“In life you know of a lot of people but there are very few that truly touch you. Cherry was one of them.”
To millions of fans in Iran Mahchehreh Khalili-Zadeh is a household name, regarded as one of the countries finest actresses, but in the UK she will fondly be remembered as The Face: the model that every MUA wanted to work with, who helped shaped the early days of the Asian beauty industry. The former model and MUA, turned international actress, affectionately known as ‘Cherry’ passed away aged just 44 on Friday.
Since then tributes have been pouring in to remember this phenomenal, beautiful woman who touched everyone who met her. For Asiana she is particularly special, for she was one of the first models to work with us at Asian Woman and Asian Bride, our original titles that proceeded Asiana and Asiana Wedding Magazines.
Editor of Asian Woman and Asian Bride Sam Saeed who now runs The Asian Face of Miss England contest, fondly recalls what an inspiration Cherry was. “I’ll never forget her ambition and talent. When I first met Cherry she had just qualified as an architect from Oxford University but that didn’t stop her from following her dreams. She had a natural beauty and could stop traffic with her captivating looks. I invited her to model for the magazine and that’s what catapulted her into the glamorous world of fashion and beauty.”
For MUA Naveeda, Cherry changed her life. Naveeda was so drawn to her beauty and warmth that she cast her to appear in her first magazine campaign in a Bridal Profile in the late 90s. In a tribute post on her Instagram over the weekend, Naveeda wrote: “My heart is breaking. I have lost an amazing friend and the world has lost a truly beautiful soul.”
“The world has lost a truly beautiful soul.”
Speaking to AsianaTV, Naveeda shared some emotional memories: “Cherry is the model that kick-started my career. In fact when I posted that very first portrait shot I did with her on Instagram a couple of days ago, I was so humbled as one of the comments I received was from one of my former brides who said that she booked me for her wedding, 17 years ago after seeing that photo.”
As a model Cherry worked with all the leading Asian brands. Mel from Kyles Collection fondly remembers working with her for several of their jewellery campaigns: “We will always remember Cherry as such a nice person, full of manners and a real pleasure to work with. After she left the UK to pursue acting she continued to keep in touch with Nisha and I. We appreciated the effort she made and feel honoured to have known her and worked with her.”
But how did an Iranian woman find such pleasure working in the South Asian fashion and beauty industry? Her sister Goldie (Golchehr) explains: “When we were growing up abroad Cherry loved watching Indian movies. She adored everything about Indian culture, from the music and films to the outfits. I even remember her entering a beauty pageant and wearing a lengha!”