Ananya Pandey’s vibrant, positive energy is almost palpable from the moment she strikes up a conversation. As she sits down with Cosmo India, the actor is preparing to walk the ramp for designer Ruchika Sachdeva’s label Bodice and bring the Phygital edition of the FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week to a close. At the age of 22, Ananya is already a consummate professional, and even as she giggles and confesses to a fear of tripping on the ramp, you can tell that she is in control and totally at ease. Read on as we chat with the Lakmé Absolute Grand Finale showstopper about her personal style, social media, her hopes and dreams for the future and more.
Cosmo India: Are you looking forward to today’s grand finale as you walk for Bodice? Tell us what you like about this collection.
Ananya: “ I feel like it’s every little girl’s dream to walk the ramp at a fashion week. I have been waiting for this ever since I became a Lakmé girl, so I’m definitely excited about that, and about her (Ruchika’s) collection. I really love her styles and designs, and her garment structures are so clean, classic and simple. She also has a lot of fun with colour, and that’s something that really stands out for me. The theme #MiniPlayMegaSlay this year is all about finding joy in little things, and I think that has been an important message throughout the lockdown, it’s been all about finding gratitude and happiness in the smaller moments.”
Cosmo India: You have a distinct sense of style. How do you define your personal style?
Ananya: “ For me, the most important thing is comfort, I’ll never wear something that I’m uncomfortable in because that shows. As long as I am happy in an outfit and having fun, that works best for me. My personal style is super chill, it’s very me!”
Cosmo India: Your key tips to look effortlessly stylish?
Ananya: “Just don’t take it too seriously! Rules are meant to be broken and you are supposed to have fun with fashion. I truly believe that less is more, that’s something I live by.”
Cosmo India: Tell us about the new collection by Lakmé.
Ananya: “It’s the Lakmé Absolute Matte Mini limited-edition collection and it’s all about bigger things coming in small packages. There are five themes and ten colours in this collection— a winter theme, a music festival theme and even a rainforest theme. The tiny packaging is really cute. For example, I love that the underwater theme has small scuba diving masks on it. The lipsticks are matte minis with a velvety finish, and while most matte lipsticks tend to dry out, these are super-nourishing and hydrating. I love the travel sizing as it’s convenient to carry around.”
Cosmo India: Tell us about So Positive, your initiative against cyberbullying?
Ananya: “So Positive is a DSR (Digital Social Responsibility) initiative that I started about a year and a half ago, with a focus on spreading awareness and positivity online. We are building a community where people have someone to talk to, where they know that they are not alone and they can find and learn different ways to deal with situations like online bullying and cyberbullying.”
Cosmo India: Was this inspired by a personal experience in any way?
Ananya: “There have definitely been triggers in my personal life, but it was mainly for other people. It’s something that I felt was required, once I spoke to a lot of my friends and to young people. I found this was a common problem in today’s world.”
Cosmo India: You are extremely close to your girlfriends, Suhana and Shanaya. According to you, what makes female friendships important?
Ananya: “Girls are awesome, they just get it! You can be yourself with them, talk about anything and have so much fun around them. Honestly, I just love my girlfriends. They make me who I am, they make me feel comfortable in my skin, they are my biggest cheerleaders. I am very grateful to have a support system like that. I think female friendships are underrated and they are the best thing that can happen to you. I don’t know why people keep pitting women against each other.”
Cosmo India: When did you decide to become an actor? Was there a defining moment in your childhood?
Ananya: “Honestly, I always joke that I popped out of my mom wanting to act. I remember that for a lot of my childhood, I used to try to copy Kareena and Kajol, try to recreate their dialogues, dress-up like them and practice all their dances. My childhood has been quite Bollywood-obsessed.”
Cosmo India: You are really popular on social media, especially Instagram. What’s your secret to acing social media?
Ananya: “ It’s similar to my take on fashion and style, I believe in being yourself, taking risks and doing what makes you happy. I think people take their likes, followers and comments too seriously when actually, there is a real-world out there that’s more important than anything happening online. Social media is meant to be fun, it’s meant to show your real side, and that’s what I do.”
Cosmo India: “Who is the last person you stalked on Instagram?
Ananya: “ I stalk myself a lot (laughs). Let me check….I rewatched Jab We Met for the thousandth time last night, so I staked Kareena. I think I stalk her almost every day!”
Cosmo India: What are your dreams and hopes for the future?
Ananya: “To be happy, it’s as simple as that honestly.”