Athiya’s family has been a big source of inspiration and strength for her. And spending the lockdown being surrounded by her whole fam, her four dogs and a rescued turtle, has been a fulfilling experience for her. “We all lead such busy lives and have such varying schedules, but for the last couple of months, my entire family has been at home at the same time. It’s been a reunion of sorts. My dad and I have been working out together for five months now, and that’s been really fun. He is also really passionate about gardening, and while I am clueless about it, we decided to grow our own salad...taking the whole farm-to-table approach,” Athiya says, palpable enthusiasm in her tone. And her appetite to be kinder to the planet has only grown. She explains how she feels passionately about sustainability. Even for Cosmo’s covershoot, Athiya chose (mostly) sustainable clothing from homegrown brands, in sync with our Shop Local initiative, where we promote homegrown talent. “Most of the clothes I’m wearing are by brands that champion the sustainable cause...except for one dress, because the other one didn’t fit so I had to resort to my backup,” she smiles. “The lockdown has made me so conscious about this. I recycle from my own wardrobe and look forward to my mom’s hand-me-downs. I thought it was a great opportunity because being on the cover of Cosmo will further create awareness about being mindful about our choices.”
Conversations about clothes lead us to a surprising fact about Athiya. “I hate shopping!” she says. “Everybody thinks I’m so into fashion, which I am...but I can’t shop. I don’t understand how people like shopping, it drives me nuts. I get dehydrated and grumpy! In fact, my mom still shops for me!” she laughs. Turns out, her beauty regime doesn’t come with a trumpet call, either. “I have a minimalistic beauty regime...it’s as simple as using coconut oil to relieve my super-dry skin and wearing sunblock. But I am obsessed with face packs! So anything that’s leftover in the kitchen, I’ll mix it with yoghurt and honey and slap it on my face. In fact, while everyone was obsessed with TikTok, I only created an account to get in on the DIY face masks!”
But Athiya is certainly no stranger to beauty boo-boos: “So, a friend of mine got me some really cool beauty stuff from Tokyo—face masks, different types of lenses, eyelashes, etc. And she also got this thing that would make your eyes look bigger. I was really curious, and tried it right before an event, and I don’t know what happened, but it looked like my eyes were like going to pop out of the socket. And everyone was like, what is going on with your eyeballs?! It was a total disaster,” Athiya giggles.
I can’t help myself but bring up the subject of her adorable dogs, one of whom even made a cameo in the Cosmo shoot. “I have three Great Danes, a Husky and a turtle, so my house feels like a bit of a farm,” says Athiya, diving into stories about them just like any proud pet mamma. “It’s really funny...I woke up this morning, and my Husky was trying to play with my turtle who was roaming around the house. The Husky is the most spoilt out of all of them, but the Great Danes, oh my God! So, they’re huge but they behave like pups...they want to sit on our laps, or they’ll try to climb on top of us and sit on us. You know, squeeze into the tiniest corners! And when we try to take them for a walk and they do not want to, they try to hide behind a tree. And I’m like, I can see you!” Athiya adds that she grew up with animals, and feels that the world is “a better place with animals, because they teach you so much about life, and their love is so unconditional.”
Another one of Athiya’s great joys is books. “I like autobiographies!” she says. “I just finished Michelle Obama’s Becoming. I had watched the Netflix series, but I really wanted to read the book, too. Now I’m reading Jay Shetty’s Think Like A Monk...he just sent it to me,” she shares. And what’s on her binge-watch list? “I’ve seen so much content off-late...everything that has come out, I have seen it! I binged-watched Sex And The City and F.R.I.E.N.D.S and then I went to other complete extreme and watched Paatal Lok. So yeah, it has been a mixed bag of content.”
While most would agree that Athiya is a fairly non-controversial person, there is a piece of news about her from a few years ago, about a rumoured relationship with a certain rapper. I tell her that the news has resurfaced...and she is happy to set the record straight for us. “Yes, I am friends with Drake!” she declares. Turns out, the two casually met at a restaurant in London two years ago, and have been in touch ever since. “I often joke that we are like pen pals, because we never really met after that... But I’m obviously a huge fan of his music, and he has seen my movies as well!” Speaking of rumoured boyfriends, if their social media receipts are to be believed, Athiya is dating Indian cricketer KL Rahul. However, she isn’t particularly keen on getting into details, and leaves us with: “The thing about me is that I have nothing to hide, but I will never speak about this!”