Interview with Jacqueline Fernandez: Cosmopolitan April Issue 2012
Under the calm exterior and beachy waves lies a super-ambitious girl. It is fascinating, the fantasy that swirls around her. Few can resist its pull. Her ebullience overflows to everyone around her—meet the real Jacqueline. The rising star reveals challenges that thrill her, the importance of family and why she totally loves shooting songs.
Right now, Jacqueline Fernandez is a very busy girl. Juggling a photoshoot that she just wrapped up in Kenya, a film schedule that she is leaving for later tonight, an interview that she finished minutes before starting this one, and cleaning her new walk-in wardrobe, she has her hands really full, quite literally.
That’s some routine, I say; “I know, right!” she exclaims. “It’s like a really stressful job! Actually, I just got this cool cupboard installed. I’ve built myself this walk-in wardrobe, and I always clean it up and make sure it looks neat. I’m really particular about my surroundings and stuff. I kinda like cooking my own food and I like cleaning my own house. So when I’m not shooting I’m doing household chores!” Jacqueline pauses for breath, before continuing: “My work never ends. But it kind of de-stresses me. I don’t know why I’m obsessed with seeing a perfect, clean finished product.” Housework aside, Jacqueline is currently awaiting the release of her film Housefull 2, a multi-starrer comedy, with co-star John Abraham.
“From there, I go straight into Race 2, which is all action and stunts, so I’m really excited about it,” she grins. And is she prepared for all that activity? “Yeah, I’m pretty much training and working for that right now, which includes taking martial arts lessons.” Jacqueline clearly loves what she does, but if there’s one thing she loves most, it’s shooting for songs.
Working on a scene and learning dialogues can sometimes be stressful, she tells me, “but shooting for songs is relaxing and a lot of fun because you’re always singing along, and dancing, and it ends up looking so glamorous!” Jacqueline has the infectious laughter and enthusiasm of a little girl, which may have to do with the fact that she’s the youngest of four siblings. But that doesn’t mean she was spoilt, she’s quick to add. “I was the one helping mum with the dishes and ironing, and my siblings would be like, ‘What a weirdo’.”
“I was naïve and silly as a kid...I always wanted to go out and explore, so I spent most of my time with my brothers, climbing roofs and goofing around. But I loved my Barbie dolls too, so I was this confused kid, who didn’t know whether she wanted to go out and play football or sit at home and dress up her dolls!” So did she want to be an actor from the start? “I always knew I wanted to do something glamorous. I used to watch a lot of Hollywood cinema, including classics, so that was my only exposure to 70MM,” she says. It was only later that she realised Hollywood might be a tough dream to achieve. “That’s why I started doing TV,” she says. “I was like, ‘Okay, TV I can do, reporting I can do, anchoring I can do, hosting I can do. I don’t know how Bollywood happened. I honestly don’t. It hit me out of nowhere, took me by surprise. I had never spoken about it, and it never even crossed my mind. I guess destiny has a funny way of getting you to your path and surprising you,” she adds, in a serious voice.
But while Jacqueline is glad to be an ‘industry insider’, she is aware it doesn’t come without its own share of annoyances. One of the biggest being the rumour mill. “The first time I read stuff about myself, I was really upset,” she says.
“I made a hundred phone calls to ask who said that stuff, and why they said it. Then I started coming to terms with the fact that newspapers and gossip magazines are a big business, and there are people who get paid to do it. So now, I just laugh it off.”
Jacqueline tells me that she guards her privacy. Fiercely. “I’m not publicity hungry,” she says. “I’ve been told by people that I should be ‘hungry’, that I should be a ‘shark’, but that’s not me. I’m really not that bothered with being written about. And yes, I realise that will not get me work. But I just want to be noticed for my work and honestly, if otherwise I can go unnoticed, I’ll be the happiest. That’s why people don’t see me around much, and I prefer it that way because it gives me a sense of normalcy. I’m one of those fortunate actors who can go out unnoticed. I can literally go around Bandra and do my vegetable shopping and not be noticed. And I like to keep it that way.”
Which is why on days when she’s not shooting, Jackie enjoys being a homebody. She spends her free time reading a book, surfing the Internet, going for long walks, or simply being a couch potato. “You know, I love watching TV shows. I’m like one of those housewives, who will just sit in front of the TV and watch everything,” she laugh.
Another passion she admits to is her love of the outdoors. One of the the perks of being an actor, she says, is that she gets to travel to exotic locales and experience things she normally wouldn’t be able to. “I want to be able to see everything. Whenever I’m shooting outdoors, I always take a tour of the city with a guide. And I always carry a copy of Lonely Planet. I grew up near the beach, in Sri Lanka and then Australia, which is why I love the sun and sand. I’m an advanced scuba diver, so being underwater gives me a huge high.”
Speaking of things she loves, what’s up with Jacqueline’s love life? Does she believe in the fairy tale, love-at-first-sight variety? “Absolutely! That initial chemistry is essential!,” she says. “I’ve never fallen in love with someone I’ve known for a long time, so the sparks of love at first sight have always played a major part in the bonding.” And what about her rumoured affair with actor and director Sajid Khan? “Well, there’ll be no mystery left if I told you guys about it,” she says.
Since the relationship topic is a no-go, I bring up fashion. Jacqueline is one of Bollywood’s well-dressed elite, and I ask her how she does it. “I like to pick pieces that are unique and out-of-the-box—a bit unpredictable,” she says. “I feel best in dresses...I’m not a jeans person, I like flowy stuff. I also looove jackets.” As we approach the end of our chat, I realise that Jacqueline really is as normal as she would like to be. In a self-assured, positive way. What’s the secret to this confidence? “Be comfortable with who you are, and if there’s something you don’t like about yourself, make an effort and change it for the better,” she signs off.