From winning Miss India title to becoming a successful actress and now an entrepreneur -- just some of the achievements of the `girl of the moment`, Neha Dhupia. The actress who believes in trying new things and not limiting herself to just one particular career choice, in an exclusive interview with Ritika Handoo, talks about joining India`s first social shopping platform—LimeRoad.
How has the transition from a supermodel to an actress and now to an entrepreneur come about?
Well, I must say, it has been fantastic. However, I would not like to call it a transition because I feel it`s not as if I have stopped doing one thing for another. I would rather call it a progression. One thing follows the other. Had I not been a model at the beginning, probably acting might not have happened. Similarly, had I not been an actress today, may be my decision to turn entrepreneur would not have happened. For me, it progresses from one to the other. It`s important to find a company where people have a strong sense of style and want to make that thing happen in real for others as well - the main reason that prompted me to join the brand.
Was it a conscious decision to turn an entrepreneur at this stage in your career?
When you start doing something in life, we don`t know what is going to come next. You just can`t plan things. Like not many know that I am very fond of running. I run everyday and also have been a part of many marathons. I am very fond of Carl Lewis and I am sure he didn`t think in advance about how good or bad he will be. He just did his stuff and became a legend. Also, once you are at the peak of your career, people do expect a lot from you. But it`s important to extend yourself to other areas as well. You should be able to do that—expand your brand. I think I`m best at acting, but turning into a businesswoman is certainly an expansion of my brand.
How would you inculcate your own fashion sense in the product you endorse?
There is something new for the audience here. The brand is into creating stylish looks for women. The company has exclusive products which generate through scrapbooks, online bloggers, streaming live on mobile etc.
The best part is that it just gives you options to choose from but also sort of creates a set of different looks for the customers online. We as a brand want to make everyone beautiful and we are working towards building such a market in the near future. It is going to be a complete style experience. My contribution largely will be centred around creating different looks for the customers online. The looks will certainly be a part of what I feel is fashionable.
What is your own signature style?
Well, it depends on my mood. My signature style differs every day. I style according to the way I am feeling that particular moment. If I wear a loose shirt paired with casual jeans and loafers, it means I am feeling slouchy and hot. Whites are specially for hot and humid days. I don`t dress just because everyone else is doing it. I have my own comfort zone. I dress according to my personality. Anything stylish, chic and effortless is my personal style.
You seem to be an active social media person, will your new role as a style director help you connect with your fans more?
It is the age of internet. The world has become the size of a dot. You can just click and get information about anything and everything on the internet. Similarly, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all part of the new age progress. Information travels faster than the speed of light today. There is no space or time for a jet lag in life, so to say. I would say online media is amazing. It indeed is a strong and close way for us to reach out to our fans. And not just our fans, in fact I get to follow people myself through social media. Who knows, I might just start following you as well. (Laughs)
So, who all do you follow on social media and who are your style icons?
Social media is an interesting and amazing way of connecting with people and brands you like. So I follow personalities such as Arundhati Roy, Narendra Modi, Rihanna, The White House and some lifestyle channels as well. It`s a brilliant way to be in touch. As far as my style icons are concerned, I like Victoria Beckham`s style statement. Others I am fond of are again Rihanna and Sarah Jessica Parker.
What future do you see for an established e-commerce brand?
I feel growth is rock steady. There is a huge amount of development that is happening currently in the country. In today`s time, technology is very crucial at all levels. I am very much convinced with the brand and that is the reason I joined hands with them. The people who own it are all incredibly brilliant in their work. The number and figures show that India is going to be the largest online business by 2018, so why not be a part of it? When the team is young, fresh and like minded, the results are always fruitful.
Lastly, when do we see Neha Dhupia, the actress, on screen again? Tell us about your future film projects.
Well, you will see Neha Dhupia, the actress, very soon on screen. I am working on three films right now and they will release this year. I have Dharma Productions` film titled `Ungli`, it will be directed by Rensil D`Silva and produced by Karan Johar. It is slated for release in November this year. Then I have `Ikkis Topon Ki Salaami` with Anupam Kher. It is produced by Nautanki films and BAG; which will release sometime in August. I have another film set for a release in 2014, called `Santa Banta` with Boman Irani and Lisa Haydon. It has been helmed by Akashdeep Sabir.