Asha Anand Gill is a Malaysia-based model, television host, deejay, veejay, writer, producer, film director, and women’s rights activist. Born in Pembury, Kent, her father is Punjabi and her mother English with some French heritage.
In 1999 Asha Gill was selected as one of the veejays for Channel V International, an Asia-Pacific music channel based in Hong Kong, and she quickly became the face of the channel, becoming famous to people from Bangladesh to Bahrain. She wrote her own scripts, did her own research, and had a major role in Channel [V]’s production, such as directing, scriptwriting, and producing. She had her own flagship shows, including Asha Meets, an interview show, and By Demand, a live request show co-hosted with Adrian da Silva that introduced the innovative SMS-on-TV system. She was well-known for her unique, thorough interview style, and through her various shows, she has interviewed the likes of the Bee Gees, Darren Hayes, Lenny Kravitz, Britney Spears (one of her first interviews), Moby, Destiny’s Child, Travis, and much more. She has also co-hosted special shows with Christina Aguilera and Kelis, among others.
In 2002 Channel [V] International was bought over by Malaysian media company Double Vision, and Gill’s contract with the channel was ending. She moved on to Singapore, where she hosted a season of their version of The Weakest Link. Due to her role as host, she was quickly given a reputation of being acidic, sarcastic, and sometimes mean – a distinct contrast from her Channel [V] days, where she was seen as being fun, happy-go-lucky, and the ‘girl next door’. Singapore was one of the few Asian countries not to receive Channel [V].
In 2003 Asha Gill, along with British photographer, deejay, and veejay Toby Amies, started hosting Lonely Planet’s Six Degrees, a people-centric travel show where the hosts meet up with one contact in a specific country that leads them to another contact, and so on (following the idea of six degrees of separation). In the first season, Gill travelled to Mumbai, India; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Singapore. Among her various adventures included dancing with Indian hijra for good luck at a wedding, meeting an Argentine artist whose artwork consists of plaster casts of humans and animals, a ghost-hunter in Kuala Lumpur, and a food critic in Singapore.
In 2004 Asha joined MIX.FM, an adult contemporary radio station owned by Malaysian media company Astro, and co-hosted the Drivetime slot with Non. She also started writing her monthly column, Of Mutton + Lamb, for women’s lifestyle magazine Vida!, where she talks about any issue of her interest – from women’s rights to experiences of being a DJ. Her official website, AshaGill.Com, was also launched, where she keeps her writings, talks about various issues on her blog, and introduces Malaysian talent through the Asha’s Picks section. She was also selected as the ambassador for watch company Tag Heuer, and she continued production on Lonely Planet’s Six Degrees, this time travelling to Melbourne, Australia; Auckland, New Zealand; London, England; and Cape Town, South Africa. She won the award for Best Entertainment Awards at the Asian Television Awards 2004, held in Singapore.
In 2005 Asha was selected as Tag Heuer’s newest ambassador. Currently Asha is still recording episodes of Six Degrees, and is involved in other media work.
Asha Gill is passionate about human rights, especially women’s rights, and has been part of women’s rights movements ever since her university days. She talks about women’s rights often on her radio shows, Vida!, and her website, and she has also participated and planned a number of events to raise awareness over women’s rights.
In 2002 she participated in the Malaysian production of The Vagina Monologues, which stirred controversy over its apparently provocative content. In 2004 she became a spokesperson for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign, and she was instrumental in various events in Malaysia dealing with the campaign, such as the Report Launch, the International Women’s Day event A Girl’s Day Out in MidValley Megamall in March, and the Mix.FM Massive Appeal in June, where she sold Banashas (bananas dipped in sweet sauces and toppings) to raise funds for Amnesty International and Women’s Aid Organization.
Asha Gill also works behind the scenes for various human rights and relief organizations, as well as charities.
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