Before we kick start our Fun, Interesting, Entertaining and Exciting Interview, A quick set of questions to know you better.
Miss beautiful smile and Miss Personality in Femina Miss India and then winning the title of Femina Miss India World – Must have been a great feeling?
It was a dream come true. At the age of 13, I dreamt of wanting to become Miss India. I had even written it on a piece of paper and stored it. Like they say that the universe conspires to manifest your wishes, it turned mine into a life changing reality in 2006. It was like a fairy tale. In fact mine was of an ugly duckling turning into a swan, if I may so. As a child I had low self esteem issues but I was always a fearless dreamer. All the emotional and financial challenges and struggles that I and my all women’s family went through, in my teens, pushed me to work harder and then the victory tasted so sweet. God has been kind. But he made sure we worked hard with honesty for everything.
How it all began? Your journey as a model and then winning multiple pageants?
I owe it all to my MOTHER. I was extremely attached to her. She was my guiding light and my purpose. Everything I did was to just make her feel proud and secure in all aspects. She passed away in February this year, but she always taught us to think big and to make something of our lives. I miss her terribly. We are three sisters with our grandma now. I’m the middle child. I would ape my sister Rupali who is a Gladrags Megamodel winner and an established and successful host/anchor, theatre actor and entrepreneur now. She had begun modelling and acting at a young age to as to shoulder the family responsibilities. I wanted to and had to share the responsibilities too. Every pageant that she participated in, I followed her into it. Infact all 3 of us won most of the beauty contests we participated in. I would win all the intercollegiate fests and further won more than 6 beauty contests like Navy Queen, Miss Maharashta, Get Gorgeous Supermodel Hunt etc. But my big goal was Miss India and with every contest experience, I was preparing myself for the big one. Subconsciously I had divine faith that I would win. And voila…I was crowned Miss India World in a very tough batch of contestants. I further represented India at the prestigious Miss World pageant in Poland. I feel the victory was God’s way of rewarding my family for our faith and goodness. U know when they say ‘Jiska koi nahi, uska toh Khuda hain yaaron’. It’s been a magical journey.
You have walked the ramp for all the top designers. Who has been your personal favourite?
I debuted on the runway with designer Suneet Varma’s show at Rome Fashion Week in 2004 after I had won a national supermodel hunt on Channel V called ‘Get Gorgeous’ season 1. Post that I walked the runway for several continuous seasons at India Fashion Weeks. Sabyasachi and Swapnil Shinde have so much soul. Ritu Kumar and Hemant Trevedi made a big part of my wardrobe for the Miss World pageant. So I have a bias towards them. I was shot by Atul Kasbekar for Rohit Bal’s collection and featured in the annual Canon Calender which introduced me as the most beautiful face of 2006 in the beginning of my career. So I have a soft corner for both these gentlemen. Btw Atul Kasbekar infact discovered me at a fashion contest and told me that I would go places. I had butterflies in my stomach to hear such encouraging words from an ace photographer like him when I was a raw newcomer. He made sure I participated in Miss India that year and the rest is history…
Beauty Queen, Supermodel, TV Host, Actor. Which is your favourite role?
Each and every one of them! I feel lucky to be called all of the above and to have so many things on my plate rather than be doing only one thing. I want to explore my talents to the most maximum. Post Femina Miss India, a lot of avenues opened up and amazing work opportunities poured in. My work took me all over the globe. I have travelled to more than 25 countries. As Miss India and an ambassador of the country, I was invited and felicitated by the government of several countries. I feel lucky to have had these honours at a young age. As a runway model I have walked for all the top designers, done the best shows, consistently walked at all the prestigious fashion weeks, and in a span of ten years have been photographed by almost all the top photographers around, have hosted more than 12 TV shows (Style Police, Big Switch, SuperDude, Cell Guru etc), hosted several live events, and I now have forayed into acting too. I kept away from it all these years, but I have found it to be the most satisfying and fulfilling medium of creativity. I have recently acted in a malyalam film ‘King Liar’ with malyalam superstar Dileep which became a superhit. I’m absolutely loving this new phase of my career. All the love and fan mail that I have received, make me smile so wide. My next film to be released is ‘Baa Baaa Black Sheep’ where im acting alongside Anupam Kher, Manish Paul, Annu Kapoor, Kay Menon and Manjari Phadnis. Im also a part of the mega project webseries ‘Inside Edge’ on Amazon which has an ensemble cast of Vivek Oberoi, Richa Chadha , Angad Bedi etc. Im now heading to New York in July to host the IIFA Red Carpet 2017′. The journey has hopefully only begun. I’m just simply following my heart and striving my best to make my mother proud of me from up above.
Let’s start the Interview:
Are you a lark or a night owl?
As much as I would like to be a lark…I’m currently an owl…!
What is your morning ritual?
I wake up with gratitude for good health a beautiful day ahead..I drink a glass of warm water with lime without fail…followed by a super breakfast.
How do you maintain your physique?
I’m blessed with good genetics and a high metabolism..I just eat right and engage in cardio. Most women in my family naturally have small waists and an hour glass body shape.
One thing you don’t leave your house without?
What makes your day?
To just see my mother smile gives me a huge high. A good conversation with someone makes my day too.
What spoils it?
Nothing really…We should not let any bumpy 10 mins affect and spoil our entire day. I don’t like bad hair days though!
Sexy v/s Beautiful and why?
Both together can be a fatal combination…Beautiful is like sugar..Sexy is like salt…Together they are irresistible! I think people have used ‘Sexy’ for me more often though…When ‘Classy’ is added to it.. it’s an even better compliment.
Your favorite piece of clothing in your wardrobe and why?
I love fitted knee length full sleeve dresses…Have quite a few in my collection..I feel like a boss in them.
Must haves in your wardrobe and why?
a)All varieties of Jeans(slimfit/baggy/boyfriend) that can make u feel like a million bucks…
b)A stunning black dress..and in more colours
c)Crisp shirts and ganjis..
d)Skirts of all lengths..
f) A sexy stylish collection of footwear,bags and glasses for various occasions.
Favorite brand and why?
I have a list of favourite brands in different segments and commodities like shoes, clothing, perfumes, makeup. Can’t point out to just one.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee…Rohit Bal..Valentino..Emmanuel Ungaro…and some more names.
That one thing that you love splurging on?
Shoes and makeup.
What was your last purchase?
A Louis vuitton sling bag last mth.
Your favorite downtime activity?
Catching up with friends…watching movies…music…eating and napping…ha ha ha!
Apocalypto..Serendipity..Pretty Woman…Maria full of grace..Pursuit of Happiness…Waqt..Pakeezah..Andaz apna apna and a few more.I also love horror movies. 1408 is one of my fav in that genre.
Favorite TV series?
Love comedies like Two and a half men, Big Bang theory and a few more.
Have read and liked Dr Brian Weiss’ books a lot….Still in the process of discovering more and seeking my favourite author yet..
Jagjit Singh…Shafqat Amanat Ali..Enrique Iglesius..Lionel Ritchie, Shreya Ghoshal and few more.
Solo trip or group and why?
I enjoy both! Both have their own charm…Solo trips can be spiritually and emotionally empowering and liberating in a way…Group trips can be gregariously crazy, fun, giggly, full of laughter.
Favorite destination and why?
Vienna is surreal. Seychelles is like heaven on earth. London is on top of the favourite cities list. I frequently visit Goa every 3 months too.
Favorite Street Food?
Im a desi chaat lover.
High point in life?
Being called and referred to as ‘India’ at the Miss World Pageant.
Low Point in Life?
In 2014, when my mother was in an ICCU for more than 40 days after she suffered from an almost fatal heart attack. I was in my most emotionally fragile state at that time.
What does music mean to you?
Music is such a powerful entity…a gift to the world and balm to the soul…Can’t imagine what life would be without music.
Are you a spiritual person?
Totally! I have an aversion to blind conditional religious dogmas.There is only one creator.The deeper we look inside our souls…the more we find the divine. It’s all within.
I find inspiration in a lot of people and situations around me. Anyone who displays courage and character in challenging times and emerges victorious in spite of obstacles, inspires me. I admire Ratan Tata, Milkha Singh, Oprah Winfrey and so many more for the exemplary lives they lead.
Biggest risk ever taken?
Falling in love!…Relationships are a big investment of your precious time. Hence Love can be a gamble! ha ha ha!
Best compliment ever?
When someone told my mother..that everyone should have daughters like us (me and my sisters) and that we are proof that daughters can be a bigger blessing than sons.