From making size zero a national rage once, to now embracing her curves in all their glory—Kareena Kapoor Khan’s journey of body love and acceptance has been a well-documented one. Here, the actor—also the face of PUMA’s latest yoga line, Studio Collection—opens up about her changing relationship with her self, the subsequent evolution of her style sensibilities, the first time she rebelled against a stereotype, and why she *would like to believe* she’s a fun person to be with.
Photo courtesy: Puma
Kareena Kapoor Khan: “It is a first-of-its-kind yoga line by PUMA, that focuses on freedom of movement and lightweight breathability to give you the flexibility to move effortlessly through all your yoga asanas. The collection offers versatility and comfort, and brings together the best of both worlds—comfort and style.”
Cosmo: You are also the brand ambassador of PUMA. What has that been like?
KKK: “I really connect with what PUMA stands for. They have always pushed boundaries and encouraged women to be their unapologetic selves. My association with the brand has given me an opportunity to connect with and encourage more women to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle. Fitness is an integral part of my life and I enjoy it in its various forms. It feels great to be the face of a brand you deeply resonate with.”
Cosmo: In the lockdown, and with the pregnancy, how are you making sure you stay active and fit?
KKK: “I have been doing a lot of yoga to ensure I remain calm. It has helped me battle mood swings, strengthen my immunity, and relax my mind and body. The lockdown has been hard on all of us, and I must admit that amidst it all, yoga has been my saviour.”
Photo courtesy: Puma
Cosmo: You're known to be a fitness trendsetter: from making size zero a rage to bringing curves back in. Tell us about your personal fitness journey, and what fitness has come to mean to you over the years.
KKK: “I believe that a healthy body keeps you emotionally happy, healthy, and fit. There are was a time when I had to be size zero for a role, but that was then. I am a different person now. I have accepted my body the way it is. I follow a fitness regimen today because I want to be strong and healthy. I do go to the gym, but I love doing yoga and pilates. I believe that they are the best forms of exercise.”
Cosmo: And how has your relationship with your body changed with time?
KKK: “I’ve realised it’s extremely important to love your body. You don’t need to be accepted by others—the acceptance has to come from within. And you need to be grateful to your body for what it’s doing. After all, no one is perfect!”
Photo courtesy: Puma
Cosmo: Has your sense of style also evolved with the changing relationship with your body?
KKK: “Style is all about comfort, and I would like to believe that my fashion sensibility is an extension of my personality. Back in the day, I did not have much to say about my clothes. But now, I have become more involved, and have regular discussions with my designers and stylists about my outfits and looks. Even off the camera, I wear whatever I am comfortable in. I truly believe you are your most fashionable when you’re comfortable, and that’s why you mostly see me wearing jeans and T-shirts. Also, it is important to remember that no matter what you wear, wear it confidently. Confidence is the most beautiful accessory.”
Cosmo: For all the women struggling with society-bred body and beauty stereotypes, what would your word of advice be?
KKK: “I’d like to tell all women out there to not try to conform to the unrealistic beauty standards set by society. We are all beautiful in our own way. It’s our imperfections that make us perfect.”
Cosmo: Is there any gender-based discrimination, or callous stereotypes and prejudices, that you've had to face in your journey?
KKK: “Thankfully, I have not experienced sexism. Having said that, I know many friends who have, and who, unfortunately, continue to be victims of patriarchy and misogyny, on a regular basis. I consider myself lucky that I am surrounded by men who are feminists.”
Cosmo: You have broken many a norm: getting married at the peak of your career, continuing to work through your pregnancies, managing a successful career while being a hands-on mother...
KKK: “I have always believed in listening to my heart and doing what I think is right. That’s what I do every single time I need to take a big decision. Also, there are a lot of strong women in my life who have broken innumerable stereotypes themselves, and that, to a great extent, has made me the person I am today.”
Cosmo: Do you remember the earliest instance of when you first went against the tide?
KKK: “I think I did that with my first film, Refugee. Before that, I was offered a very mainstream film, with colourful song-and-dance sequences, but I chose to walk the path less travelled, and decided to mark my debut with an author-backed role, instead. Also, unlike my contemporaries, I wore no make-up. I was happy that I took the risk. A lot of people told me that I was making a mistake but I trusted my instincts.”
Cosmo: And where do you derive this strength from?
KKK: “I have always been surrounded by fierce and strong individuals, be it my mother [Babita Kapoor], sister Karisma [Kapoor], husband Saif [Ali Khan], or my friends. That’s where I get my strength and courage from. They are my support system and back me in all my decisions.”
Cosmo: We know acting runs in your family. But have you ever thought of what you would have liked to be had you not been an actor?
KKK: “You know, at one point, I wanted to be a lawyer. But then I remember accompanying Lolo [Karisma] to the sets of her films as a child—I would be so mesmerised by the world of cinema! It was then that I decided that acting and being in front of the camera is what I wanted to do.”
Cosmo: How do you think those closest to you would describe you?
KKK: “I guess you should ask them that [laughs]. But I think my family and friends can count on me and I truly feel blessed for that. I would like to believe that I am a fun person to be with.”
Cosmo: As a woman and a mother, what are your hopes from the world?
KKK: “I’m strongly of the opinion that in order to flourish, we need a safe place to live in. I hope sooner than later, we all realise that, and work towards making the world a safe place for everyone, where there’s equality for all.”