On the modeling circuit, they say there is an era before and after Deepika Padukone. One of the very few Indian models who have successfully charmed all four mediums – print, television, the silver screen and the catwalk – Bollywood’s top ranking actress wears her celeb status with ease.
And what a status that is… not only does Deepika seem to be part of almost every single Bollywood movie that has topped the box office in the last two years, she’s all set to make waves in Hollywood as well, with Vin Diesel’s xXx: Return of Xander Cage. And even before this movie is released, the 30-year-old finds herself part of the top 10 in Forbes list of the world’s richest actresses.
However, she remains “strictly low-maintenance”, charting her own path through the style aisles, rather than chasing changing trends. Here she spills her uber-cool beauty secrets.
Don’t fidget with your skin – that means don’t overdo facials and other skincare rituals; exercise regularly; and stick to minimal makeup.
What’s your favourite feature?
I love my eyes. A lot of people say that I express a lot with just my eyes, without using any other part of my face or body. This is great in front of the camera but becomes dicey in real life!
How do you make the most of them?
I highlight them with mascara and put a little liner on the edges. The latter is necessary since I have big eyes. Else you can make them look really wonderful with just loads of mascara on the top and lower lashes.
And your least favourite feature?
My feet are huge and ugly! I am perpetually trying to camouflage them with flats and covered shoes. And I can barely find shoes my size.
A skincare basic?
Cleansing, toning and moisturizing every morning and religiously taking off all makeup at night. Skin needs to breathe and regenerate while you sleep and this can only happen when it’s absolutely clean.
What’s your hair care ritual?
A leave-in conditioner is essential because of the weather and pollution; plus I need a heat-resistant spray to minimize styling damage during shoots and fashion shows. Once in a while, I indulge in a good head massage.
Which are your favourite makeup hues?
I love pastels and very light pinks. During the day, it’s usually a very light liner with a pinkish blush and nude gloss. Night makeup tends to be a slightly more exaggerated version of the same but still remains very natural.
What kind of fragrance do you like?
I am not a fan of overly flowery or fruity fragrances. I prefer something with a unique edge, like Issey Miyake or Davidoff Cool Water.
What’s the best thing about makeup?
It’s great for making flaws vanish! Else how would we get through under eye circles, bad complexion days and pesky zits?
Excerpted from an interview I did for Marie Claire India
I collect hair tips like it’s my job (which it is – and YAY for that!). Unfortunately, though there are precious few pro pointers that actually work in real life, for those of us who don’t have any army of hair stylists shadowing us every minute of the day. Because hair can be complicated. Those Alberta Ferreti twists may look ultra-effortless but I defy you to pull them off with only two arms that happen to be on the side of your body, rather than attached at the back!
Which is why I’ve culled through the season’s fashion week diaries and am giving you only those hair hacks that are feasible for normal mortals. And these are seriously pretty easy… in fact, you’ll pretty soon be wondering how you lived without them at all. I am!
How to ‘dry shampoo’: Dry shampoo can seem like a Godsend, right up until you are left with rough, chalky strands. To avoid that battle, spray the dry shampoo onto a paddle brush and then spritz some hair spray on top. Now run the brush through your hair and say hello to clean, shiny and chalk-free strands.
Too much dry shampoo (or texturising powder): I was constantly battling with this problem till I learnt the backstage hair quick fix. Simply blast the overdone areas with hairspray… it will dissolve the excess powder.
Hair spray, done right: As for hairspray overload (think stiff and unnatural hair… bah!), spray the hair spray on your hair brush after blow drying it. Then run the brush through your strands. This way, you’ll get the staying power of hairspray, sans the stiffness.
Mousse it up: Every single hairstylist I’ve ever spoken to has one suggestion – run some mousse through your hair, regardless of the style you’re going after. Mousse makes your hair look thicker, tames flyaways and keeps everything smooth and sexy.
Get the gloss: The trick is in only rinsing out your conditioner 70% of the way – an easy way to get glossy locks, though those with fine hair may find it makes their strands too limp.
Easy, instant waves: Braid thin sections of hair and then run a flat iron over them. Then let the hair cool, unbraid and brush through gently. Voila, tight waves!
Volume, volume, volume: For the most OTT volume, spritz hair with some salt before anything else. The salt adds texture and makes hair more dense, making it easier to backcomb.
Braid it tight: If your braid always seems to start falling apart halfway through the day (or night), rub some hair cream in your hands before you start the twisting and knotting. The cream will work its way through the locks as you braid, helping keep everything smooth and in place.
Sleek ponies: To keep it sleek, slick hair back with pomade before tying the elastic.
Flyaways: Yes, theoretically you can use a toothbrush spritzed with a hair spray to tame flyaways. But unless you have just about 4 inches of hair on your head, this is going to take forever. Hair pros have learnt to swap the dental staple for a flat-topped kabuki makeup brush that’s light and dense enough to deliver the spray sans overloading, while being big enough to get the job done quickly.
No slip fix: The rubber band keeps slipping? Spritz on a texturising product – like dry shampoo or hair spray before you tie it on, then add a shot of hair spray on top for added hold.
Colour fix: Need a fix that will hide those roots without a trip to the salon? Pick an eyeshadow that matches the colour of your hair and brush it on!
What’s your secret hair hack? We could all use the help!
Want to look fabulously high-end even when basic necessities (a tank of gas) often trump little luxuries (expensive eye cream)? It’s entirely possible with a little help from Andrea Pomerantz Lustig’s book – How to Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor’s Secrets to Getting Gorgeous Without Breaking the Bank, in which the beauty industry’s top insider (she’s a Contributing Editor at Glamour, was Editor-in-Chief of Sephora.com and Beauty & Fitness Director at Cosmopolitan) reveals secrets gleaned from the world’s most famed hair stylists, makeup artists and skin specialists for looking your best for less. Here are my top 10 how-to’s from the book.
1. Los Angeles celebrity facialist Stacy Cox’s DIY kitchen peel recipe mimics dermatologist-office results: Mix 3 tablespoons apple juice (contains malic acid, which is a gentle exfoliator) with 3 tablespoons milk (lactic acid, a more intense exfoliator) and 1 egg white (to firm the skin). Apply for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
2. Mammoth pores? Dr. Bobby Buka, the New York “skin star”, suggests soaking gauze in soy milk and applying it as a mask an hour before bed.
3. Dr. Buka also has a solution for puffy, baggy eyes: Make ice cubes out of green tea and massage one under each eye till it melts. No ice? This solution from Ole Henriksen will work just as well: Grate a cucumber, divide the flesh and juice evenly, then roll it up into two seperate strips of gauze to make a mask for each eye. This optimises the cucumber juice, allowing it to seep through for the greatest depuffing action.
4. Lustig’s own favourite trick is to use coconut milk as a body moisturiser. Open a can and let it solidify in the fridge. It will turn into a solid butter you can use on your skin to make it silky soft: “…you’ll be able to get just as much moisturiser out of that one can as a tube of expensive body cream… but it’s natural and smells beyond!”
5. Swap dry shampoo for corn starch baby powder, says hair supremo Creighton Bowman. Makes sense, since this ingredient makes up the base of many dry shampoos anyway. AND it comes in an easy-to-use sprinkle container. To apply, pour a little in your hands, clap palms and rub them together, then run through strands. Voila!
6. For eyes that look dramatic without the faux-lash effect (which is just tacky), makeup pro Vanessa Scali often applies a volumising mascara from the root to the centre of the lash and a lengthening formula from the centre to the tips. The result is “gorgeously lush and seductively lengthy” lashes.
7. Sometimes, especially when you are wearing a strong lipstick, it’s best to leave eyes bare with nothing but a touch of mascara. Makeup artist Talia Shobrook likes to dip an eyeliner brush into a thin mascara and use it at the very base of the lids – like liner – to invisibly emphasise the eyes (not glossy or matte like eyeliner, it just looks like you are wearing mascara).
8. Looking for an air brushed effect? Makeup pro Bobby Wells suggests spritzing your foundation brush with Evian Facial spray or a moisturising mist before using it. This will thin out your makeup, make it blend in easier and look more diffused.
9. And that’s not all: celebrity makeup artist Paul Podlucky spritzes finished makeup with a hydrating mineral or vitamin-infused water spray (or even just tap water in a spray bottle!) like MAC Fix+, holding it about 10 inches from the face and then letting skin air-dry to give it a fresh, dewy radiance. It will also take away any chalkiness, smooth out foundation that’s crept into fine lines and thin down a too-heavy application.
10. Finally, who can resist perfume? Beauty heiress (and now creator of her own makeup range) Aerin Lauder, spills the secret she learnt from her grandmother, Estee Lauder: Spray the scent onto your hairbrush. It will cling to natural oils in your hair and make you smell delicious without becoming overpowering.
What are some of YOUR favourite tricks for looking expensive?
The first time I met Priyanka Chopra, she was tucked away in one corner of an extremely chaotic dressing room, devouring an entire pizza. All by herself. Refusing to share. It was a shoot for Cosmopolitan (India) and the young actress was just then stepping into the limelight, riding a combined wave of authentic acting talent and stunning good looks. She was rapidly climbing up the starry pyramid – though still wasn’t anywhere near the point where one could call the shots in a male-dominated industry.
Not that this little bit about maledom and hierarchies and all that other stuff stopped her. Ms Chopra was cool as a cucumber as she chowed down her pizza, waved away the makeup artist while she took time out to help her younger brother with his maths homework and debated the storyboard for the photo shoot till she was completely satisfied. This within an industry where most stars don’t study the storyboard of an entire movie… Priyanka, it was pretty clear even then, was different. Very, very different.
At that point, more than a decade back, I really didn’t like this girl who was so different. There is a safety to interviewing cookie cutter celebs and Priyanka would simply not let you enjoy that comfort zone. She was louder than anyone else I knew in the industry, more vociferous, more challenging, more intelligent, more energetic… just, simply, more of everything.
And she was just simply so contradictory: tough as nails on the surface, yet fragile as glass when she let down her guard (look out for the “daddy’s li’l girl” tattoo on her wrist – it will break your heart); wearing relationships on her sleeve yet refusing to hang out her linen, dirty or otherwise, for magazine inches; chowing down junk food by the carton and yet remaining svelte as a beanpole; scared of heights and yet skydiving from 17,000 feet for fun… you are getting the idea?
And while it was annoying for me as an interviewer to deal with someone who refused to be pigeonholed into mere words, it is this contrariness that has taken Priyanka literally across the world and into the stratosphere. Today, she sings with Pitbull and runs around trees in fantasy-glam Bollywood fashion yet she also shares many of life’s toughest nuances with five-time world boxing champion Mary Kom, who was born to struggle as the daughter of a landless Indian farmer. Her animated Planes was considered for the Best Feature Film category at the 2014 Oscars, while she was busy promoting the cause of Girl Up, a campaign by the United Nations Foundation. Her single In My City, featuring will.i.am, debuted as the theme song for the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football, even as Matthew Bishop, the United Nations Foundation New York Bureau Chief, referred to her as the smartest Miss World.
And now there is Quantico: the mega-budget television blockbuster which propels Priyanka into the uppermost echelons of American television (winning her the People’s Choice award!), as Alex Parrish. Faces like Nimrat Kaur and Archie Punjabi notwithstanding, this is the first time an Indian actress has grabbed the totem pole in a mainstream television series as a central anchor point and not in a character role or a token Asian presence. Quantico literally revolves around Priyanka’s character, putting her front and centre in the living rooms of possibly those very same “mean girls” who bullied her as a “brownie” when she attended high school in Boston.
Priyanka, as usual, defies stereotyping and pigeonholing. And this time round, I can’t help but cheer for her from the rooftops for this leap of faith.
So, meet Priyanka Chopra: Indian actress, American television star, model, singer, United Nations Foundation ambassador, former Miss World. The new villain of the much awaited Baywatch movie. The second most searched for name during this year’s Oscars and part of the Top 10 Best Dressed lists in literally every publication that tracks fashion on the red carpet.
Combine this with the fact that she’s the first Indian woman to become and international Guess girl – shot for the campaign by none other than Bryan Adams – and you know that this 33-year-old has definitely arrived. With trumpets blaring.
Time then, to have a proper chat with this multifaceted enigma and figure out what goes on behind those doe eyes and how in the world does she look so gorgeous, all the time!
When do you feel most feminine?
When I slip into my Snoopy pyjamas and do my nighttime beauty rituals – applying different kinds of lotions all over my body, brushing my hair and so on.
The secret behind that show-stopping figure?
Pizza! No, seriously. I love junk food and the pizza in Mumbai is so good. And French fries… sigh! That’s soul food. [I can vouch for this after having seen “Piggy Chops”, as she is known in Bollywood, scarf down a whole pizza pie on at least THREE different occasions!]
So that’s it, all the time? Really?
[Big sigh] I do mix up the junk eating with sprouts, raw veggies (especially fresh red carrots), steamed or stewed stuff and high fibre snacks. I am also obsessed with coconut water and can have any amount of it at any time in the day.
And that’s how you get such flawless skin?
That and the CTM method: Cleanse-tone-moisturize. Every single day. I also take multi-vitamins and drink a lot of water to keep my skin clear and healthy. Water is really important as it keeps skin moist and sweeps out toxins, which would otherwise clog your body and make everything look and feel sluggish.
Do you have a nightly beauty ritual?
I can’t go to bed without washing my face thoroughly. Skin won’t breathe or repair itself till all the pore-clogging grime and make-up comes off.
Any secrets to achieving your silky, shiny hair?
I really believe in indigenous kitchen recipes. Warm coconut oil massages are fabulous, as they keep my hair soft and supple while being relaxing as well. At various times, I also bring out the beer, eggs and yogurt for deep conditioning.
What’s the best part about being a woman?
That we get to dress up! On a more serious note, women are emotionally far stronger than men. We can deal with anything and everything without cracking up like most guys. And more than anything else, our capacity to become mothers: That’s truly the most beautiful thing god has bestowed on women.
What would you do if you were a guy for a day?
Nothing really. I don’t think there is anything that a guy can do that a woman cant. However, I would definitely like to live like Winston Churchill for a day. I want to know how it felt to live with such rigid ideals.
What should guys know about women?
That we love getting loads of attention, lots of sympathy and want to be with someone who understands our point of view. Guys are usually too focused on getting others to see things from their point of view, or in analyzing and solving our problems rather than just listening… and that just does not cut it for women!
What’s the biggest mistake that women make in a relationship?
Being too overbearing or possessive, and not giving any space to your guy.
Your kind of guy?
He will have to meet a long list of requirements. Sincerity, intelligence, good looks — so that our kids, all six of them, will be good looking. He has to be adventurous and spontaneous. A good sense of humour is a must and he should share my fetish for cleanliness. AND he should be understanding, give me my space. Asking for much… why, whatever gave you that idea?
What’s a perfect date?
To the moon and back!
Most romantic dream?
I want to have 6 weddings – all with the same guy! The first will be a typical Punjabi wedding in Ambala (India), with rituals that go on for 18-20 days and the whole extended family stays under one roof. The second will be in a small Mother Mary church in Locarno, Switzerland. The third will be underwater, while the fourth will be in Vegas with Elvis officiating. The fifth will be a nikaah, because I find the whole concept extremely romantic. And the sixth will be as my husband wants it.
Is it easy being a celeb?
I wish people would see an actress as someone who is also human. As a girl at heart who wants to do all the normal girly things, like standing in the rain and having an ice cream. It’s not always about the parties, the glitz and the glamour.
What’s the gutsiest thing you’ve ever done?
Skydiving from 17,000 feet at Locarno, Switzerland. I have always been terrified of heights and had promised myself that I would break the fear before I was 22-years-old.
Excerpted from an interview I did for Marie Claire