Earlier this year, Sushmita Sen made a smashing comeback with the web series Aarya, and was lauded for her strong performance. The actor may not be a regular on the big or small screen, but she still enjoys a huge fan base with whom she keeps interacting through social media channels — by sharing posts not only on fitness and fashion, but also heartwarming moments with her family and partner Rohman Shawl.
How would you describe your personal style?
It has always been about comfort, vibrant colours and classic styles. I do not like to mix and match too much but there are days when I like to be dramatic. My fashion preferences flow with my state of mind. Professionally, I like the element of drama. There is a lot I can wear and get away with, that most people cannot. I like to experiment with fashion but more on the classic side.
What does fashion as a personal choice mean to you?
For me, fashion is much more than a personal choice, it is a fabulous indulgence. It is aspirational and tells you about different cultures and times through human existence. Sometimes, it can be less personal because it can be driven by trends, seasons and the market demand. Style, however, is far more personal.
You will be judging the Myntra Fashion Superstar. What will you be looking for in the contestants, and finally the winner?
I am super excited to be judging this season of Myntra Fashion Superstar. It is actually quite a challenge to judge such incredibly talented participants, who have big dreams and so much raw potential. I will be keeping an eye out for any qualities of an influencer showcased by the contestants this season.
Today, with digital and social media having a strong voice and influence globally, it is really important for influencers to not just be about the look, but also invoke emotions that have the power to change conversations. I am looking for a contestant who is unique and has the talent to shift conversations on all levels.
Fashion has evolved over the years with bloggers and influencers giving it a completely new dimension. What are your views on this?
It is true that fashion has evolved, as it should. Every new generation paves its own path towards its fashion preferences and tastes. There is a lot more awareness nowadays and bloggers and influencers have found a commanding voice on social media platforms. Back in the 1990s when the internet was just picking up, I did not have access to information on global designers, street fashion and elements of style people were using from around the world. Today, youngsters are already aware of what colours are trending and the latest styles. It is wonderful to see them develop a good understanding of fashion at a very young age, both girls and boys.
You made a comeback with Aarya. Did you miss your time away from the film set? What do you want to do differently this time around?
I missed not just being on the set but the process of learning on the job as well. One can never claim to be a complete actor, like most creative endeavours, as it is an ongoing process. Back in the day, I used to say ‘I am a satellite hit’, but now I can also say, ‘I am an online hit’. I am very excited to be part of Aarya and to be judging Myntra Fashion Superstar. It is lovely to be back.
Things have now changed due to the pandemic. How challenging is it to work with all the new hygiene and safety protocols in place?
The pandemic has put a lot of things into perspective, not just for us, but globally as well. It is hard to fathom the pain and suffering as many around the world find themselves in dire consequences.
It has been different with the safety protocols in place, but life has a way of moving forward and the show must go on. Everyone always wears a mask and maintains social distancing on set. I do miss hugging people, from time to time, as it is my natural instinct to greet people like that. However, safety always takes priority and it is our responsibility to follow the guidelines.
How has the lockdown experience been for you? What has been your biggest learning?
With everything that has happened this year, I am extremely fortunate and grateful that my family and friends have remained healthy. The greatest learning has been the awareness that we do not live in isolation and that we are deeply connected, as this pandemic has shown. I hope we take this learning forward with us for generations to come.
The pandemic also created a buzz about sustainable living and fashion as a way forward. What is your take on sustainability?
We have known for a long time, even before the pandemic, that being affable and in balance with nature is important for us going forward. There have been stages of abusing the gifts of nature in every aspect of social existence, including fashion. It is important to be environment-friendly and it’s encouraging to see a lot of new and upcoming fashion designers developing sustainable fashion. It makes me very proud and we should support them.
If you were the fashion police for a day, what would you ban and why?
The only way people can follow their fashion DNA and be unique is to be confident and comfortable in their choices. If I were the fashion police, I would encourage people to do what they want and this, in turn, brings greater variety to fashion. “You be you”, is my motto while judging the contestants. I would like to see them become the glorious versions of their true selves and express it through fashion in the show.
How experimental are you when it comes to your personal fashion? What are the big no-nos in your wardrobe? What is it you love?
I have a long list of favourites, but personally, I love the classic styles. Luckily, I am in a profession that allows me to be experimental, even with colours or prints that I do not particularly like, for films, fashion catalogues and magazines. When it comes to the ’no-nos’ in my wardrobe, I do not like to deal with ‘loudness’, but I am okay with ‘drama’. There is a fine line between being loud and dramatic when it comes to styling. Another thing I do not like is forcing colours into an outfit just because it is in trend. I prefer to be comfortable and have a good feel with the colours I wear.
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