"I Was Ridiculously Skinny And Had Buck Teeth": Lisa Haydon

The camera loves Lisa Haydon, but this screen-scorcher has more to offer than her gorgeous body. Click to read on...

Cosmo: We just have to start with how amazing you look! What’s the secret to your killer body?
Lisa Haydon:
“Thank you! I’m currently training in TRX and doing pilates as well—but I’ve been exercising consistently all my life.”

C: Did you ever have an ugly duckling phase growing up?

LH: “Oh god, yes! I was ridiculously skinny, had buck teeth, metal braces, an untameable afro—the works. I couldn’t put on weight (despite eating insane amounts of ghee and butter rice). People often crib about not being able to lose weight, but they don’t get what a struggle it is to be underweight too. I was definitely pretty awkward growing up.”

C: You’re half Australian and half Indian. Do you identify with one culture more than the other?
“Both! I can’t imagine not being connected to either. My behaviour might be Aussie, but my sentiments are Indian. I’m straight down the middle.”

C: Was it a conscious decision, deciding to move into acting from modelling back when you started?
“It was something that just happened in its own time. I can’t pinpoint an exact moment. But I felt satiated as a model and I wanted to do something new, so...”

C: And which, in your opinion, is the more challenging of the two?
“Not everyone can be a good model, you know. The body fluidity, the attitude— there are many elements that make up a great model. Having said that, I’m learning so much with acting as well. They’re both incredibly challenging, but my ‘growth space’ at the moment is acting...”

C: Which, of all the characters you’ve played, has really made an impact on you?

LH: “Vijayalaksmi! Playing her in Queen changed my whole life! Now I’m always like ‘I need to channel my inner Vijayalaksmi again, I need my Vijayalaksmi back!’ I keep thinking about what happened to the days when I had time to be like her. One thing’s for sure—this is a character I absolutely never want to exorcise.”

C: Shaukeens seems like such fun! Tell us about your character in the film...
“That character was wildly fun to play. She’s volatile, obsessive, dorky—and a total drama queen! She basically lets anyone into her space—and has no clue that three old men are attracted to her!”

C: Are you the kind of girl who loves the fame—or does it get on your nerves sometimes?
“Of course there’s a downside to it—it would be too fantastic if it didn’t have one, right? But if I sit around cribbing about it, I’ll just miss out on all the love I could be getting!”

C: You’re not the kind of actress who does films by the dozen. Are you very particular about what kind of films you take on?
“A film is a big undertaking—it’s essentially the next year or so of your life. This isn’t me being pricey— its choosing from what works, for them and for me. If we like each other, we work together.”

C: And what’s an absolute no-no?

LH: “Dishonesty. Oh, and if he’s boring. Boring’s just the worst.”

C: What kind of role are you simply dying to play on screen?
“I’d kill to play a musician. The kind of chick who sings and plays the guitar.”

C: Speaking of guys, what’s your stance on relationships? Best kept private or declared to the world?
“I’d have no trouble being open about it—if I was in love. The experiments in the interim are best kept to yourself. There’s just too much judgment out there...”

C: You must be so busy with shooting all the time. What do you like to do with your time off?

LH: “I like to step out of my working world and be a civilian. Things like reading, having dinner with friends, going for a run, making a cup of coffee, cleaning my room... Things that ground me.”

C: With everyone abuzz about your sex appeal, do you think you’ll ever be able to turn off the ‘sexy’ for a character?
“Ahana (from Shaukeens) wasn’t particularly sexy. She was a crazy stalker! I thought she was pretty desperate and obsessive—what’s less sexy than that? The thing is, if people are going to typecast me, it’s sad, but I can’t help it. I, on the other hand, would love to play someone physically unappealing. I’d totally embrace the idea.”

This interview was published in the January 2015 issue of Cosmopolitan India.