Ridah Khan, an American-born woman raised in Surrey of Pakistani heritage, defies societal expectations and challenges stereotypes as she seamlessly balances two high-profile careers – that of a full-time doctor and a TV host/entertainment journalist. She’s a trailblazer breaking through societal expectations and challenging stereotypes. Raised by her single-parent mother, who is also a doctor, Ridah emphasises the need to move beyond the stigma attached to being raised in a single-parent household. In this exclusive interview, Ridah shares her inspiring journey, highlighting her early passion for performance, breaking into the entertainment industry as a teenager, and eventually pursuing a career in medicine.
The young doctor’s early love for performing emerged during a school production of a Grease adaptation. Despite excelling academically and attending a prestigious grammar school, Ridah found her true calling in entertainment. She recalls her realisation during a school production, “I used to jump out of bed for rehearsal time and stuff. And I never would jump out of bed for school. So that’s when I realised, I really love performing.”
Ridah’s destiny took a turn when the owner of a television network recognised her talent during a live show. This opportunity led her to become the UK’s youngest British Asian television presenter, of that time, at just 13. Reflecting on this turning point, Ridah notes, “I really believe in destiny. I really feel like things are written for you.” She emphasises the importance of destiny and the unexpected opportunities that unfolded in her life.
While achieving success as a TV host, Ridah never confined herself to a single path. She excelled academically, winning commendations for poetry writing and displaying a creative side. Inspired by her family GP, Ridah developed an interest in medicine. Despite societal expectations, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor while continuing her career in entertainment. “I always feel like you can do whatever you like. I never put myself in a lane,” Ridah says, reflecting on her multifaceted journey.
Balancing the demands of being a junior doctor and a TV host requires dedication and a strong sense of purpose. Ridah shares the challenges and rewards of navigating two demanding professions. “If my heart is into something, I will give a hundred percent. I will really do it for the love of it, the passion of it,” she passionately expresses, emphasising the importance of genuine passion in one’s pursuits.
Ridah attributes her success to her single-parent mother, a doctor and a figure with political and presidential connections. Ridah’s mother played a crucial role in shaping her perspective, instilling the values of kindness, ambition, and gender equality. “My mom showed me that you can do it all because I saw my mom do it all,” Ridah says, acknowledging the impact of her mother’s exemplary life.
In doing so, the goal-driven host challenges the stigma attached to single-parent families, particularly in the South Asian community. She shares her experiences of encountering stereotypes and emphasizes the importance of dismantling preconceived notions. “I detest the words when people say, ‘broken home, single-parent family.’ It’s almost used like a gali (swear) word in the South Asian community,” Ridah passionately declares. She aims to inspire others, especially girls from similar backgrounds, to dream big and achieve their goals.
Ridha’s future plans are to return to an orphanage she visited while travelling with her mum in Pakistan. “The children I met at the orphanage in Pakistan were really bright.” Ridah shared with Asian Standard. “I never had family in Pakistan, so didn’t really have a connection, but when I visited, I got a real insight into how things are there.
“With those children, they are so bright they just need to be given the right resources and they can flourish. I want to help them reach their full potential by arming them with the right support and resources. Aside from growing in both my professional careers and exploring more opportunities to grow, I also dream of going back to Pakistan and give back to the orphanage and helping where I can. Those young children are just in the wrong place. I would love to give back and have an impact on someone’s future – give them the best tools in life to succeed the way I have been given.”
Ridah Khan’s journey from being raised in a single-parent home to dual professional success is a testament to her resilience, passion, and commitment. By breaking stereotypes and defying societal expectations, Ridah encourages others to pursue their dreams regardless of their family background. Her story serves as an inspiration to those striving to overcome challenges and achieve success on their terms. As Ridah continues to make her mark in both the medical and entertainment fields, she leaves a powerful legacy of empowerment and possibility for generations to come.