How I became friends with Qandeel Baloch

2016 has truly been the year of Qandeel Baloch. People recognize her everywhere she goes.She has been on TV numerous times and has even managed to sit in Imran Khan’s car. Wherever you go she will be a likely topic of conversation. Her latest publicity stunt will be ridiculed or she will be spoken of as a warning, a sign that dark times are upon us. Love her or hate her, you cannot be indifferent to the Qandeel Baloch phenomenon.

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I followed Qandeel Baloch on social media way before Mubashir Luqman called her onto his show. QB was mainly just known for posting seductive videos of herself on Facebook when I first noticed her. I was fascinated by this girl; how she batted her heavily lined eyes, said whatever was on her mind (however redundant) and brazenly demanded attention. Who was she? Where did she come from? Did her parents know what she was up to? I longed to get to know her beyond her social media image. So, of course, I resolved to become her friend. This was by no means an easy feat and I learned a few things about her along the way.

It is not easy to get in touch with her

Many people will tell you Qandeel Baloch is ‘easy’. But this is not true. How can it be when it is so difficult to get in touch with her? I found an email address on her website and sent several emails. The phone number on her Facebook page was invalid. I commented on several of the pictures she would post on social media: ‘Hey! I’m a huge fan of your work. Have sent you an email. Please reply J’ but although she always responded to haters she never got back to me. I called up television channels and begged for contact details. All to no avail. It took months but finally, a friend of mine asked an entertainment reporter for her current number and sent it to me.

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She is a true professional

Caught up in the excitement of finally having a real lead I called her immediately, forgetting that it was past ten pm. She answered the phone with a formal ‘Hello’ and I, realizing that I had no plan beyond getting her number, blurted out that I wanted to interview her for a local newspaper. Qandeel Baloch was not amused. She berated me for calling at such a time, told me to call her tomorrow during ‘business hours’ and then hung up on me. A few minutes later she messaged demanding proof I was a reporter. I sent her my business card. Only then did she agree to a phone interview.

She believes in herself.

During the phone interview, Qandeel was open and very chatty. She told me she grew up in Multan and had always wanted to be a singer or an actress. According to Qandeel Baloch, her parents have no idea she is internet famous. She spoke lightheartedly about how she spends her days; some days when she has a shoot she is extremely busy but on days off she likes to sleep in, watch television and go to the parlor. Her childhood friends treat her differently now she has a bit of fame and so she no longer interacts with them as much.

Also, she warns, nobody in the media is anyone’s friend but she is above such politics and just wants to do her job. It is uncertain how truthfully she answered many of my questions or whether she just gave me answers she would like to believe were true. However, what was extremely certain was how much Qandeel Baloch believed in herself. She claimed to have gotten this far on her own and now she is determined to stay. There was no way anyone could fake that much confidence. She has many plans and prides herself on being a great businesswoman. She told me, her voice steady and self-assured, that the Pakistani public hadn’t seen anything yet. She was going to be a real celebrity.

Towards the end of the phone call, I told her it had been a pleasure speaking to her and she told me to keep in touch. For a few weeks after the interview, Qandeel and I nurtured our blossoming friendship. I would ask her questions about the things she’d post on social media. She would send me entertaining voice notes and pictures in return. Then one day she simply stopped replying. At first I was upset. What had I done to offend her?  Then I realized that Qandeel does not have time for ordinary people.  She is on a mission to become a celebrity and I had nothing to offer her in that regard. I resigned myself to the end of our friendship. Now I am simply content to watch her scandalous activities from afar.

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The writer is a former friend of Qandeel Baloch, a pop culture enthusiast and a girl at dhaba. She tweets @amnachaudhry03.

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