An actress, businesswoman, producer, model, and a writer — Shilpa Shetty Kundra who has appeared in more than 50 films in Bollywood and given hits like 'Baazigar', 'Main Khiladi Tu Anari', 'Jaanwar' 'Garv', 'Dus','Apne' 'Rishtey' (2002), 'Phir Milenge' (2004) and Life in a... Metro (2007), opens up about her journey in this industry. Shetty later went on to become a global figure after winning the 2007 British reality television series Celebrity Big Brother 5, also spoke about how she stood not just herself but for everyone who has faced racism.
Talking about her journey with Humans of Bombay, Shilpa Shetty revealed, “I was this dark, tall & lanky child who had her life pretty much laid out for her. I’d graduate & work with my dad. Even though in my heart I wanted to do something different, something bigger & better, I never felt like I could.. But when I participated in a fashion show, just for fun, I met a photographer who wanted to click my photos. For me it was a great opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. To my complete surprise, the photographs came out really well!
That opened the doors of modelling for me. Soon, I got offered my first film! There was no looking back from there, I was going onwards & upwards.
But nothing worth having comes easy. I was all of 17 when I entered the industry, I hadn’t seen the world or even understood life. With all the success came scrutiny. I wasn’t ready for it.
I didn’t know how to speak Hindi, I shuddered at the thought of being in front of the camera. I reached a point where after a few films my career hit a lull. I tried hard but it always felt like I was lagging behind. It’s not easy to be celebrated one moment & ignored the next.
I remember there were producers, who without any reason, threw me out of their films. The universe wasn’t in my favour, but I had to keep trying no matter what.
It was at that time that I decided to reinvent & entered Big Brother. It was a chance to do something unique. But it ended up leaving a huge impact! I was publicly bullied & discriminated against just because of the country I belonged to. It wasn’t easy – I was all by myself in that house!
But I kept me going – I couldn’t give up, not after reaching this far. When I won, people kept telling me, ‘You’ve made us proud.’ That’s when I knew that all of that struggle & persistence was worth it. I had stood up not just for myself, but for all of those who had faced racism.
My life has been filled with ups & downs. I went from being the shy girl to someone who was front & center on the silver screen. There were terrible times, but there have also been some great accomplishments. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! It’s made me who I am today – a strong independent woman, a proud actor, a wife & a mother. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
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