Tara Sutaria: “Women Can Be Very Judgemental...We Need to Cut Ourselves a Lot of Slack!”

The actor shares with Cosmo all that she’s looking forward to—in life, her career, and the world at large!

Feminism, animal rights, and secret plans to open a restaurant...There's a lot to learn about the 24-year-old! Here, she takes Cosmo through it all, while discussing her next holiday(s), the causes  she feels strongly about, and more!

C: How has your sense of style changed over time?

TS: “I was always into fashion—reading magazines, seeing what’s new, watching documentaries on the different eras of fashion, etc. So I always had a sense of what I liked and disliked, and that hasn’t changed much. I like to keep things elegant, and sexy, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘in style’. I don’t like to follow trends—I just dress the way I like, whether it’s 'in' or not.” 

C: Having worked with so many pros on a regular basis, tell us a hack that you have recently learnt and loved.

TS: “The multi-use of a lip gloss! I was shooting for a lip gloss for Bobbi Brown once, and put the gloss on my eyelids as well as a little on my cheeks as a highlighter. It looked really nice! I even tried it on a friend of mine later, and it looked lovely on her as well (so we knew it wasn’t a one-off). And for fashion, it’d be cleverly repeating outfits. I have no qualms re-wearing outfits, especially blazers, and there’s this white one that I am totally obsessed with! I have worn it like five times already, and gotten papped all five times, been in newspapers and magazine pages wearing it, but no-one has even noticed it’s the same piece!” 

C: If your close friends had to describe you, what would they say?

TS: “That I am still really old-school, about everything—whether it is the music I listen to, or the kind of artists I like, or the films I watch, even the conversations I have! An old soul in a young girl's body, I suppose. I’d rather play music on my record player than on my phone!”

Tara Sutaria

C: And what is the one thing most people get wrong about you?

TS: “I don’t know if they still think so, but, initially, people mistook my shyness for snobbery. It was probably because I didn’t speak a lot, and everyone in this industry is rather outspoken, so they thought I was being snooty! I hope, now, they know I’m  not like that. I want to tell everyone that I love to talk and once I start, it can be hard to make me stop! Happy to chat with anyone, anytime!”

C: We know you feel strongly about feminism. What do you think this world needs to be a better place for women? 

TS: “I think there are certain prejudices that we have as human beings. And we see everyone through that prism. Also, as women, we are very quick to judge one another. We may deny it, but women can be naturally very judgmental. We need to cut ourselves and everyone else a lot of slack!”

C: You have been body-shamed, called overweight as well as anorexic. What is your take on these social constructs for women?

TS: “So many of these notions are from the past, and honestly have no place in today’s world, and make no sense anymore! We live in a time and age where so many topics, that were earlier considered taboos, can be spoken about, and changed for the better, through films, media, news, even our day-to-day communication online. If we can just talk about—and keep reiterating—how important it is for women to support women, things will be a lot better. If women don’t support each other, how can we expect the other gender to? It has to start with us. In so many interviews even today, I’m asked what I think of another actress’ outfit. I mean, why are we constantly pitting women against other women?!” 

C: According to reports, there has been a huge spike in cyber abuse since the lockdown began, and most of it is directed at women. How do you deal with all the negativity that’s now thrown around so casually? 

TS: “I completely agree about the increased negativity! It is absolutely ridiculous—the amount of bullying and harassment that happens online! I even posted some videos about this recently, to raise awareness. I may be strong enough to say, ‘You know what, it doesn’t affect me’, but not everyone can do that. And you can’t expect them to. I just hope we can all come together and speak up about it. The more we show we aren’t going to take it lying down, the more those guys will be afraid to write callously.”

Tara Sutaria

C: Have you ever been subjected to any stereotypes?

TS: “Yes...it happens, understated if not openly. Like, I just can’t fathom it when people say, ‘Oh the audiences don’t go to watch the film for the actress, they go for the actor, and that’s why the actor is more important and gets paid more!’. I know it’s not entirely wrong and does happen in some cases, but I sincerely wish it didn’t! And I hope we can change it.

I think that our society, across spheres, is not inclusive—and that’s very disturbing to me as a young woman. I have grown up in an ‘equal household’—my parents, my sister, my nani and I all live together, and we’ve all done our own thing. I’ve always lived my life my way, and I've been taught to always go by what I believe in. My dad has never told my mom what she should be doing, and vice versa. So I don’t get it when I see the outside world setting diktats. It angers me! I wish we could have the same rules for men and women, and raise kids like that, too.”

C: Who are the women that  inspire you? 

TS: “All three women in my family inspire me. They show me what it means to be good—a good human being, above everything else! I also look up to Barbra Streisand—she stands for everything that’s needed in the world, from feminism to good work. And she’s so talented. She is the kind of woman I want to be.”

C: You've said in the past, that 'You would do anything for animals'. Tell us more about that...

TS: “Since I was very little, every time I saw an abandoned puppy or a kitten, I’d bring them home, without thinking, without even asking my family! And I’d foster them for as long as needed, until they found a permanent home. So my house used to be like this little animal shelter. And that’s something I still do...it’s never going to change!”

Tara Sutaria

C: What’s in store, once things get back to normal?

TS: “Lots of time with my family, friends, and loved ones. And many, many, many holidays! As I said, it's time to live now, no point thinking, ‘Oh, I’ll go later, when I’m 30 or 40’. Who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow?! 

Professionally, I have some interesting projects lined up,  including the Hindi remake of Telugu hit, RX100, with Ahan Shetty. I just hope that after all this is over, we can take into consideration the time we’ve lost this year and start moving on rapidly—and create projects that involve artists from different countries, and mean something bigger than what we’ve been doing so far.”

Tara Sutaria

Creative Direction: Zunaili Malik;

Photographs: Rahul Jhangiani

Hair and Make-Up: Shraddha Inder Mehta; Fashion Stylist: Meagan Concessio