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"The More I Work, the More Motivated I Feel": Jacqueline Fernandez

The actor tells Cosmo about her upcoming Netflix special, juggling different roles and much more.

Cosmopolitan: You recently announced your Netflix debut—Mrs Serial Killer—and it’s all over the Internet. Tell us more about it...

Jacqueline Fernandez: “The first time Shirish (Kunder) narrated the script, I loved the concept. He’s written a really fascinating script about a girl who has to overcome a very dire situation, and has to turn into a serial killer. And it’s something that I really wanted to do. Playing the lead is a great opportunity for me, and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone as well. Earlier, when scripts like these would come my way, I didn’t take them on because I didn’t feel like I was ready...”


C: what drew you towards this project?

JF: “I’m a huge Netflix fan...I pretty much live on that stuff. And when the opportunity presented itself—a fabulous script coupled with a great platform—all the pieces came together perfectly.”


C: Are we right to assume there will be no song-and-dance sequence in this one...

JF: “I think Netflix follows a similar format across the world, which is great because it means that whatever we make here will have an international audience. And yeah, I mean it’s very different for me. I’ve never ever done a film without songs! Like, that’s always been one of the things I’ve geared up for—dance practice, choreography—it has always been a part of every single film I’ve ever done. And this is completely new territory for me—how do I express what I’m feeling without a song sequence coming into place and me jumping into a different costume [laughs]. It’s almost alien to me. But at the same time, I’ve also grown up watching world cinema. So I understand the nuances and the difference between these two genres.”


C: As an actor, what’s more exciting for you—working on a Bollywood movie or a Netflix original?

JF: “Honestly, they are both exciting. Commercial Bollywood films are, of course, really amazing to be a part of. But, for actors right now, it’s amazing that we’re able to experiment with different platforms. I’m someone who’s still very attached to mainstream Bollywood work, and at the same time, thanks to platforms like Netflix, we can take a break from it and try something that’s a little bit riskier, or edgier.”


C: Apart from Mrs Serial Killer, what else would we be seeing you in the near future?

JF: “Right now, I have deliberately chosen to concentrate on Mrs Serial Killer. And even though I’m used to doing three to four movies a year, I just wanted to put all my energies into this project, because it’s a huge honour for me. And the workshops for this film are taking up so much of my energy. I’m in every single scene, and that’s also kind of new for me [laughs]. The films that I had done earlier, I shared my screen space with other people, and my work would be like 40 percent of the film. But in this one, every single scene is so intense, and it needs to be rehearsed and well thought-out. So I’ve just put on blinders for this film.”


C: In the last few years,
you’ve turned into a multi-hyphenate. You’ve invested in RAW Pressery, opened restaurants in both India and Sri Lanka, launched an athleisure line, and collaborated with Huda Beauty for a range of eyelashes. Was turning into an entrepreneur always part of the plan?

JF: “Well, it wasn’t so much about entrepreneurship as it was about being creative. RAW Pressery was something I wanted to do myself, but Anuj (Rakyan, the Founder) beat me to it. And then he was like, ‘Listen, if you’re so into this, we can collaborate and partner’. So that’s how I ventured into that. As for the restaurants, I really wanted to share with people what Sri Lankan food is all about, and how creative we could get with it, and opening a specialised restaurant was the only way to go about it. Same goes for my athleisure line and the eyelash range—so it was very organic for me.

It’s also a lot of fun. You get into these things because you obviously believe in them. Secondly, as a celebrity, the kind of access we have to so many experts and inside’s something I would love to share with everyone. There are so many people out there who ask me, ‘Hey, tell us something about your diet’ or ‘What products do you use?’, and all of this is an important part of our lives. Even simple things, like when you’re travelling, what are the best places to get healthy food; are the best places to work out at; the right doctors/nutritionists to visit... We’re lucky that we are able to access the best in each field, and I’m more than happy to share that information.”


C: How deeply are you involved in these projects? And do you actively take business decisions?

JF: “Extremely! We have extensive meetings, and I make sure that we brainstorm on creative ideas...that’s something I contribute to most. Once in a while, I also check on numbers, because it’s equally important. For me, it’s a creative outlet, so I like being involved at every step.”


C: And how do you juggle all these roles?

JF: “You know how you gain more energy by exerting yourself? That’s how I’m able to do so much—the more I work, the more motivated I feel. It’s crazy! I’ve heard people say, ‘Oh, I am doing so much’, but if you ask me, it’s important to exert your energy in the right direction.

Of course, there are few things that help me maximise my day, like waking up early. I wake up at 5:30 every morning, and get most of my work done in the early hours. I know most people hate waking up early, but mornings are extremely crucial because they set the tone for your entire day. And once you get into that routine, you’ll be able to achieve a
lot more.”


C: You recently posted a video to Instagram showing off some enviable fighting skills. Will we be seeing you do more of that in
Mrs Serial Killer?

JF: Umm, no. I’m a huge action, combat buff. I’ve been training in combat and gymnastics for some time now. I had an opportunity to work with Daniel Locicero in LA—he’s a stunt master. I had some meetings for Netflix in the US, so I contacted him and trained with him. The video that I posted was actually filmed on my second day of training. I think we’re ready for female action, combat films. Women, world-over are promoting a powerful image now, as opposed to being skinny and fragile—which was a trend a while ago. But now, they epitomise strength and I feel like it will also change their image and narrative in films in the coming years. I’m hoping we will see a lot more female-oriented films that showcase women in that light.”