My dreams keep me alive: Elena Fernandes

Supermodel-actress Elena Fernandes has it all: Beauty, talent and passion, but she knows that cinema needs a lot of hard work

After a successful Bollywood début with a cameo in Kapoor & Sons, supermodel-actress Elena Fernandes seems to be gearing up for a full time stint in Bollywood. She is already hitting it big with her international début, a biopic on the renowned designer Alexander McQueen which will be released soon. Not shy of voicing herself, she came out openly in support of co-actor Fawad Khan, when the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association banned Pakistani artistes.

Being in B-Town

Elena wasn’t aiming for a career in the glam industry when she started out. With a degree in law from the King’s College University in London, academics were more her thing, however fate had something different in store for her. “It’s been an off the scale journey and never in my wildest dreams did I think it would come true” she says. With a background in Modelling, Elena found Bollywood to be a wholly different world but not without an elite ring to it. “Being part of Bollywood honestly feels like you’ve made the exclusive cheerleaders club,” says Elena. The transition, for her, came with its own challenges and adventures. Sharing the screen space with bigwigs such as Alia Bhatt and Fawad Khan made her nervous at first. “The whole experience was nerve-wracking as it’s such a huge deal,” admits the Goan-South American beauty. However Elena found confidence quickly as Alia, Varun and especially Fawad were very warm and friendly with her. She goes on to say, “Fawad is honestly one of the nicest actors I have ever met. He offered so much guidance and advice. One of the most genuine pure hearted actors.”

Acting and international debut

As an actor Elena follows the director’s lead and appreciates cinema to be ultimately the director’s vision but adds, “I like to contribute my ideas also.” A timely breakthrough is arguably the best thing that can happen to an actor. For Elena it’s the biopic of Alexander McQueen, which will soon be hitting the big screen. “I’m super excited to be back on home territory. It will definitely be a different experience and style of acting so I’m looking forward to grow as an actor,” she says.

She is a believer in character acting and feels that for a successful delivery the actor should be one with the character. “I think in order to give an accurate delivery you have to become the character to truly get into the role, to become the role,” she says.

Coming across as an actor who has grasped the nuances of good acting, she adds, “When you get into the skin of the character it also helps you to remember your lines because when you are the character you know what sort of attitude and vibe and speech they would deliver.” The preparation however, is different for a biopic and Elena seems to be managing it just fine. “I’ve followed the designers career, I’ve met the people that he was within the industry from his muse to the casting director so it feels a lot more personal than say a fiction movie,” she says.

Body, beauty and glamour

As an established model, Elena has a more than impressive profile. The Kingfisher Calendar Girl has challenged stereotypes, and has moved boldly ahead in her career. Glamour for her is a subjective phenomenon, something which is unique to everyone. “Glamour means however you feel sexy. When you have that extra sparkle in your eye, whether that means you have had your hair blown out or a great manicure. Each to their own,” she elaborates.

She finds it hard to mask her disdain for body-shamers and says, “I cannot stand internet trolls that hide behind a computer and body shame. I feel that body shaming in all manner is wrong.” She has faced body shaming herself for her slim physique. “People find it acceptable to body shame when someone is slim, but it still hurts. They think it’s a free pass,” she adds.

For her beauty is not a subject matter of the body alone, and it is the right of every individual to feel happy and beautiful the way they are. “No one has the right to bring you down whatever your size is.”

 Passion and progression

Elena feels that Bollywood is gender neutral in terms of the struggle one faces while trying to establish a career in B-Town. “Nothing is easy and you have to work hard,” she adds straightforwardly. Motivation eludes her at times but her goals keep her going. “My dreams keep me alive,” says Elena.

An avid writer, Elena feels that making a short movie of her own would be a great opportunity and says “I would love to do my own short film in the future also.” With a promising career ahead of her, Elena feels confident of her talent, “I’m looking forward to broadening my acting ability in Hollywood and Bollywood taking on roles that are both challenging and entertaining” she says.

The model-actor, is also an animal lover, and is actively involved in animal adoption and vaccination. Regard for animals is something that she would expect to see in any man who may fascinate her.

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