It is always an honor for Saffron to be invited into what is, essentially, someone’s private space. We always end up meeting people who are warm and hospitable and Sidra Zia and Asif Mumtaz were no different.
When you come smack bang against genuine warmth, everything that follows after is effortless and organic.
One pleasant evening
One beautiful family
Numerous stunning pictures
One very happy magazine
The eldest of five sisters from a business and political family in Karachi, Sidra was born in Missouri, USA and spent her early years in Palo Alto, Silicon Valley. She attended New York University with a focus in fashion designing followed by a specialization in Laser and Aesthetics at Scottsdale, Arizona. After she got married, she lived in Princeton, which is where both her children were born. After spending a considerable amount of time there, she moved to Dubai in 2005 and the family has been here since.
On her current job profile: I’m the founder and Head of Aesthetics at Cooper Dermatology & Aesthetic Clinic, Dubai. Being an entrepreneur and having seen Dubai grow into the wonderful metropolis it is today, I took the opportunity to capture a niche in the aesthetic market. I have always been conscious about good skin and not only read about allopathic and naturopathic treatments, but have also been fascinated with technology and its use in treating and rejuvenating skin. I wanted to look at skin care from a more holistic point of view, and that’s what led to formulating a concept that took the shape of Cooper Dermatology & Aesthetic Clinic.
On how her husband has contributed to her success: My husband has a huge role in my success. I continued my success after marriage and kids and it was my husband who supported me and helped me go ahead with my dreams. And I’m proud to say that together we make a good team – he manages all aspects of the business so I can focus on my work and my clients.
On making time for themselves: Life is about managing priorities. My kids always have and will come first. My son, Humza is in college and my daughter, Maha is a senior in high school. I’ve learnt from successful entrepreneurs about how to juggle multiple things at the same time. One key priority that I’ve instituted in my life is to never bring work back home. This allows me to not only give attention to every aspect of my life but also provide it the focus and dedication it deserves.
On the future: My clinic venture has done extremely well and we’ve been blessed with great success. I’m now in the early stages of expanding the concept to Pakistan. In the future, I hope to go global with the clinic and also plan to launch my own skincare line.
On if she could be doing anything else: I’m very passionate about what I do and I’m very happy to be in this field because it’s very rewarding. I love seeing my clients look and feeling beautiful and healthy. I wouldn’t want to trade my job for anything in the world.
Born and raised in Pakistan, Asif spent his formative years in the country that has his parents had migrated to in the 60’s. He travelled to the US for his higher education where he did his BSc in Engineering. After this, he went on to get his MBA in Finance and Marketing.
On his current job profile: I run my own management consulting companies in Dubai. I am Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Israa Capital, where we focus on providing financial services advisory to banks across the GCC and also a member of the Board and MD at Maven Consulting, a technology focused managed services company based out of Dubai Silicon Oasis.
On how Sidra has contributed to his success: I am in a blessed and fortunate position that Sidra has not only been my sounding board but also my biggest supporter. And, by the grace of the one above us, we have had success at multiple levels. And now as entrepreneurs, we have the added advantage of working on projects together.
On a work life-personal life balance: Life is about setting goals and priorities. We are professionals who understand the importance of work ethics and making sure that we leave work behind when we are home. However, being entrepreneurs we also understand that sometimes it becomes difficult. Having a life partner who understands the need for balance and the importance of flexibility makes it easier.
On if he could be doing anything else: I love sports and I’ve always aspired to become a professional golfer ☺
On what a normal weekend is like: We all love the outdoors. Exploring, sporting activities, going to the beach and movies – we do it all and we do it together.
Sidra on the kids: My son Humza is a perfectionist. He is the most hard working kid I know and once he gets his mind to anything, he will master it. He is a natural leader and an athlete par excellence. He has been president of the National Honor Society, captain and champion Tennis and Badminton player and has been winning regional championships for multiple years running now. But he is never satisfied with individual accolades but he is more interested in making sure that his team mates and those around him to excel to the best of their abilities.
Maha is a senior in high school and is such a gifted child. She is a track and field superstar and speedster and holds multiple regional racing records. She is a social person who makes friends easily and can light up any room with her energy. She truly has a heart of gold and does more work around social services than most people I know. She recently started volunteering with Aurat Foundation, an organization focused on women’s rights and the fight against women abuse in Pakistan.
Asif on how him and Sidra met: We met through our families. It was a very happy and romantic journey from the first time we saw each other. From poetry, flowers, and personalized gifts, surprise visits from the US – we had it all. We were engaged for two years before we tied the knot and since then the journey has been beautiful.
Asif and Sidra on any regrets they might have had: Absolutely no regrets. We have often looked back and realised that if we had to do everything all over again, we would definitely do it the same way and together.
The family’s spacious home in The Villas feels lived in and has a warm feel to it. The interiors of the house are beautiful and elegant without being over the top and ostentatious.
The house has wide, open spaces and a beautiful backyard that shows their love for the outdoors. The stunning art that adorns the walls is a testament to this family’s heritage and roots.
The people we photograph and speak to are always warm and hospitable and while we have yet to have a shoot that we regretted, shooting this beautiful family felt like we could do with a repeat, if only to re-experience them.
Sidra, clearly in her element, was a delight. Asif, who we suspect was coerced into this, got into the zone really quickly and was cooperative to a fault.
Maha, the clear favourite, is a bright, well-behaved teenager and the equation she shares with her mum defies norms.
It was truly an honor and pleasure for Saffron to have been invited into what is essentially the private space of this family.
Photo Credits Sarfaraz Ali
Editorial Content Nupur Jaisinghani