Coveted as it might be, finding your space in the Indian entertainment industry comes at a great cost for many. As for Jacqueline Fernandez, it came with constant reminders of her being an “outsider.” And worse than that, it came with some unsolicited advice on changing her name and the way she looked.
In a recent media statement, the Sri Lankan beauty went candid about the challenges that she had to face to navigate her place in Bollywood. “It’s been about 10 good years. The craziest thing was that when I came here, I never thought how to stand out or do things differently,” the actress shared.
She added, “I was told to change my name to Muskaan. My agency had these suggestions: Should we change her name because Jacqueline Fernandez is too western. How do we crack the industry with such a name? I was sure I’m not changing my name. People used to tell me I have to be a certain way. They wanted me to make my eyebrows darker.” And then somebody left Jacqueline aghast with the suggestion of going for a nose job. However, the actress maintained her cool through her phase and that helped her sustain despite all the body-shaming comments and suggestions.
She said, “I just wanted to be me. So, I didn’t put an act! People told me, ‘Do a nose job, change your name’. I was like, ‘is all this really needed?’ I was calm, relaxed and collected about it. It worked out for me,” shared the actress.
Jacqueline’s statement actually throws light on the dark side of the showbiz and how burdening women with unrealistic body and beauty expectations just happens to be part of the mechanism. Like she shares, “And the one feature of mine which I loved since childhood was my nose and then, someone asks me to change my nose.” However, the actress decided to just laugh it off.
But then there were other challenges as well. For instance, it took Jacqueline forever to rent a decent home in Mumbai. At more than one instance, the actress was turned away from a house just because she belonged to the industry. “No, we cannot give it to anyone from the film industry,” they told her point-blank every single time.
Despite all the challenges, Jacqueline stayed true to who she was and didn’t change herself in any way possible and that seems to have worked for her. Now that she has achieved a certain amount of success in the industry, there is yet another challenge that has been haunting her of late. “Now I am constantly thinking about how to retain it. What do I need to do,” she says.
While their lives might appear all glamorous from a distance, the women in the Indian film industry have to actually deal with layers and layers of prejudices from both the insiders in the industry as well as the outsiders. We need to give it to Jacqueline for not giving in and staying her true self all this while. The industry certainly needs more women like her. Here’s to her fierce spirit!
Featured Image: Instagram
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