Interview With Motorcycle Girl: Zenith Irfan

Zenith Irfan is famous for breaking all stereotypes by going around the northern areas of Pakistan on her motorbike. ‘Pakistan’s Boundary-Breaking Girl’ according to CNN, Zenith Irfan is the real person behind the film Motorcycle Girl.

What is the story behind your motorcycle adventures?

It all started from a simple dream. My father was a hardcore adventure enthusiast. He had a dream to join a band as a guitarist, compose music and travel the world on a motorcycle. 

Unfortunately, he couldn’t accomplish all of this as he passed away at the age of 34. I was ten months old at the time of his death. 

Throughout my life, I have always wondered how my father was. What he must have dreamt about? What must have been his passions? It was during this quest to know him that I discovered my father wanted to embark on a motorcycle world trip. 

I decided to accomplish this dream of his and that is how I was introduced to the world of adventure and motorcycles. 

In the process of trying to fill in a blank space in my life, I found my own self, my passions and the strength I had within me to empower. I believe, my father gifted me the ability to discover and dream. 

How often do you go travelling on your motorcycle?

I travel every year for around a month or two. 

What in your view is woman empowerment?

Self-discovery. I believe empowerment is a macro term. Every individual regardless of their gender are empowered. It’s all about “self-discovery”. If a person doesn’t have the ability to see through themselves, know what they are capable of and have the self-confidence, then, regardless of who they are, they can never be empowered. 

What is your take on feminism?

To be honest, Pakistanis (including myself) have a widely misunderstood perception on feminism. I personally believe, feminism is about both genders not just women. If you ask me, I would ask all organizations and groups propagating to empower people to start from grass root level.

We need to educate both genders equally.

We need to establish self-grooming institutions in villages. Marching and chanting for rights will barely result in progressive results. Taking a production and solid action is what will bring the real change needed in our society. 

A film called ‘motorcycle girl’ was made on you. Do you think it depicted the true essence of your life?

Around 70-80% of the film was ficitonalized for cinema purposes. All the traveling parts were true.

The film’s main aim was to use my story as the center pilot and craft a struggle of an everyday woman in Pakistan. 

What problems did you face during your adventures?

You will be surprised to hear this but I did not face a lot of challenges. Much of the challenge came from my own mind – the fear inside me. I had to befriend my monsters and come in terms with my inner securities. It’s a mind game.

You can be the greatest motorcycle rider of the world but if you are fearful, you will never find the strength to push the throttle.

Much of the challenge came from my own mind – the fear inside me. I had to befriend my monsters and come in terms with my inner securities. It’s a mind game. You can be the greatest motorcycle rider of the world but if you are fearful, you will never find the strength to push the throttle.

Do you think Pakistan is becoming open to these kind of ventures or do we still have a very long way to go?

Yes! Pakistan has a lot of potential in terms of tourism. The government has finally taken productive steps to facilitate tourists and travelers.

What sort of beauty regime do you follow?

I have two beauty regimes: one when I am traveling and second, when I am not.

When I travel, I exfoliate a lot every alternate day. Showering everyday is a must (depending on water availability). I always condition my hair and make sure I apply a mask whenever I have the time, to detox from the dust and dirt. 

When I am at home, I usually exfoliate every other day with a homemade rice mask. I generously apply mositurizer and always clenase my skin after shower with either micellar water or eskinol. I also scrub my body with homemade scrubs and oil my hair before every wash. 

What is your favourite style or what kind of clothes do you like to wear? 

Casual and simple. I am not a very fashionable person. A white/black shirt with jeans and light jewelry is my sense of style. 

I see that you meet a lot of local kids when you go to the northern areas, is there any specific story you would like to share with us? 

Every child has a unique story to tell.

I once met children in KPK who were living in houses made of makeshift hay and wood.

Most of their houses were destroyed because of severe land sliding and heavy rainfall but despite all this, they were very welcoming and continues to laugh and smile. 

What is your message to the world out there?Especially young people who want to go traveling?

Why wait? You will always wait for that one day to come so that you can do this or that. But seize the world now! Find the time to go to that one trip you always wanted to take.

Find time for yourself, love yourself and never let anyone else tell you that you’re not worth it.

High valued individuals never need someones else’s approval or attention. Be a high valued individual. 

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All images credited to Zenith Irfan

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