The B’town diva, with unconventional beginnings, speaks about being chosen as one of BBC’s most influential women, unwanted press and more.
Sunny Leone has just returned from her brother’s wedding, only to hear that her item song in Raees blaring everywhere. Sunny, who has done her fair share of Bollywood films over the past year, reminisces about the ups and downs that her life took over the past 12 months.
Your item song in Raees is already a rage after the release of the film’s trailer. How do you see this opportunity to work with King Khan?
I am ever thankful for Shah Rukh Khan’s support and willingness to work with me. He’s made me believe that anything is possible. He is someone who can change the course of my career, and I believe that this will change things for the better. I also think that if I can get here, then anyone who works hard can achieve whatever they want.
you must have enjoyed your brother’s wedding...
It was an amazing experience. It was a very small intimate wedding. Every single person who attended was very close to us, and the bride and groom. That’s the way it should be, in my opinion. We all missed my parents on the wedding day and tried very hard to make sure my brother Sundeep felt just as much love. We had our parents’ photograph with us.
You were on the list of BBC’s most influential women. What were your thoughts when you heard of this honour?
To be honest, I didn’t really know what it meant until I did some research. I feel very honoured to be chosen alongside such amazing women.
Does being featured alongside Karima Baloch, Neha Singh and others create a pressure to be socialy responsible?
I have always tried to remain who I am, which, I believe, is one of the reasons why I was chosen to be on this list. I believe in trying, at all times, to be a good human being, and following my dreams without hurting anyone.
Your journey has been hugely motivational for women who aspire to fame but don’t know how to get there. How do you see your journey?
My journey has not been easy, but I have a great support system both in terms of my team and my wonderful husband. I believe in persistence and professionalism. I might not be the best actor or dancer but I try my best and work hard.
You were subjected to a certain amount of intrusive scrutiny about your past. Did the BBC’s honour come as a reassuring endorsement of your progress as a professional and a human being?
Yes; a lot of journalists have not been nice. They have tried to boost themselves and their careers at my cost. But I believe in karma, and it always comes back around. I don’t care what they write or say; I know who I am and what my goals are, and no one can take that away from me.
The BBC honour apart, how do has the past year treated you?
My year, as always, has been a roller coaster ride, but I think there were more ups than downs.
Your Bollywood films as a leading lady have not done that well at the box office. Does that put a brake on your plans?
Absolutely not, I will continue to be the Bollywood girl, come what may.
What are your plans for 2017?
Just to keep working.
If you had to change anything in your life, what would it be?
Nothing. I love my life. Well, maybe one thing I would like to change at least for a week — I wish could eat pizzas and not gain weight [laughs].