Goan-South American model-actor Elena Fernandes, who made her Bollywood debut with a cameo in Kapoor &Sons as actor Fawad Khan’s secretary, has been shuttling between Mumbai and New York since she came to India four years back and became a strip model . After the film became a hit, she has got more offers and is reading for a full time stint in Bollywood.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know my scene will be alongside Fawad and after I acted with him, so many people, who fancy him, would be jealous of me. Even today I have to pinch myself to believe that I have worked in a film with him. He’s such a humble guy and kept giving me guidance and advice,” she says.
About the film’s lead actor Alia Bhatt, she says, “Alia has grown better from each role that she has done. I don’t take such comparisons so seriously. I am not really competing with anyone here. I want to get better and outdo myself in each aspect of work.”
Confessing that it hasn’t been an easy journey to come to terms with Indian sensibilities, she says, “The ideology of Indians is still developing when it comes to accepting things like nudity and stripping. They are not fully there as yet. It’s a big cultural issue that will take time to evolve.”However, Elena prefers Mumbai over New York City, as she finds people here people more understanding and friendly. “I feel culture is the prime difference in both the cities. Mumbai is full of life whereas NYC can be quite surreal at times.”
Ask her if she has faced any flak on social media pertaining to her bold posts, the actor reveals it’s something that happens all the time. “One thing I can’t stand is internet trolls. It’s a form of bullying and one does it while hiding behind a computer screen. I was once called a horrible skinny bitch on Instagram. I don’t tolerate people writing disgusting comments on my posts. It frustrates me and needs to be nipped in the bud.”
Angered at those who attack sensitive girls with negative and abusive comments leading to suicides, she further adds, “I feel these people must be so sad in order to say such derogatory comments about people they don’t even know. I hope they know it doesn’t make them any better.”
While most models eventually graduate to a career in films, Elena says she had no dream of becoming a model yet she is happy with this gradual progression. “I didn’t know anything about fashion. I am from an academic background. It all started from TV commercials and then ramp, followed by acting. Today after Kapoor & Sons, people take more interest in me and they know I can act too.”
Calling it just the beginning, she says, “Of course, now the goal is to get bigger and better Bollywood films. Work with more experience directors and be a part of a Bollywood blockbuster.”
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