Crossing Continents for Love: The Story of Shaniera and Wasim Akram Born on 20 March 1982 in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, Shaniera considers herself a “typical Australian girl” with a normal upbringing. As a public relations consultant, she led an ordinary life and received her early education from a private girls’ school. Growing up with three sisters, she enjoyed a well-connected household, counting Sam Newman and Shane Warne among family friends.
In 2011, Shaniera and Wasim Akram crossed paths at a dinner with mutual friends in Melbourne, where Wasim was on cricket commentating duties. Initially unaware of Wasim’s cricketing fame, Shaniera found their connection to be more about enjoying each other’s company than romance. Despite hailing from different countries and generations, their relationship deepened over time. Wasim credits Shaniera with introducing him to Australian culture, which he found to be family-oriented, sports-centric, and similar to his life in Pakistan. The proposal for marriage came from Wasim, who went down on one knee at Shaniera’s home.
Shaniera's Journey with Wasim Akram
During a challenging period in Wasim Akram’s life, marked by the loss of his first wife Huma in 2009 due to multiple organ failure, Shaniera entered his world. Struggling with the responsibilities of raising his two children, Wasim found solace and companionship with Shaniera, who brought a new chapter of love and understanding.
Shaniera and Wasim honored Huma’s memory through various gestures, including keeping photos, planting a tree, and observing her birthday and death anniversary. The couple solemnized their union in a simple nikah ceremony in the summer of 2013 in Lahore on 12 August. They subsequently moved to Karachi, residing in the beachfront area of Clifton.
On 27 December 2014, Shaniera and Wasim welcomed their first daughter, Aiyla, into the world. Embracing motherhood, Shaniera actively participates in her daughter’s daily life, from school routines to dance and judo classes.
In addition to being a dedicated mother, Shaniera assumes a crucial role as a step-mother to Wasim’s two sons, Tahmoor (born 1996) and Akbar (born 2001), from his previous marriage. Acknowledging their significance in her life, Shaniera provides support and guidance, becoming a source of strength for the entire family.
Embracing Pakistan: Shaniera's Cultural Journey Initial Challenges and Warm Welcome
Transitioning to life in Pakistan posed initial challenges for Shaniera, as adapting to a new culture required adjustment. However, she discovered the local people to be warm and hospitable, contributing to her sense of belonging.
Having embraced Islam before her marriage, Shaniera actively learned and adapted to various customs and traditions prevalent in Pakistani society. Her dedication extended to improving her Urdu language skills, showcasing her commitment to integrating into the local culture.
Exploring Pakistani Culture
In collaboration with British-Pakistani television personality George Fulton, Shaniera has delved into Pakistani culture through entertaining YouTube videos. These videos humorously capture their experiences as Westerners navigating life in Karachi, offering a unique perspective on the cultural nuances.
Dual Allegiance in Cricket
When it comes to cricket, Shaniera, despite being a proud Australian, has expressed her deep connection to Pakistan. In the face of Australia versus Pakistan cricket matches, she acknowledges her Australian roots but emphasizes that Pakistan holds a significant place in shaping her identity. Her loyalty, in the long run, lies firmly with Pakistan, reflecting her enduring commitment to her adopted home.
Shaniera's Journey Beyond Home Fashion Entrepreneurship
Embarking on her professional journey at the age of 21, Shaniera initially ventured into the fashion industry, owning and managing a clothing boutique. Her early career exposed her to the dynamic world of fashion, setting the stage for her diverse professional pursuits.
Transition to PR and Events
Transitioning from fashion, Shaniera found her niche in public relations (PR) and events. As a consultant, she contributed to major Australian fashion festivals, international events, clothing brand store openings, restaurants, and product launches. Her expertise in PR became a pivotal aspect of her career.
Dabbling in Cinema
In 2023, Shaniera expanded her horizons by making her acting debut in the Pakistani crime comedy film, “Money Back Guarantee,” sharing the screen with her husband. The film, released on Eid-ul Fitr, marked a new chapter in Shaniera’s professional portfolio, showcasing her versatility beyond her established roles in fashion and PR.
Shaniera's Social Impact Philanthropy and Community Service
As a dedicated contributor to The Akram Foundation, Shaniera actively engages in various social work, philanthropy projects, and charitable causes. Her commitment extends to supporting communities, promoting health and fitness, raising environmental awareness, and championing causes related to road safety, recycling, and access to clean drinking water.
Public Persona and Nicknames
Shaniera’s vibrant public image, frequent appearances in television and print media, and attention from paparazzi have earned her endearing nicknames such as the “national Bhabhi” and the “Aussie Princess” of Pakistan. Her popularity transcends traditional platforms, with a significant following on social media.
Advocacy and Ambassadorial Roles
Shaniera actively advocates for various social issues, including supporting victims of tragic events like the 2016 Lahore suicide bombing. Her multifaceted advocacy spans diverse areas such as environmental awareness, road safety, and healthcare. She serves as an ambassador for The Fred Hollows Foundation in Pakistan, contributing to the provision of free treatment for the visually impaired.
Beach Cleanup Campaign
In a noteworthy instance, Shaniera’s tweet highlighting the neglect of Clifton Beach gained widespread attention. The images, showcasing the beach’s dire condition, prompted swift action. Within a month of her call to attention, the beach underwent a thorough cleanup, illustrating the tangible impact of her social activism.