I grew up very fond of the beauty, the strength and the determination of Aishwarya Rai. From a beauty pageant to one of the must successful actresses and examples to follow, Aishwarya has always been able to make me dream. When I got the confirmation for this interview, I almost didn’t believe it. I have to say that while I was interviewing her, time flew. Her positive energy, her genuine replies, the way she empowers you is just unforgettable. That’s what real women should all be about. She turned the myth that was in mind into a reality. Yes, it was incredible to look into her gorgeous eyes while running the interview. A moment I will definitely never forget!
Photography: Hana from Journey Into La Ville Lumiere
LS: You are celebrated all over the world for your natural beauty but we love how you have proved that it takes much more than this. How much of a challenge was it?
AR: I didn’t look upon it as a challenge to begin with because that’s been the kind of person I’ve always been. Probably, it started very early on the platform of what you associate with beauty. I mean we’re talking about the fact that 19-20 years you go and become part of a beauty pageant and you become Miss World. Also, I was modeling and studying at the same time so it’s a mix of so many different experiences where my journey began. But the good part is that I remained connected to my real life. So, because of that, it was natural to me to bring together a lot of energy into show-business and keep it real throughout. I never cut off from my real natural life and I’ve been able to sinergize these different parts of it. On another note, Miss World has a motto: “beauty with a purpose” and the good part is that the moment I discovered that that’s there. For me it became all about turning it into a reality, you’re not just wearing a tiara, for me it has always been about creating content. Content is very important to me, in everything. If you’re making a film, Aishwarya is going to be talked about so I need for Aishwarya (who’s real) something that has a sense of realism. I want to share a part of me, a part of who I am. People are watching, they’re seeing, they’re listening; so let me share a part of who I am.
LS: I know how important and meaningful Indian Cinema is to you. And how hard of easy for you was it to win Hollywood recognition?
AR: You’re asking me this question at the perfect platform! It all started here in Cannes. Coincidently around April, a friend of mine who was in Los Angeles knew professionals in the medium. And, I had started receiving calls regarding possibilities regarding working outside India. I didn’t quite believe it and I thought she was just being a friend and just being polite. So I was like, “Ok I’ll think about it” but I wasn’t sure. Then, a month later, I came to Cannes. The International media responded so positively and I’m so thankful for their support. As well as the critics who made a strong mention of me as an actress from India and my work. That just meant so much to me that I started responding to the interest shown. So honestly, I don’t think I exploited the opportunity enough, I did not really run to LA and go to New York and settled there. Whatever work came to me, I selected as what was right and what suited my schedule because if I was already committed to Indian movies, I didn’t kick them aside for a Hollywood opportunity. Because for me, it has always been about being part of Cinema irrespective of whether it was Indian or Hollywood or tomorrow if it was to be Lebanese. In any part of the world, I’d be happy to be part of cinema. It’s not about stardom in just one part of the world. So, even in India, I didn’t stick to only Hindi, that’s why I’ve done several languages and I’ll be doing more. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, sense of achievement comes with just one agenda. I’m saying, it’s about cinema, you could speak about so many subjects, cultures, languages, enjoy the power of this medium.
LS: Your red carpet appearances are an endless focus of media interest. What goes into preparing your wardrobe for a major event such as Cannes?
AR: We have amazing teams to help us! Not only the stylists, but also the generosity of so many designers. It’s wonderful!
LS: We love seeing you in Elie Saab!
AR: I know, right! Super shoutout back home. He’s always doing such beautiful heaven clothes so you’ll always find something gorgeous that will work. By what I’m seeing now, I think several people here will be wearing an Elie Saab gown to the red carpet this season! I’ve been wearing Elie Saab for so many years and I love his work!
LS: Do you stick to a specific style or do you go for the dress that “speaks” to you?
AR: Hm, yes, it’s always about the dress that has spoken to me. Or it can be so many factors. For example, yesterday, I did an Elie Saab and for me it was all about the color green. I’m not done a green here on the red carpet so it was a very deep jewel tone. Also, the style was extremely nice, while it had a little bit of transparency, at the same time, it was such a comfortable and feminine gown. An exciting mix which was a new thing for me to do. I call it fun with art!
LS: Can you tell us a little secret about your beauty routine?
AR: I’d say first, it’s all in your mind. Be connected and in synched with yourself, be your own best-friend, be who you are. We’re all overworked, sleep-deprived, we go from a flight to another so it’s all about the state of mind. Hygiene in and out, hydration and comfort. Be comfortable in your skin, in your dress.
LS: More specifically, eyebrows are very important for Lebanese women. What is the best advice you could give regarding brows?
AR: Eyebrows define your face and it’s wonderful how it’s trending all over the world (and not just in our ethnical cultures) and people are finally focusing on this because my dearest friend and makeup artist has always focused on my eyebrows and defining my face. You know, in Cinema, face experiences are keys and the shape of the eyebrows can say a lot about the character you are playing.
LS: What are your favorite L’Oreal Paris makeup product? How do you use it?
AR: Love all their eyeliners and mascaras!
LS: What’s the number one advice you would give to all women out there?
AR: Be yourselves, be strong, believe in yourselves, lean your own individual potentials and just be comfortable in your skins.