Divyanka Tripathi Dahiya has become a name to reckon with in the world of television. Her turn as Dr Ishita in the show Yeh Hai Mohabbatein is still fresh in the minds of the audience. Her charming, bubbly personality is what draws fans towards her. Not one to take things lying down, she doesn’t mince words while speaking her mind. The actor, while appearing as a guest of honour at the 9th edition of Phoenix Marketcity, Mumbai’s Power Women Fiesta, encouraged women to be their uninhibited, and authentic selves. Cinema Journal caught up with Divyanka for a brief chat to talk about what women empowerment means to her. Excerpts from the interview:
What are the hurdles a working woman has to face that everyone tends to ignore?
Generally, it is assumed that apart from her professional work, she also has to equally focus on the household, cook food, take care of the children, etc. If she can’t cook good food or carry out her household chores, she is judged, and I think that perspective should change. We should divide the work and share the load, so there is genuine equality.
How do you deal with haters and critics?
I think you have to stop thinking of what the world thinks or how people will react to your work, because you can’t please everyone. To give an example, mango is India’s most favourite and loved fruit. However, I don’t like mangoes and there’s nothing that will make me have one. So, I think you can never please everyone and you should do what you can.
What keeps you going?
It is important to separate your personal life from your professional life. If you bring your work stress home, it affects the environment at home, and if you carry your personal life to your workplace, it will affect your performance and productivity. To switch on and switch off at the right time and the right place is extremely important, and it is the key to maintain a well-balanced life. Women are inherently multi-taskers. There have been times when I have ordered groceries, given instructions to the cook about what has to be prepared for dinner, in between shots. Everything can be managed and one must not stress about it.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve felt powerless?
I was thinking about three words to describe myself — powerful, fearless and limitless are those three words. Situations arise and people may try to limit your potentials, but your reaction to them determines how powerless or powerful you are. One of the things my husband [actor Vivek Dahiya] said when I was thinking of what message to write was that ‘You are fearless’. So, I chose these words and these are the same qualities I wish for every woman.
A message you would like to give to women trying to cope with set beauty standards?
In order to conform to the conventional beauty standards, women are more worried about what the weighing scale indicates and how they look, forgetting the length of their hair, the shine and colour of their skin. I always feel that weight is not as important as being happy in your own skin. Women must know their worth and harness their qualities to move ahead in life. Many people may not fit into the definition of conventional beauty but they are respected by others because of their personality and their sense of self-worth. Therefore, my message to all the women out there is to follow your passion and invest in yourself and things that matter.