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June 2012
The Actress In Her her Comfort Zone
She is the Bollywood damsel who is “genetically blessed” to the point that she has to diet to put on weight. Amrita Rao, a self-confessed foodie and a PETA activist, in conversation with Lubna Parveen

Tell us about your journey in Bollywood.
Oh my God! It’s been a long journey! But I guess I started very early. I still have a
long way to go. The best part is that I’ve found name and fame in this industry.

Regional movies – you have dabbled in Telugu industry. What are the other challenges specific to regional cinema besides language?
I think, very honestly, it’s a lot of hard work, especially for actresses, because you
have to give your first shot at 6 a.m. The heroes come in a little late. And generally
food i.e., Andhra food is very spicy. The language of course is a big problem.

What are you looking forward to the most, as an actress?
Now the trends in Bollywood are changing drastically. I am looking forward to roles that are meaty yet that which do not require me to expose and are within my comfort zone.

Taking from your association with PETA, what is your line on
vegetarianism and compassion for animals?
Just because we are stronger and we can control them, it is not right for us to
harm them.

Over 30 brand endorsements ranging from toothpaste to chocolates. It has been a long way from the Fairever face cream. What defines your choice of product endorsements?
I think, as a model, I was very lucky that the best of brands came to me. Now as an
actress I am choosey about the brands that I want to endorse. The only difference
now is that now I am a brand myself, so my association with a product also
influences the brand. I guess every product has a certain degree of reputation and a
standard. And even if it is new, it has some kind of quality and trademark to it.

You have been brand ambassador for a jewellery brand too. Personally, what role does jewellery play in your sense of being or feeling completely dressed?

I am in a profession where I am costumed all the time. And because I play different characters, I cannot wear my personal jewellery. I look forward to occasions like weddings and poojas when I can wear my personal ones.

What elements do you look for in your choice of clothes, be they casual or formal?
Comfort for me comes first; secondly customizing fashion is very important. What looks good on a mannequin does not necessarily look good on you. And lastly, if you get the first two correct, the last one automatically falls in place - ‘confidence’.

Who are your favourite designers?
Manoviraj Khosla – I haven’t worked with him, but I like his work. Archana Kocher – whom I have worked with several times.

What is your most comfortable attire? What are your must-have accessories?

I feel really comfortable in a pair of jeans and tees. A smart watch, nice bag and shoes, as good accessories can make even a single tone jeans look nice and trendy.

If you were to give yourself a personal style statement, what would it be?
It would be a smart haircut.

What special beauty treatments do you rely on, periodically?

Honestly, I am one of the very few actresses who hasn’t experimented with her face. And even if I do bleach or have a facial, it’s once in six months. Fortunately, I think I am genetically blessed. And my mother always said, you must not play with your skin too much, because young skin does not require much pampering.

What are your weaknesses in front of a platter?
I am a foodie and I know that I don’t look like one. Sometimes it is so that your stomach is full but your desire is not. And it is the case with me most of the time. I guess sometimes I even tend to overeat. My friends say that I am a big time foodie so I admit that I am one. Junk food is my weakness.

What does size zero mean to you?
I am the original size-zero. I have great metabolism. The more junk I eat, the more I lose weight. If I have to put on weight, I actually have to follow a diet and eat all healthy stuff together. Therefore, losing weight has never been an issue with me.

Are there foods that you avoid totally? Why?
Because I am a vegan, I totally avoid non-veg food. There is no diet food. It is actually home-made traditional South Indian food. Left alone, what would be a quick fix meal you would churn out for yourself? My quick fix meal is khichdi, because I know how to cook it and also because it is very healthy.

What are your fitness mantras? Is there a daily regime? Elaborate…
Very honestly, I don’t have to follow any exercise routine. But I do turn to Yoga sometimes.

What do you do to de-stress?
I de-stress by doing a couple of things. I call my friends and chat up with them regularly. I watch films, as it makes you forget everything for a while and enter a different world. I also listen to music, especially retro songs.

From the point of a successful young woman - what is your code for fitness of the body and mind?

I think our generation is very ambitious. We want results very fast. And that sometimes comes in the way of our achievements on the health front. Because you have to give your faith and dedication for that daily dose of vitamins, go for rounds of your morning or evening walk or do 5 minutes of pranayam. I think that consistency and patience are very important for you to see a radical change in yourself.

What role has family played in your life?
Family is very important to me. As the support that I got from my family was enormous. My mom has stood by me throughout my career. Especially when I was a teenager… She helped me handle my meetings with important people.

Daily Skin Care
No matter how tired I am, I make sure to remove my make-up thoroughly with a good cleanser and a face wash before I go to bed.
Make-up tips: After a long schedule or heavy make-up day, make sure you remove the make-up by first taking steam with a steam machine and then wiping off with cotton. This will help remove the stubborn residue.
Summer tips: In summer, wash your face 4-5 times a day and use products that suit your skin, as every skin type cannot accommodate every product or every moisturizer.

Diet Chart
Breakfast: Idli, dosa, upma, sometimes bread and cheese or a sandwich. Sometimes a traditional or a continental one.
Lunch: Rice with vegetables. Sabzi, dal sprouts, lots of coconut based Manglorean
Dinner: Rice with vegetables. Sabzi, dal sprouts, lots of coconut based Manglorean
Snacks: All junk food.

“My quick fix meal is khichdi, because I know how to cook it and also because it is very healthy.”

Style: Customizing fashion.
Success: Bettering your previous performance.
Attitude: Important for everybody.
Family: Impartial to you about success.
Relationships: One has to give more to get more from it.

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