Singapore-based model Fehmina Chaudhry had overcome a divorce and was working hard to make it in Bollywood before she was murdered.
"She had a love for life and was following her dreams," said film production company managing director Sreyashi Sen, who met her through the film and events circuit here early last year.
"It's very disheartening that she couldn't fulfil them."
The body of the 27-year-old pageant winner was found in a ditch in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Monday.
It is believed that she moved to Singapore with her husband a few years ago.
Madam Sen, 37, said Ms Chaudhry was signing up to act in a Bollywood movie.
"She was going through some personal problems but she didn't let it daunt her," Madam Sen added. "She was full of energy and always ready to help out friends or those in need."
The catwalk fashion model and pageant judge came from a "very good" family in Karachi, Pakistan, and married at the age of 18.
Speaking to The Straits Times from her apartment in Simei, Ms Chaudhry's mother-in-law - who declined to be named - confirmed that Ms Chaudhry and her son had been divorced for about a year and were no longer in contact with each other.
"It's her life over there in Pakistan. We don't know anything about it," she said.
Ms Chaudhry's former husband has custody of their two children, who have not been informed of their mother's death. The mother-in-law said the children have exams coming up.
Ms Chaudhry went missing last Thursday after flying to Pakistan to negotiate deals to buy land.
The land was reportedly being sold by real estate broker Muaz Waqar, who later confessed to her murder during investigations. A second man is also wanted in connection with the death.
According to media reports yesterday, the Pakistani police said Ms Chaudhry had reached Pakistan in July.
She had reportedly given Waqar gold jewellery worth three million Pakistani rupees (S$35,000) to purchase the land but asked for it to be returned when the deal failed.
Waqar then offered Ms Chaudhry a modelling deal. Media reports said she went missing after accompanying him to meet "representatives" for the contract.
It was also reported yesterday that Waqar had been based in Singapore, where he completed a master's degree in business management last year.