Bollywood actress Sunny Leone — who currently hosts MTV Splitsvilla and has her own line of cosmetics and lingerie — has recently opened a kids play area in Mumbai. In an interview with Anupama Chopra on Film Companion, the actress spoke about her new project as well as her life as a mother and how she manages to work along with spending quality time with her husband Daniel Weber and three young children, Nisha, Noah and Asher. The actress was full of praise for her husband, revealing that he is as “dedicated and obsessed” about the children as her. While responding to a question about how she balances her various film and business projects with her family life, she said,
“My husband and I do a really good job in managing and figuring out our schedules. So if I am not there, Daniel is there with the children. As long as one of us is there, we feel okay. We are not so stressed out. But I spend a lot of time with the children. I have been very lucky that my schedule has been so forgiving over the last two years, so I have been able to do things or if it’s a long schedule, my children are with me.”
Sunny’s latest business venture is a kids play area in Mumbai, which she has set up in partnership with her husband Daniel and business partner Sanjana. The actress revealed how she decided to launch this project after she and her husband adopted their daughter Nisha two years ago.
“She [Nisha] has this passion for art and painting and drawing. She could sit and do art all day long…. She would see Sanjana, our partner, over the weekends; had art classes with her and she loved going to such a great teacher,” the actress said.
The play area also consists of a library with age-appropriate books. as there are no libraries nearby. It has a cafe for parents to relax in while their kids are safe and busy reading, creating artworks or attending a storytelling session. Sunny said her goal behind creating this space was to give parents “two to three hours of their day back to them” and more opportunities to engage in interactive activities with their children.
Sunny also shared how she loves nothing more than going to her play area to have a cup of coffee and to do activities with her children. “Because I’ve travelled so much, it doesn’t feel so bad to find I am rooted here and I have to go work a little bit on set, but then I am home,” she added.
Arjun Patiala and Choice of Films
Sunny Leone in Arjun Patiala
Sunny’s most recent appearance on screen was in Bollywood film Arjun Patiala, released last week. In the movie, Sunny plays herself. When asked how she feels about being recognised in such a way, Sunny said she sees herself as someone who “goes to work and comes back home and takes care of their kids” and that she agreed to play the part because she wanted to work with the cast and production house behind Arjun Patiala.
Furthermore, Sunny said that she does not measure her success based on what other people think of her choice of roles. She said, “If I am working every day then I am successful…. It’s what works for me at the time and I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve worked on. Even if I didn’t enjoy it at that particular moment or how something turned out, I learnt from it. That’s all you can do. I think in life you have to grow and evolve.”
The actress also revealed that she feels better as a working mother and unlike some other actresses, who choose projects based on the amount of time they would be spending away from kids, she selects roles based on how they would impact her career and “the logistics are handled later on.”
#MeToo Movement and Empowering Women
During the interview, Sunny was also asked about her views on the role of a sex symbol in a post #MeToo world and the kind of messages that should be shared by films. The actress said her focus was on what she thinks is right and if a woman is timid or insecure or has been through a tough experience, “we as women should talk to that individual extensively and give her the confidence to be stronger in life.”
The actress revealed how she just shot a piece on sexual harassment for a company and ended up changing it entirely, “I said this does not seem practical to me. This is not how things would be in my world. This is not the message that I want to put out there.” She emphasised how she makes sure the messaging and information is correct in such situations and added, “When it comes to standing up for yourself and doing your own thing, being the best you that you can be, then you should speak up. If you don’t like something then you should say something.”
With more than 20 million followers on Instagram, the actress uses the medium to promote her businesses, spread positive messages, and to share some relatable, fun posts. In a recent photo on her Instagram account, Sunny can be seen trying out a t-shirt that does not fit well. She captioned it as, “I’m just like some of you out there. I’m delusional that it might just fit!!! NOPE...not happening!!” Speaking about this post's message, Sunny said that she wanted to convey her thoughts to women on self-acceptance. “You should find what fits you and what looks best for your body type,” she said.