She likes new challenges that come laced with risk. There's always the pursuit of the 'new'. That's Mona Singh for you, who may still be your favourite Jassi, but who herself has moved on - now towards hosting reality shows.
In Chandigarh on Saturday to inaugurate Kipling in Sec-17, a store dealing in casual handbags, Mona is herself- bubbly & charming self, animated over much, including the IPL.
With actors having big stakes in the IPL, cricket has Mona's attention too. "I watched the Friday night match. I too am a Shah Rukh fan," smiles Mona, who'd soon be anchoring a new show on Sony titled Nayaa Roop Naaye Zindagi.<b1>
She says, "For the last one and a half years, I've been shooting for the show and it'll be on air by May It is a reality show where you would see people with, let's say acid burns, smashed noses, broken jaws undergoing extreme makeovers courtesy a team of specialists".
Now that Mona's contract with Sony channel has come to an end, she feels like a free-bird. "It's not been renewed and I'm exploring options."
Being Jassi and maintaining that unattractive look for so long was indeed testing. "It either had to be a hit or flop, nothing in-between. Though it was being tried for the first time on Indian TV there had been a show in Spain along similar lines, and had done very well".
The next time she took up a similar challenge was to dance on the sets of Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa. "I couldn't dance, not even at a birth day party! On the show, I thought I'd be monkeying around. I had a good choreographer in Toby who helped me shed weight and learn, dance.
After the first episode, I got very determined to put my best foot forward". And she set out to break the Jassi image, which she'd lived for three years. "No fictional show could offer a role bigger than Jassi. So I began anchoring Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa-II. I had no script but an impromptu session in the green room, which again was a new trend I set in hosting shows," tells Mona, who says she'd never quit TV but is reading film scripts.
Terming herself a "romantic but not ready to tie the knot yet", Mona chooses to talk cinema: "I'd like to do a Jab We Met… it was such a basic & beautiful movie".
In context of this stint in the fashion world, she tells us she has a fetish for shoes and big bags. Yes she finds her fashion in comfort, "I am not a sari person but yes salwar kameezes & whatever I'm comfortable in".
She may be launching a bag brand that inspires from renowned author Rudyard Kipling, Mona doesn't really place reading high on her scheme of things. Some years down the lane, she might like to don a producer's cap, says she, "but my focus has been on acting always. Though I don't plan things… it through hard work (30 auditions for Jassi's role) that I've made it here".