Sunday, May 12, 2013
Jemima Marcelle Khan (pron.: //; née Goldsmith; born 30 January 1974) is a writer and campaigner. She is the Associate Editor of the New Statesman and European editor-at-large for Vanity Fair. She continues to work as a charity fundraiser, human rights campaigner, and contributing writer for British newspapers and magazines. Khan first gained notice in the United Kingdom as a young heiress, the daughter of Lady Annabel and Sir James Goldsmith. She converted to Islam and married Pakistani cricketer and politician Imran Khan in 1995. Khan also gained worldwide media attention for her relationship with British film star Hugh Grant.
Born in London's Westminster Hospital as Jemima Marcelle Goldsmith, Khan is the eldest child of Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart and Anglo-French financier Sir James Goldsmith. Her parents had a polyamorous relationship in which they were married to different partners but, in 1978, they married to legitimize their children. Khan has two younger brothers, Zac Goldsmith and Ben Goldsmith, and five paternal and three maternal half-siblings, including Robin Birley and India Jane Birley.
Khan grew up at Ormeley Lodge and attended the Old Vicarage preparatory school and Francis Holland School. From age 10 to 17, she was an accomplished equestrian in London. Khan enrolled at the University of Bristol in 1993 and studied English, but dropped out when she was married in 1995. She eventually completed her bachelor's degree in March 2002 with 2:1 honours.
Jemima married Imran Khan, a Pakistani cricketer, celebrity and philanthropist who later turned to politics, on 16 May 1995 in a traditional Islamic ceremony in Paris. They also had a civil ceremony on 21 June 1995 at the Richmond Register Office, followed by a midsummer ball at Ormeley Lodge. A few months before her wedding, she converted to Islam, citing the writings of Muhammad Asad, Charles le Gai Eaton and Alija Izetbegović as her influences. In Lahore, Pakistan, she learned to speak Urdu and also wore Traditional Pakistani clothes. she wrote in her 2008 article for The Times that she "over-conformed in [her] eagerness to be accepted" into the "new and radically different culture" of Pakistan. Diana, Princess of Wales, was a close friend of Jemima, visiting her twice in Lahore, Pakistan, the year that Diana died. In 2003, she received her MA in Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, focusing on Modern Trends in Islam.
In 1998, Khan launched an eponymous fashion label that employed poor Pakistani women to embroider western clothes with eastern handiwork to be sold in London and New York. Profits were donated to her husband's Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital. She ran the organization until December 2001, when she shut down the business due to the economic situation following the September 11 attacks, and so she could focus on fundraising and on supporting her husband in Pakistani politics.
She established the Jemima Khan Afghan Refugee Appeal to provide tents, clothing, food, and healthcare for Afghan refugees at Jalozai camp in Peshawar.
In 1999, Khan was charged in Pakistan with illegally exporting Islamic era antique tiles. She claimed that the charge was a fabrication to harass and damage her husband, but nevertheless, left Pakistan to stay with her mother for fear of incarceration. After General Pervez Musharraf overthrew elected Prime Minister Navaz Sharif in a coup d'état, in 2000, the Ministry of Culture and Archaeology verified the tiles were not antiques, and the Pakistani court dropped the charges, allowing her to return to Lahore.
Khan became an Ambassador for UNICEF UK in 2001, and went on field trips to Kenya, Romania, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the last of which she later helped victims of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake by raising emergency funds. She has promoted UNICEF's Breastfeeding Manifesto, Growing Up Alone and End Child Exploitation campaigns in the UK.
Khan supported her husband as he became more involved in his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (a.k.a. "Justice Movement") party. Imran became a member of Pakistan's parliament in 2002 and has been a "vociferous critic of President Pervez Musharraf".
Rumours circulated that the couples marriage was in crisis, Jemima placed an advertisement in Pakistan newspapers to deny them. It read: "Whilst it is true that I am currently studying for a masters degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, it is certainly not true to say that Imran and I are having difficulties in our marriage. This is a temporary arrangement."  On 22 June 2004, it was announced that the Khans had divorced ending the nine-year marriage because it was "difficult for Jemima to adapt to life in Pakistan". The marriage ended amicably. Imran has said the six months leading to the divorce and the six months after was the hardest years of his life. After the divorce Jemima returned to Britain with the boys, according to the divorce settlement Khan's sons visit him in Pakistan during their school holidays while he stays with his former mother-in-law, Lady Annabel Goldsmith, when he comes to London to see them. According to Jemima, Imran and she have remained on very good terms even after the divorce. "
Following her divorce in 2004, Khan returned to London and later became involved in a romantic relationship with Hugh Grant. A 2005 article in the Evening Standard newspaper noted that "Jemima's profile" changed from "high during her first marriage" to "soaring since she became involved with Hugh Grant". Khan's relationship was scrutinized extensively by the tabloids, but a 2005 survey of London visitors favoured them as "the celebrity couple people would most like to show them round London". The relationship continued until February 2007, when Grant announced that they had "decided to split amicably". Grant's spokesman added that he "has nothing but positive things to say about Jemima."
Although she had written articles when she lived in Pakistan, Khan started contributing to op-eds to England's newspapers and magazines including The Independent, The Sunday Times, The Evening Standard and the Observer. In 2008, she was granted an exclusive interview with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on the eve of the elections, for The Independent. She was a Sunday Telegraph columnist from 21 October 2007 to 27 January 2008.
Khan was a feature writer and a contributing editor for British Vogue from 2008 to 2011. In 2011, Khan was appointed Vanity Fair’s new European editor-at-large. She was also Associate Editor at The Independent.
In April 2011, Khan guest-edited the New Statesman and themed the issue around freedom of speech. She interviewed the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and included contributions from Russell Brand, Tim Robbins, Simon Pegg, Oliver Stone, Tony Benn, and Julian Assange, with cover art by Anish Kapoor and Damien Hirst. According to Nick Cohen in the Observer "Jemima Khan was by a country mile the best editor of the New Statesman that that journal has had since the mid-1970s". The magazine issue included "an unexpected scoop" from Hugh Grant who went undercover to hack Paul McMullan, a former News of the World journalist, who had been involved in hacking as a reporter. In November 2011, Khan joined as an Associate Editor of the New Statesman.
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