After watching only a few seconds of this music video, we encounter dancing, singing, vibrant colors and, of course, romance. Yup, this can only mean one thing: Bollywood.
Who doesn’t love good Bollywood? In fact, this music video, produced by the United Nations’ Free & Equal Campaign, has already picked up more than 2 million views since being uploaded onto YouTube a few months ago.
“The Welcome” begins with a family preparing for a wedding. “Today, Sir is coming with his special friend,” one relative says in excitement as he puts up decorations. After much suspense, the groom-to-be finally arrives, but is met with stunned expressions from his relatives as his “special friend” turns out to be a man as well. The two join hands and wait for the verdict from a stern-faced grandmother.
Bollywood star Celina Jaitly intervenes and sings about a “new look” and a “new attitude” which accepts all forms of love.
After her initial hesitation, the grandmother decides to welcome the two men with a smile and they get their Bollywood happy ending after all — complete with dancing, music and a smile on every face.
As you may have already guessed, the video was created to promote LGBT rights. Specifically, this video is in response to India’s Supreme Court decision on December 2013, which reenacted Section 377 of India’s Penal Code, which states, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
The decision was opposed by many human rights activists, including the United Nations who chose to express their opinion in this delightful music video.
Popular actress, model and beauty queen Jaitly is not the only Bollywood celebrity to openly fight for LGBT rights. Just a few months ago, the beautiful Sonam Kapoor argued that India’s legal stance on homosexuality does not align with their cultural stance.
“We’ve regressed instead of progressing,” Kapoor said while discussing the possibility of homosexuality on the big screen. “I think movies can influence the way people think sometimes and if we do start making love stories, or we start making movies about people who are amazing human beings, people who have done something in life, people who are inspirational who aren’t necessarily only straight, I think people will start appreciating them more.”
Although this music video is not on the big screen, it’s certainly a step towards an accepting future.
Prior to being one of Bollywood’s most popular, desired and beloved actresses, Deepika Padukone had to make a number of tough calls. Before focusing on a career as a fashion model, Padukone was en route to following her father’s footsteps by playing badminton competitively. She played in the national level championships as well as state level tournaments.
Though talented at the sport, Padukone knew early on that her heart lay elsewhere. She was a child model by the age of 8, and in 2004, despite fear of her father’s disapproval, she began focusing on modeling full-time. Thankfully, her father wasn’t upset by her decision and a year later in 2005, she won the “Model of the Year” award at the Kingfisher Fashion Awards. It was only a matter of time before the acting world called out to her.
2) She stays true to herself.
In many interviews, Padukone admits that she is socially awkward. And not cute Jennifer Lawrence awkward. She says her social awkwardness and social anxiety led to her having very few friends as a child. Normally, a popular actress would deny that part of their personality, but not Padukone.
Despite the fame, Padukone has no problem admitting that it takes her a lot of time to open up to people. Unlike many of her co-stars who own the room when they walk in, Padukone knows and accepts her shy personality. She seems to have no plans of changing it.
3) She’s fearless.
When fans aren’t discussing Padukone’s career, they’re probably talking about only one other thing: her love life. This interest in her personal life is probably due to the fact that she is known to be rather open about it, especially about her ex-boyfriend Ranbir Kapoor. She often comes across as candid and not afraid to express her emotions.
In a 2013 interview, reporter Rajeev Masand asked if she had learned her lesson about publicly discussing her relationships. Padukone quickly bit back by pointing out that she was one of the first to open up and be honest about relationships. She clearly isn’t afraid to show her fans what’s truly happening in her life.
Deepika Padukone in a dress from her clothing line.
4) There’s more to her than meets the eye.
Padukone’s list of talents seem endless. In addition to her acting and modeling career, she has written for health and fitness magazines and is a columnist for Hindustan Times. She takes part in marathons, such as the World 10K Bangalore marathon, which often raises funds for a charitable organizations, and she even began her own clothing line in 2013.
5) She rolls with the punches.
A few years ago, Padukone’s career took a nosedive. She starred in a number of films, such as Bachna Ae Haseeno and Housefull, that received negative reviews.
Did she let this phase her? Absolutely not. She was confident in every role that she took on. In a 2012 interview, she said, “The films and the kind of roles I play, I’ve always believed in them. I’ve never really gone after what people expected me to do or what the industry expects me to do.” She continued to follow her gut and soon, her career took a turn.
In 2012, Padukone starred in the romantic comedy Cocktail, which was a major box office success and gave her a number of best actress nominations. She followed this up by acting in four of the top-grossing productions of 2013 and some of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time. She won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress and is currently one of the highest paid and most popular actresses in Bollywood.
BONUS: She’s beautiful!
She’s known as one of the most attractive celebrities in India. In 2008, she ranked first in Maxim India’s “Hot 100″ list and was named “India’s Most Beautiful Woman” in India’s People magazine. In 2012-2014, Padukone was ranked on The Times of India’s list of “Most Desirable Woman” and she was named the “World’s Sexiest Woman” in 2010 and 2014 by India’s FHM.
The following pictures prove it.
Want to see more of this incredible actress? Check out the trailer to her upcoming film FINDING FANNY.
FINDING FANNY releases in theaters across North America on September 12. Directed by Homi Adajania, the film also stars Arjun Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia, and Pankaj Kapoor with a special appearance by Ranveer Singh.
The beautiful Sonam Kapoor is known for a number of achievements. She is a famous model and Bollywood actress, she is known as the daughter of Indian actor and producer Anil Kapoor, and at the age of 28, she has over a dozen films under her belt as well as a number of award nominations in recognition of her talent.
As it turns out, Kapoor should also be known for her strong opinions and ability to stand up for what she believes in. She demonstrated this while in Cannes as an ambassador for the beauty brand L’Oreal.
During interviews, Kapoor discussed her disapproval of India’s laws on homosexuality. Last year, India’s Supreme Court put a ban on gay sex. On December 2013, their Supreme Court reenacted Section 377 of India’s Penal Code, which states, “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
Kapoor argued that India’s legal stance on homosexuality does not align with their cultural stance which accepts homosexuality. How does she think India can combat this law? Through the big screen.
Kapoor discussed last year’s Palme d’or winner, “Blue is the Warmest Color,” which is a lesbian love story. Kapoor voiced that having gay love stories on film would help her country become more open to the idea of homosexuality.
“We’ve regressed instead of progressing,” she said. “I think movies can influence the way people think sometimes and if we do start making love stories or we start making movies about people who are amazing human beings, people who have done something in life, people who are inspirational who aren’t necessarily only straight, I think people will start appreciating them more,” she said. “So yeah, I think we need to expose India a little bit more so we should make more movies about them.”
Yesterday, PolyMic.com released a story titled “28 Most Iconic Feminist Moments of 2013.” We’re not going to lie, we definitely jumped and cheered for many of these moments.
Of course, we were proud that these individuals helped women take a much-needed step forward, but what really caught our eye was the amount of Asians that made their way onto this list. We decided to take a closer look at these women.
Needless to say, we are awfully proud of the Asians who took part in the most iconic feminist moment of 2013. To check out the full list, click here.
1. Bollywood Actress Slammed Down a Reporter Who Criticized Her Views on the Patriarchy
When a female reporter asked Mallika Sherawat to defend her comment that India is “regressive and depressive,” she ripped her apart. “As a woman, I should lie about the state of women that’s in our country?” the actress replied. When the reporter wouldn’t give it up, the Bollywood actress just started dropping knowledge: “With female feticide, infanticide happening on an almost daily basis; with gang rapes making the headlines of almost every newspaper; with honor killings …” Her response came only a few weeks after the head of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation said if rape can’t be prevented, it should be enjoyed.
So who is this fiesty woman who dropped some knowledge? That would be none other than Indian actress and model Mallika Sherawat. Quite like her actual personality, Sherawat is known for playing characters with a bold attitude. Currently, the 37-year-old actress is trying to cross over to Hollywood. Thus far, she has been in two Hollywood films, Hisss and Politics of Love, and was featured in a Bruno Mars parody video.
Because of her time spent in Los Angeles, as well as her comment that India is regressive for women, Sherewat received a handful of negative criticism for those who felt like she did not like India. In the following video, Sherewat says exactly whats she meant by that and calls attention to a number of very important issues.
The description also calls attention to Central Bureau of Investigation chief Ranjit Sinha who faced a lot of heat for comparing rape to gambling and stating “if you can’t prevent it, enjoy it..” Read more on his controversial statement here.
2. International Outrage After Gang Rape in India Sparked Historic Change in Laws
After the fatal, brutal gang rape of a student caused international uproar and mass protests, the Indian government took drastic action. On March 19, the parliament passed an anti-rape bill that doubled the punishment for rapists. “Under the changes, the minimum sentence for gang rape, rape of a minor, rape by policemen or a person in authority will be doubled to 20 years and can be extended to life without parole,” BBC reported.
This set the stage for a global conversation about sexual assault and the persistence of rape culture across borders.
According to the Atlantic, three woman in India are raped every hour and yet the country has one of the lowest conviction rates. Thankfully, the discrepancy has been given a little more (deserved) attention. The new anti-rape bull includes double the amount of punishment for rapists. The minimum sentence is now 20 years and can be extended to life without parole. Additionally, voyeurism and stalking is now punishable by law.
3. GoldieBlox Proved That Girls Can Be More Than Princesses
Who knew feminism has so much viral potential? For decades, we’ve been targeting women and girls with pink princess junk, but as it turns out, telling females they can be anything can also work! When the good folks at GoldieBlox noticed that women only make up 11% of engineers in the world, they decided to reverse that trend. “By designing a construction toy from the female perspective, we aim to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of female engineers,” a statement on the company’s website says. “We believe there are a million girls out there who are engineers. They just might not know it yet. We think GoldieBlox can show them the way.” Well, I know what to give my niece for Christmas this year!
Debbie Sterling, a female engineer, realized that part of the reason many girls don’t grow up considering the engineering field has a lot to do with our childhood. Young girls don’t come home from the toy store with legos, lincoln blocks, or robots you to be built build for battle. They go home with dress-up barbies, build-a-bears, and fake make-up kits. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with these toys, the problem is simply that the opportunity to go out and explore is not available. Many young girls never considered being an engineer simply because they were never programmed to have any sort of interest in the field. Sterling decided to change that.
She described GoldieBlox as “a series of interactive books + construction toys starring Goldie, a curious girl with a love of engineering.”
4. Mindy Kaling Exposed One of the Worst Double Standards for Women
In an interview with Parade magazine, Mindy Kaling made a brilliant point about the assumptions we make about women. “I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?’”
Mindy Kaling is on our list of The Worlds 15 Most Followed Asian Female Celebrities on Twitter and happens to be one of Audrey’s cover girls. She talked more about her confidence and explained where it came from. “As confident as I feel,” she explained, “it takes an almost comically confident person to be able to say that they were destined to be in movies and television. I don’t think I was destined, but I think I am of the personality type where the rejection or odds of something doesn’t scare me. Maybe it was because my mom moved to Africa at 20 by herself, but there’s a certain fearlessness that runs in my family for things where there’s absolutely no reason to believe that it should work out. I get that from my parents.”
Check out the cover photo below.
5. Malala Made a Groundbreaking (and Very Feminist) Speech at the United Nations
On July 12, Malala Yousafzai celebrated her 16th birthday by delivering her first speech since she survived a bullet to the head by the Taliban. Her words inspired millions around the world, especially after she made some enlightening feminist statements like, “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”
The teenage girl’s courage and grace left us all (including Jon Stewart) speechless. TIME magazine got it wrong because in our hearts, she was definitely the Person of the Year.
If you don’t know who Malala Yousafzai is, then you ought to learn up. Malala was only a young girl when she became an activist for rights to education and rights for women. At the young age of 11, she began blogging about her life under Taliban rule. This was so powerful that in 2009, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life.
Her actions were seen as unacceptable and in 2012, Malala was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunman in an attempt to murder her. The strong young lady survived and continues to fight for what she believes in.
6. This Awesome Rape Prevention Video Parody From India Traveled ‘Round the World
This parody video created by All India Bakchod went viral around the world for its honest look at the worst persisting stereotypes about sexual assault. It features women using humor and sarcasm to point out the absurdities of rape culture. Given that a recent United Nations report found that two women are raped every hour in India, this video couldn’t come at a better time. Its reception was positive. The filmmakers told Al Jazeera that within a couple of days, they were already flooded with requests to translate the video into Hindi in order to reach a wider audience.
Known for her films Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin joined forces with TV presenter Juhi Pandey for the video AIB365: It’s Your Fault.This short is a brilliantly done satire on rape and the blame that is often placed on women.The video was made in response to the high levels of violence against women in India and the misconceptions over who is at fault.
The video begins with Koechlin saying, “Ladies, do you think rape is something men do out of a desire for control, empowered by years of patriarchy? You’ve clearly been misled by the notion that women are people too. Because let’s face it, rape is your fault.” If the satiric tone is not yet obvious, Koechlin goes on to say, “Scientific studies suggest that women who wear skirts are the leading cause of rape. Do you know why? Because men have eyes.”
The video continues by showing various articles of clothing which are unacceptable for women to wear, from skirts to a fully-covered astronaut suit. The video points out that women are to blame for rape regardless of what they wear simply because they are women. Watch this entertaining and enlightening video below.
If she hadn’t been bullied at an American high school, she may not have returned to India only to win Miss World. If she hadn’t won Miss World, she may not have become Bollywood’s biggest actress. For Priyanka Chopra, with her debut pop album just on the horizon, destiny is all about taking that next step after you fall.
STORY by Ada Tseng. PHOTOS by Yu Tsai.
BUY OUR WINTER 2013-14 ISSUE WITH PRIYANKA CHOPRA HERE.
When PRIYANKA CHOPRA was 17 years old, the young Indian beauty had spent a few difficult high school years abroad in the United States before deciding to go back to India for her senior year. Upon her return, her mother sent some photos Chopra had taken to apply for an engineering scholarship to the Femina Miss India beauty pageant. Within the span of a year, Chopra went from being taunted by American teenagers who called her “brownie” to winning the 2000 Miss World title at age 18 — still the youngest contestant to ever win the pageant in its 63-year history.
Now 31, Chopra says that if she hadn’t been bullied at school and desperate to return home to India, she would have never fallen into her mega-successful career in the Bollywood entertainment industry.
“I think it gave me the strength to take adversity head on,” says Chopra. “I also learned that your life and destiny is in your own hands. Take chances, push boundaries, jump, fall, fail, cry, and then brush it all off and start all over. You will face adversity at many points in your life, but you can’t let it become a roadblock.
“The incident [in high school] upset and hurt me tremendously,” she continues, “but ultimately made me stronger. Then being back home in India led me to participate and win the Miss India and Miss World crowns. I found what I loved to do, gave it everything I had and left the rest up to destiny. Nothing anyone says or does will ever change that.”
In a business that is ruled by Kapoors, Bachchans, Roshans and Khans (who are often sons and daughters of already-successful film industry folk), Chopra prides herself in being a self-made star. Her parents, both doctors in the Indian army at the time, had no connections to Bollywood. But when Chopra was flooded with acting offers after her Miss World win, her mother actually gave up her flourishing practice to come to Mumbai with her daughter to help chase her new dreams.
“We were so far removed from this world,” says Chopra. “We didn’t know anyone and didn’t know a thing about the film business. What actually helped us through it was that we knew this was not a ‘do-or-die’ situation, so we just trusted our instincts and stuck to our values. Every day was a challenge, everything I had to face, good or bad, was a new experience, and that in itself was a challenge.”
In the beginning of her career, Chopra was involved in some commercial successes — Andaaz opposite Akshay Kumar, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi with Salman Khan and Kumar, Krrish with Hrithik Roshan, and Don opposite Shah Rukh Khan — but it took a while for her to be taken seriously as an actress and gain parts that did more than capitalize on her looks.
“Learning to be an actor and understanding the craft was a huge challenge for me,” says Chopra. “I didn’t go to acting school. My [previously] desired career path was to be an engineer. So I listened, observed and absorbed everything that was happening around me. It gave me the foundation that I needed to build on and really paid off.”
One could argue that Chopra’s biggest turning point came in 2008, with her role as an ambitious supermodel in Fashion. Not only was Chopra in the title role in the women-centric film with no male leads, she picked up most of the major best actress awards that year, including the Filmfare Awards, International Indian Film Academy Awards, and the National Film Awards.
In 2012, she further cemented her acting chops by donning a short curly hairdo to play an autistic girl, rendering her almost unrecognizable as Ranbir Kapoor’s unlikely love interest in the romantic comedy Barfi!. Nowadays, with more than 40 films under her belt, she’s respected as a hard-working actress who is bankable yet not afraid to take chances with her roles.
But it was late 2012 that brought her boldest move yet — a foray into the international pop music scene. Bollywood film is known for its musical numbers, and as part of film tradition, the actors and actresses dance and lip-synch to songs that are pre-recorded by professional playback singers. While there have been instances of actors recording songs for their own films, Chopra is the first major Bollywood star to sign a record deal with the intent of releasing a solo English album for a global audience.
Instead of staying in India, where she is already a bona fide superstar with almost 5 million Twitter followers (the most of any Bollywood actress), Chopra deliberately chose Los Angeles as her base for recording music, and she is working with American artists and producers to develop her own style that fuses universally appealing pop/dance beats with her Indian roots.
“It’s been super fun, but also scary in a way, because as a lyricist you are delving into your own experiences and emotions to create these songs,” says Chopra. “As you will hear, my music is really driven by my moods. When I’m hyper I write a pop song; when I’m sad I write ballads.”
Chopra has since released two singles, with a third due any day now. “In My City,” featuring will.i.am, was certified triple platinum in India when it debuted in September 2012, and it made a resurgence this past September when it was chosen as the NFL Networks’ official new Thursday Night Football opening theme song. Her second single “Exotic,” featuring Pitbull, not only hit number one in iTunes India when it was released this past July, it also appeared on the Billboard Dance/Electronic charts in the United States, as well as the Canadian Hot 100.
Her upcoming debut album, scheduled for early 2014, is a collaboration between Universal Music Group, Interscope Records and Desi Hits!, and both “In My City” and “Exotic” were produced and co-written by Grammy-nominated producer RedOne, a Top 40 hit-maker for artists like Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, One Direction and Lady Gaga.
“Making music is such an organic process, and there is really no set pattern,” says Chopra. “In the course of putting my album together, I have had such varied experiences. Sometimes a song has been borne out of a melody created while sitting in the studio, or it germinates from a particular emotion that you are feeling on any given day. Sometimes a story or a word tossed into a conversation — that becomes the center point of the idea for your song. It can happen anywhere and anyhow, and that’s what makes it so magical.”
That said, her ardent Bollywood fans need not worry about her abandoning the silver screen any time soon, as Chopra’s filming schedule has definitely not been put on hold amidst the madness. Always the multitasker, the impossibly busy triple threat recently re-teamed with Hrithik Roshan for the superhero sequel Krrish 3, released in November, and she will soon finish filming the upcoming Mary Kom biopic, in which she plays the titular role of the celebrated Indian boxer. Chopra was also recently named the new Guess Girl, becoming the first model of Indian descent for the clothing brand and following in the steps of such well-known names as Claudia Schiffer, Anna Nicole Smith and Kate Upton. Handpicked by Guess CEO Paul Marciano, not only will Chopra appear in their holiday ads shot by Bryan Adams (yes, the musician) in the December issue for almost all the major American fashion magazines, her music and Guess campaign video will stream across the brand’s 1,700 stores worldwide.
Looking back, even though the teenage Chopra dealt with her share of mean high school girls who didn’t appreciate her South Asian roots, her experiences in the United States weren’t all bad. Her exposure to American hip-hop and R&B during her formative years — she was obsessed with Tupac Shakur and wore black to school every day for a week after he passed away — has influenced the eclectic mix of music she co-writes and listens to today.
And Chopra recognizes that we’re now in a different time: as the world is becoming more global (our own Miss America is of South Asian descent, after all), we just might be ready for an Indian pop star in America.
This cover story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here.
Chopra, the 31-year-old Bollywood star and former Miss World adds yet another amazing accomplishment to her name. The stunning beauty was hand-selected by Paul Marciano, Guess’ president, to be the new Guess Girl. This would make Chopra the first Indian Guess Girl. In an industry criticized for its lack of diversity, this is huge news.
“I’m like their first brown model,” Chopra tells Women’s Wear Daily. “For a global fashion brand, for them to move their campaign into a global space, for me it’s an honor.”
“Being the next Guess girl was something that I would have never thought of, but when I met Paul [Marciano], he was like, ‘You’re it. It has to be you.’” she adds.
The new Guess campaign will premiere in the December issues of Harper’s Bazaar, Nylon,Paper, Marie Clare, Elle, and WSJ Magazine.
As we mentioned previously, this is simply adding onto her list of already impressive achievements. For instance, Chopra became the youngest person to ever win Miss World at the age of 17. She has starred in some of the highest grossing Bollywood films of all time, has an album releasing soon, was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child’s Rights in 2010 and wrote for the Times of India.
Clearly, Chopra is a force to be reckoned with. We can only hope that Chopra continues to shape the face of this industry.
Known for her films Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin has joined forces with TV presenter Juhi Pandey for the video AIB365: It’s Your Fault.
The videohas gained more than a million views since its release last week and for good reason. Created by All India Bak (AIB), a group of stand-up comedians including Rohan Joshi, Tanmay Bhat, Gursimran Khamba and Ashish Shakya, this short is a brilliantly done satire on rape and the blame that is often placed on women. The video was made in response to the high levels of violence against women in India and the misconceptions over who is at fault.
The video begins with Koechlin saying, “Ladies, do you think rape is something men do out of a desire for control, empowered by years of patriarchy? You’ve clearly been misled by the notion that women are people too. Because let’s face it, rape is your fault.”
If the satiric tone is not yet obvious, Koechlin goes on to say, “Scientific studies suggest that women who wear skirts are the leading cause of rape. Do you know why? Because men have eyes.”
The video continues by showing various articles of clothing which are unacceptable for women to wear, from skirts to a fully-covered astronaut suit. The video points out that women are to blame for rape regardless of what they wear simply because they are women.
The video then takes a more serious turn. The women appear with visible injuries that we are to assume come from male rapists. Viewers are now haunted as a bruised Pandey points out that if a man is your husband, forcing sex is on you is not considered rape. All this is said while a man’s hand aggressively smears lipstick off her face. Chilling? You bet.
Largely because some of the viewers have misunderstood the satiric element, the video has gained some mixed reviews. Understood correctly or not, it has done its job. The video has facilitated conversation and has pulled attention to an issue that deserves to be continuously addressed.
“Yes, this video will only reach the English-speaking, ‘sarcasm-understanding’ young person,” Pandey tells reporters, “but at least it’s out there. It’s a drop in the ocean, but it is still a drop and I am glad to be have been a part of it.”
For the second year in a row, the Miss America tiara went to New York. This year, 24-year-old Nina Davuluri took the title.
Unfortunately, this celebratory moment quickly turned sour when Twitter exploded with racist comments about the newly-crowned Miss America. So we should probably clarify a few things to these terribly mistaken individuals. For starters, they seem to be missing the biggest point of all — Nina Davuluri is awesome.
1) She is making history for Asian Americans, and she knows it.
Born in New York to Indian parents, Davuluri is the first contestant of Indian descent to become Miss America.
“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” she said in her first press conference after being crowned Miss America. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”
In fact, as Davuluri and Miss California, Crystal Lee, embraced each other right before the winner was announced, Davuluri told the host, “We’re both so proud. We’re making history right here, standing here as Asian Americans.”
2) She proud of her roots: she performed Bollywood.
Although she missed her cue (sound was apparently poor for those on stage), Davuluri’s performance was one not to be missed. For her talent performance, Davuluri performed a classic Bollywood fusion with “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency” as a platform. Although she has 15 years of training in Indian dance, Miss America traveled to Los Angeles to train with So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan for the performance.
This is the first time Bollywood has been performed on the Miss America stage.
3) She doesn’t bash other Asian Americans.
Coincidentally, Davuluri was asked about another Asian American woman, Julie Chen. The television personality was recently criticized for undergoing surgery to boost her career.
Rather than criticize her fellow Asian American, Davuluri commented that although surgery wasn’t her personal choice, we should not criticize others for it. She commented on the importance of diversity and being confident in who you are.
4) She’s “going places” in the future.
Not only is this woman beautiful, she’s also quite intelligent. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science, and landed a spot on the Dean’s List, a Michigan Merit Award, and a National Honor Society Award.
With the $50,000 she earned from this pageant, Davuluri will apply to medical school and eventually hopes to be a cardiologist.
5) She dismisses the haters.
Although racist haters tried to bring her down, Davuluri decided to rise above the ignorant comments. She did not allow them to ruin a well-deserved moment in the spotlight.
“I have to rise above that,” she said at a press conference. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”
The Deepika Padukone cover story for the September issue of Filmfare Magazine starts: “It’s the best time to be Deepika Padukone, right now.”
The Bollywood actress (daughter of famed cricket player Prakash Padukone) has recently seen her star power shine brighter and brighter with each film release. Last year’s Cocktail was a hit, and this year brought the popular sequel Race 2; the box office success Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, showing she still has some sizzling on-screen chemistry with her ex-boyfriend Ranbir Kapoor; and Chennai Express, which reunites her with Shah Rukh Khan.
Next up for Deepika is the much-anticipated Ram Neela, opposite Ranveer Singh, her new “are they or aren’t they dating” co-star who’s hot off the critical acclaim of Lootera, and she’s in pre-production for Happy New Year, which reunites her with not only Shah Rukh Khan but also the director Farah Khan of her debut film, 2007′s Om Shanti Om.
Highlights from her Filmfare interview:
On her relationship with Ranbir Kapoor:
It’s always nice to have that one screen jodi that the audience looks forward to. I’m glad that Ranbir and I have formed that. I guess it’s also the way our characters were written and what the film did for us. And what also helped was the way Ayan [Mukerji], whoh’s a dear friend, directed the film. He brought out the best in us. I’m glad I have that equation with Ranbir. He’s someone I trust my life with.
On rumors about her dating Ranveer Singh:
People are more than welcome to speculate about Ranveer and me. But there’s to much goodness around me to worry about these speculations. … [As a co-star, he's] too giving, very positive and very entertaining. He’s also extremely sensitive. He puts on this tough exterior, shows his fun side, quirky side all the time. He’s all that. But beyond it, he’s also sensitive to the energies of people. To what people say. That’s such a wonderful quality for a man to have, when everyone else is trying to be manly, tough, and all of that. It’s so nice to meet someone who’s so real and so giving and so uninhibited. What you see is what you get with him.
If you were in a lift with Ranbir and Ranveer Singh together, what would you do?
Its always quite a delight to see Bollywood as a dance style featured on such a mainstream dance show as So You Think You Can Dance. Not only is it a representation of beautiful Asian dance, its also just incredibly fun to watch.
Last night, the final 6 dancers of So You Think You Can Dance Season 10 gave it their all in hopes of claiming a spot in the finale. The judges have raved that this group of finalists is quite possibly the best they’ve seen yet. Admittedly, I had high expectations.
Luckily, they didn’t disappoint.
19-year-old Ukrainian jazz dancer, Amy Yakima was given Alex Wong as a partner to perform a Bollywood-style dance.
This is a big deal. 23-year-old Wong was a previous contestant on SYTYCD, but injured his Achilles tendon during rehearsals of his Bollywood number with Adechike Torbert, and was unable to perform. As it turned out, the injury required surgery and at least 3 months recovery time. Wong was forced to to withdraw from the competition.
Needless to say, everyone was holding their breath during this performance. We can only imagine the fear that Wong must have felt having to perform the very same style that took him out of the competition a few years ago.
Luckily, the performance was a success. Following a standing ovation from the judges, the two dancers were showered with compliments for their physically intense number. The performance was so well done that Amy secured her spot for the finals.
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