjad.[6]

She was one of the passengers who died aboard PIA Flight 8303, which crashed in Karachi, Pakistan, on 22 May 2020.[7][2]

Personal life[edit]

Zara Abid was born on 4 April in Lahore, Punjab.[3] She grew up and resided in Karachi with her family and completed her schooling at St. Patrick's Girls High School, before graduating with a bachelor's degree and going into show business.[3]

Modeling career[edit]

As a fashion icon, she was known for her tall height and tanned complexion, which made her stand out in an industry dominated by lighter-skin models.[3][4][5] According to Abid, when she started modeling, she faced discrimination in being hired, allegedly due to her looks and skin colour. However, she stated she worked her way up and received opportunities on the basis of her professional skills and talent.[5] She was described as "stunning and utterly unapologetic" about her color.[8] According to a makeup artist who worked with her, Abid embodied the "dusky skin colour" of the majority of Pakistani women, and one of her makeup campaigns became a bestseller because it captured that.[9]

One of her photoshoots by a salon for the magazine Hello Mag in 2019,[10] in which she was styled with a skin tone many shades darker than her own, evoked controversy for allegedly promoting "blackface" and cultural misappropriation, and was perceived by critics as racist.[11][4][5] Abid had shared the pictures on her personal Instagram account.[12] The posts were noted to have received backlash and trolling.[13] Abid defended her photoshoot, stating the point was to empower darker-skinned women and send a message on their lack of representation; she also called out the "colourism" that allegedly existed in society, questioning why she was being criticised for adopting a dark profile when in numerous other photoshoots, she had been purposefully presented in lighter tones.[5]

The designer brands for which she had modeled include Sana Safinaz, Wajahat Mansoor, Annus Abrar, Zaheer Abbas, Deepak and Fahad, Payal Keyal, Alkaram, Gul Ahmed, Kayseria, Dhanak, Rang Ja, Generation, Republic Women's Wear, and Hussain Rehar.[3][14] She appeared in television commercials, such as for Zong 4G.[3]

Film and television[edit]

Abid began her acting career with her debut role in the upcoming film Chaudhry, directed by Azeem Sajjad and written by Zeeshan Junaid.[6] The film is a biopic about slain police officer Chaudhry Aslam Khan, in which Abid plays a college student.[15] Talking about her role in an interview, Abid said it was very much relatable to her real-life persona, adding that "the character is really strong and I didn’t think twice before saying yes. The script was narrated to me over the phone and I immediately agreed."[16] She began shooting for the film in December 2018.[17] The film is expected to be released in 2020.[18]

On 16 January 2019, she appeared as a guest on the late night television comedy show Mazaaq Raat.[19] On 24 May 2020, her first and only short film Sikka was uploaded to YouTube two days after her death as a tribute.[20] Abid portrays two female characters whose lives are polar opposites in terms of wealth and social status; yet, despite never crossing paths and living very differently, they share similar trials and struggles as women in society. The film does not have dialogue and is narrated in third person by Saba Qamar.[20]


On 22 May 2020, Abid was amongst the passengers of the PIA Flight 8303,[2] which crashed while on final approach for landing near the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi; she was said to be returning to the city after attending her uncle's funeral in Lahore.[21][22] A flight manifest released by PIA showed her name on the list of passengers.[23] Ninety-seven deaths were reported from the 99 people on board,[24] and she was not reported as one of the survivors.[21][14] She had been modeling for clothing brand Sana Safinaz at the time when she had to reportedly leave for Lahore.[25] Some initial reports claimed she had survived the accident.[26] After the crash, Abid's brother told the media that her family were still looking for her at the hospital where the injured were admitted, and that they were waiting for an update from authorities.[27] Her brother appealed to stop the spread of fake news regarding the matter.[26]

Tributes started to appear on social media as soon as news of the plane accident broke.[28] Many celebrities from the fashion and entertainment industries expressed their condolences when her death was confirmed.[14][29][30] Abid was also the target of online abuse from many people for what she used to wear and her lifestyle choices, leading to her accounts on social media platforms being deactivated.[31][32][33]

Awards and nominations[edit]

In January 2020, Abid won an award in the category of "Best Female Model" at the 4th Hum Style Awards.[34] She was also named in the "Top 100 People" list by Hello! magazine's Pakistan edition.[35]


  1. ^ "Zara Abid". Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Mehwish Hayat mourns death of Zara Abid in plane crash". 23 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Zara Abid Ali". Medium. 1 December 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Nabila, Zara Abid defend photo-shoot being called out for promoting blackface". The Express Tribune. 27 July 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Model Zara Abid defends latest photoshoot depicting blackface". Dawn. 27 July 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Model Zara Abid is making her film debut with Azeem Sajjad's Chaudhry". Dawn. 7 November 2018. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  7. ^ Kirwin-Jones, Ellie (22 May 2020). "Zara Abid: Famous model feared among dead in Pakistan International Airlines plane crash". Express. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Stop shaming". Dawn. 29 July 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  9. ^ Lodhi, Rida (28 May 2020). "Gone too soon: Fashion industry remembers Zara Abid". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  10. ^ "It's 2019 and Pakistan's fashion industry still thinks it's okay to use blackface". Dawn. 30 July 2019. Retrieved 24 May 2020.; "Zara Abid and stylist Tabesh Khoja respond to the backlash over their latest shoot". The News. 28 July 2019. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  11. ^ Rehman, Maliha (25 August 2019). "Style: The Politics Of Colour". Dawn. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  12. ^ Zakaria, Rafia (31 July 2019). "Dark and lovely". Dawn. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Nabila, Zara Abid defend photoshoot under fire for 'promoting blackface'". The Nation. 28 July 2019. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  14. ^ a b c "Celebs remember Zara Abid as she passes away in plane crash". Dawn. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  15. ^ Shirazi, M. (March 2020). "She's Just A Girl, And She's On Fire!". The News. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Zara Abid to star in film on slain officer Chaudhry Aslam Khan". The Express Tribune. 7 November 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  17. ^ Shirazi, Maria (16 December 2018). "Zara Abid begins shooting for her debut film, Chaudhry". The News. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  18. ^ Shirazi, Maria (16 September 2019). "Zara Abid talks about her role in upcoming biopic, Chaudhry". The News. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  19. ^ Mazaaq Raat (16 January 2019). "Usman Mukhtar & Zara Abid". Dunya News. Retrieved 23 May 2020 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ a b "Watch: Zara Abid's debut short film 'Sikka' hits YouTube". The Express Tribune. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  21. ^ a b Mandhro, Sameer (22 May 2020). "Zara Abid not on the current list of crash survivors: Health Department". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  22. ^ "'Model Zara Abid was aboard the PIA flight PK 8303 that crashed in Karachi'". The News. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Supermodel Zara Abid was onboard PIA flight PK-8303". Geo News. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  24. ^ "At least 66 killed as plane with 99 onboard crashes into residential area near Karachi airport". Dawn. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  25. ^ Pallavi, Krishna Priya (22 May 2020). "Pakistani model Zara Abid feared dead in PIA plane crash". India Today. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  26. ^ a b Asher, Saira (26 May 2020). "Zara Abid: Model presumed dead in Pakistan plane crash abused online". BBC News. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  27. ^ Irfan-ul-Haq (23 May 2020). "Model Zara Abid presumed dead in PIA plane crash". Dawn. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  28. ^ Hicks, Amber (22 May 2020). "Model Zara Abid feared dead after plane carrying 107 people crashes in Pakistan". The Mirror. Retrieved 22 May 2020.; "Tributes to Zara Abid with fears top model among dead in Pakistan plane crash". Daily Star. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  29. ^ "'Ertugrul' star Esra Bilgic offers condolences to Zara Abid's fans and family". The News. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  30. ^ "Celebrities mourn, share fond memories of Zara Abid". Samaa News. 24 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  31. ^ "Celebrities mourn, share fond memories of Zara Abid". BBC. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  32. ^ "A model presumed dead in a passenger plane crash is being slut-shamed online by hardline conservatives in Pakistan". Insider. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  33. ^ "Model killed in plane crash trolled online for leading immoral life". 9News. 27 May 2020. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  34. ^ "Everyone who took home a trophy at the Hum Style Awards last night". Dawn. 26 January 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  35. ^ "'Zara Abid embraced her dark-skin, she fought for it'". The Express Tribune. 29 May 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.