I might just shoot a travel documentary on Sri Lanka,” reveals actress Jacqueline Fernandes. Excited about the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards being hosted in her home country this year, Fernandes will also be seen in a special performance on the awards night that she’s keeping mum on for the moment.
She means business
Coming from a business reporter’s background, she admits that she sometimes finds herself in a surreal position. “The good thing about being a celebrity is that I now have a larger platform to speak about issues and be heard. And no, I haven’t been dismissed as just a pretty face,” she says.
Hosting shows since she was a teenager growing up in Bahrain, Fernandes doesn’t find herself at odds with her transition from serious journalist to Bollywood actress. “Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a broadcaster like Christianne Amanpour. That gave me a sense of achievement and purpose. I’m never going to give up anchoring, it’s just that I’ve planned my life in a way that I get to dabble in everything.”
Does that include fashion designing since her style has generated positive feedback from the fashion police? “I think I may draw the line at fashion designing. It takes me so long to decide on what I’m going to wear. I don’t think I will be able to design for other people.”
Currently, she’s busy trying on elaborate wedding outfits for her role as showstopper for Riyaz Gangji’s show at Shagun Wedding festival. “I was invited by Sajid-Wajid who are doing the music for the show. I’m very excited because this is my second outing as showstopper after walking the ramp for Satya Paul. My lehenga is stunning and it has a surprise element to it.”
The former ramp model reveals that she enjoys catching up with her modelling friends backstage at fashion shows. “I used to model when I first came to India. But coming back as a showstopper is like a reward for what I’ve achieved.”
Refuting suggestions that her model friends might be envious of her special treatment, she says, “Modelling is a tough job that requires discipline and dedication. You need to be perfect - have the perfect body and height.”
Fernandes admits that she’s often the one who feel envious, adding, “As actresses, I do think that we’re allowed to get away with having imperfections because we’re required to look like real people. If I’m standing next to a model, I find myself thinking ‘Oh my God, you’re so thin. Please give me diet tips.”
Looking forward to new projects, Fernandes confirms that she’s a part of director Milaap Jhaveri’s (Jaane Kahaan…) upcoming project. “But he’s still in the scripting stage. The sequel to Aladdin hasn’t been confirmed yet. But I had so much fun shooting the first, I hope they don’t forget me.”
Ask Fernandes whether she’s ever dismissed as being a pretty face and she responds, “Honestly, I don’t think that situation still exists. If you look at the United Nations today, many of their most prominent ambassadors are either musicians or actors. Actors are even getting into politics and being taken seriously.”
Taking cues from her days as a reporter, she adds, “If you ask intelligent questions, you’ll get intelligent responses. I think I’ve always conducted myself in a way that people know I’m not frivolous or uninformed.”