From spinner to winner

Hazarika named as top Asian achiever

Scottish-Indian stand-up Ayesha Hazarika has been named young achiever of the year at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards.

The 29-year-old – who recently left her job as press officer for Patricia Hewitt – was honoured at the London Hilton last night.

Three years into her  stand-up career, Hazarika, a second-generation Indian comedian from Glasgow, has been instrumental in running high-profile gigs for the Funny Women organisation, which aims to get more females into comedy.

The daughter of a GP, she attended the private Laurel Bank all-girls' school in Glasgow, before studying law at Hull University, then heading to London where she studied journalism and politics.

She said she moved into stand-up from the world of government spin because she had ‘a quarter-life crisis’, adding: ‘Although I did enjoy my job, I didn’t feel 100 per cent fulfilled. I had a fear that before I knew it life would go by and I would never really have done anything.

‘My first gigs were horrendous, but I told myself I would get through it and my my confidence did grow.’

And she said that her parents – who brought her up a Muslim - were slow to accept she wanted to be a comedian.

‘[My first TV appearance] really freaked them out as it was quite risqué, and they didn’t speak to me for about two weeks. They are slowly coming round to it now.’

Last night’s event – the sixth year the awards have been held - was hosted by Meera Syal, with guests including Prince Charles and Camilla, Cherie Blair and culture secretary Tessa Jowell.

The shortlist in Hazarika's category included Blue Peter's Konnie Huq, the teenage winner of BBC's Hard Spell contest Gayathri Kumar and interior designer Shazma Maladwala.

Mrs Blair said the awards had “a really serious purpose… to try to override stereotypes and show to people what the reality is of being an Asian woman in Britain today."


Published: 27 May 2005

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