Parineeti Chopra hates it when people use the word ‘unapologetic’ for her...well, only when it is being used to describe her “weight”.
“It is the exact opposite of what I want to say,” she clarifies. “I have never said that I am okay with being overweight or unfit. I am not okay with it, that’s why I have worked so hard on it [fitness],” Parineeti adds. In a no-holds-barred chat with Cosmo, Parineeti answers a wide-spectrum of beauty-related questions, including what the idea of beauty means to her, her relationship with her body, and the secret to her confidence.
Cosmo: Have you ever challenged the set ideals of beauty? Growing up, what was your idea of physical perfection?
Parineeti Chopra: “I never really thought about it, to be honest. I was focused on being the best at whatever I was doing, academically, so I didn’t give physical perfection much thought. Also, films weren’t a part of my life till I came to Mumbai 10 years ago, and became an actor. So my introduction to ‘physical perfection’, or even a conversation about it happened for the very first time when I entered the industry. That’s how unimportant it was to me.
Bollywood was like a whole new world. When I came here, I met people who were obsessed with physical appearances, who really cared about what size they were and the clothes they wore. For the first few years, I brushed it all aside and didn’t pay much heed to the ‘size’ or ‘style’ conversation, because I wanted to focus on acting. But I received a lot of flak for it, because when you’re not looking your best, it’s seen as a sign of weakness in this industry...”
C: And what does beauty mean to you today?
PC: “I genuinely feel that when you are happy from within—and fit—you feel beautiful. For me, when I am not feeling my best, or fittest, I don’t look my best either. I know the phrase ‘inner beauty is real beauty’ is over-abused, but I truly believe how you feel inside shows on the outside. And my constant endeavour in life is to take care of my health and feel as happy as I can.”
C: Do you think social media contributes to creating unrealistic standards of beauty, for women?
PC: “Oh God...you’re talking to a person who is not vain at all! I didn’t grow up with social media, it has come into our lives only recently. So I haven’t had to battle feelings of digital insecurity. Having said that, I am not unaware of these issues. I know that there is this whole other world, especially GenZ, that would probably never take a photograph without a filter. And it affects their mood when their posts don’t do well.
I think that my generation was lucky enough to be in a ‘sweet spot’—we are neither terrified of technology, nor are we overtly dependent on it. We are in a more secure situation. And it is our responsibility to ensure that the GenZ feels secure, too. We should tell them that it is not important to be ‘perfect’, and if they see their role models posting a photograph without any filter, it will encourage them to do the same. It is important to normalise this, because if we don’t, imagine how insecure they will be 15 years from now...they will never be happy!”
C: What do you love most about your body?
PC: “Honestly, that it wakes up every morning and helps me get sh*t done. The fact that it supports me when I have an 18-hour day, or that it can produce a child...it is the most-miraculous machine in the world.”
C: Do you believe perfection is overrated?
PC: “Perfection doesn’t exist! I feel the word ‘perfection’ shouldn’t exist, because can you honestly name one thing that is perfect? Or one human being that’s perfect? You could have the shiniest glass in the world and it could shatter in a second. Nothing in this world is a 10/10.”
C: What would you like to tell people who aren’t able to accept themselves the way they are?
PC: “Honestly, they need to be enlightened. Look around you...look at the world...look at the ocean, and you’ll be like ‘F*ck, there’s so much to see in this world. I am lucky to be alive’. Does it really matter if you see a few extra kilos on the weighing scale?”
Photographs: Taras Taraporevala;
Styling: Zunaili Malik;
Location Courtesy: The Dome at The Intercontinental Hotel, Mumbai;
Production: P. Productions;
Hair and Make-Up: Elton Fernandez;
Fashion Assistant: Humaira Lakdawala and Manveen Guliani;
Fashion Interns: Aarushi Garg and Ananya Banerjee;
Photographer, and Hair and Make-Up Artists’ Agency: Inega Model Management.