Celina Jaitly

“I am still a soldier at heart” ~ Celina Jaitly

Never one to conform, Celina Jaitly is a model-actress who has come a long way. Born into a family of soldiers, this “army brat” decided to take the high road only to become a Miss India and eventually an actress. Confident and courageous, she openly accepted her sex-symbol title and played it up with great oomph. She debuted in as a glamorous model in Feroz Khan’s Janasheen opposite Fardeen Khan creating waves. And just when you think she couldn’t amaze you more, she single-handedly advocated for the Gays and Lesbians in India. Immediately she was hit with criticism in the form of hate mail which she quickly dismissed and continued with her mission. She too joined the world of Twitter becoming an avid Tweeter and one who is immensely popular in Twitterverse. Celina speaks to Roshni Magazine about her being a Beauty Queen, an activist, an actress and a sex-symbol.

You have quite an interesting background: Half Hindu-Half Afghan beauty queen who has been quite the globe-trotter. How did you go from Army Brat to Beauty Queen?
Honestly I don’t know myself. I knew I would become something big in life. I didn’t know how or who, but I knew. One thing led to another and thanks to my guardian who sent my entry for Ms. India I got selected and never looked back.

Celina Jaitly was regarded as one of the most sought after models in India at one point. What was that feeling like?
During my modeling days, people use to compare me as a model to Kate Moss and I used to look in the mirror and cry at my teenage pimples (laughs). I never looked at myself as a professional model; it was just a way of earning extra pocket money to add to my educational courses.

And then of course, films came along. Did you always want to be an actress? And if you weren’t an actress what would you have been doing?
If I wasn’t an actor, I would have been in the Army am a 4th generation Army brat. I am still a soldier at heart.

You’ve always been a part of both Hindi cinema and International cinema. What are the main differences between both industries?
The process of acting is same Language doesn’t matter. The style of working varies definitely and I feel international cinema is slightly better planned and pre-production is very good.

Now you’re taking the plunge into Hollywood. What do you think you will find there that you haven’t found in the Hindi film industry?
I am doing international cinema only for one reason: I feel we actors are citizens of the world. Art, music sees no boundaries or borders it is understood in any language because cinema speaks only one language: the language of human emotions. I want to explore and reach all cultures, races and religions. What better way to do it the act in international cinema.

Do you feel you have been planted with the “sex-symbol” tag simply because you haven’t been given too many chances?
I feel the only reason behind it is being a Feroz Khan girl. I was introduced in a very glamorous sexy avatar in my first film and an image which captures a million hearts is difficult to shed. It’s a different thing that I have no problems in being a “sex symbol”; it’s just a symbol. It’s a sign of youth, sensuousness and blooming womanhood. What’s to complain?

Your audiences love you in all your avatars but comedy seems to be your strength. What genre do you love most and which would you like to try your hand at?
My personal favorite is comedy. There are too many problems in people’s lives and if they pay their hard earned money, they better go out laughing and fully entertained!

Open and honest about your relationships, do you feel the Indian media has been overly interested in your life?
Yes! They have. It’s a good sign. I feel being a public figure its part and parcel of being who you are.

How do you deal with criticism and scrutiny in your personal life?
Certain criticisms are constructive and I take them as good advice. The rest is just a stupid person’s idea of a clever person. I ignore it.

I love how you are not afraid to bare your heart and speak your mind irrespective of the issue. Is this a part of your personality or did you have to develop such thick skin?
I was born straightforward; what you see is what you get! I am different and I get into trouble for it but at least I go to sleep with a clear conscience and good karma.

Now besides being an avid Tweeter, you are also a supporter of the Gay Rights Movement in India. Why did you choose to support a group of people that are unfortunately looked down upon in India?
Because I care, it’s as simple as that. I don’t need to explain why my support stands. I saw atrocity and I stood up against it.

What would you like to change about the Indian perception and attitude towards homosexuals in India?
Stop treating them differently! God made us all the same. Sexuality does not affect how good and capable a human being one is. So get over your qualms; live and let live.

What advice would you give to aspiring models and actresses in India?
Get an education. Look in the mirror carefully and only then if you are 500% sure, take the step and give it your all.

And lastly, here’s some trivia: If you Google Celina Jaitly, there are over 750,000 hits! How does that stardom feel?
STARDOM! I’ve worked very hard for it, harder to maintain but the best goddamned thing that happened to me. Insha’Allah I wish the same to everyone in their respective fields. I am most thankful to god for it.

Okay now seriously last question, words of wisdom for the world.
Follow your dreams for you neverknow where they might take you.

~Roshni M.
(November 2009)

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