Laraib Atta was born and raised in Lahore but spent most of her childhood in her father’s hometown, Esakhel, a small village in Mianwali district. Most of her family vacations – Ramadan, Eid and even weekends – were spent there. Since her father is the legendary musician Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi, she would often also travel across the world for his concerts. Laraib is now a mother of a 20 month old son, to whom she gives the major chunk of her time despite working full time. It is obviously not easy but she loves every minute of it.
Laraib has always been the quiet one in her family to the point where people would teasingly call her mute because she would usually just be found sitting in a quiet corner, drawing. She always knew from a young age that she wanted to do something with art. As she grew older, it was her brother, Sanwal Esakhailvi, who guided and encouraged her to go into Visual effects. She found an institute and I decided to enrol even though she had no background knowledge about the field at the time, but by the time she finished she was capable enough to go straight into the professional industry and started working.
Passion was what kept her going but she was not just passionate about her work, she also wanted to make her family proud. Little did she know that one day she would be working with Oscar winning teams and working for high-end films including The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince of Persia, Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Even to this day she has a hard time believing in the success that she has achieved at such a young age.
Working in Hollywood is obviously not an easy task, describing her experience in the industry, she said,
“One of the main challenges I had to face was that working on films requires long hours and my father was not too happy about me working so late. Since he is from a conservative background, he had some really strict rules for me. Furthermore, my relatives wanted me to get married at a young age and adhere to their vision of my future which included me being a housewife. Respecting the family values, staying in the boundaries and relying on the support of my brother and my mother I continued working and did not let anything stop me.
To be a woman in this male dominated industry is a challenge as it is but I was also very introverted and quiet which did not make things easier. Working in this field I was not intimidated but my personality would make it hard for me to communicate. I would be quietly working on my desk and luckily producing good work but I have learnt in my years working as a VFX artist that communication is a key to success.
All you need to do is follow your heart, be passionate and work hard. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be doing. Respect what others say but do your thing. Work towards your goal, even if you take tiny steps as long as you are moving forward you will get there at the end.”