Amna Chaudhry

“After the landlord made it clear that signboards were not his responsibility, Mona gave Chaand the task of having the Snipperz signboard taken down, but failed to tell him what she wanted in its place. She and Neelum never paused long enough to think of names, they had been running around for weeks trying to get furniture and equipment together, figuring out how to price their services, and debating whether or not they should buy an air conditioner. They were greeted one day by a signboard in Barbie pink lettering; ELEGANCE PARLOUR. According to Chaand, the guy printed every signboard in the area and swore on his mother’s grave that there was no other Elegance parlour around them for miles. It would be their unique selling point.”

Parlour Girls

Best friends Mona and Neelum have worked as parlour girls in Karachi’s beauty industry for years and are tired of being pushed around by their demanding bosses. After getting fired, idealistic Mona pushes pragmatic Neelum into finally starting their own beauty parlour. However, it soon becomes clear that the two of them have very different ideas of what it means to own a parlour. Neelum worries constantly about how to keep their new business afloat, while Mona becomes involved in organising Karachi’s first beauty workers’ strike, using the parlour as a meeting place.

Amna is a writer and activist who divides her time between Pakistan and Los Angeles. Her work has been published in Guernica, Himal Southasian & Caravan amongst others. In 2021 she was selected as a South Asia Speaks fellow for her novel-in-progress, Parlour Girls.