Ileana D’Cruz on learning to accept her ‘beautifully flawed’ body, taking on an 80-day fitness challenge to give herself a goal during the lockdown, and what made a recent visit to the US ‘liberating’
In an interaction, Ileana D’Cruz had shared that she’d been away from her parents for eight months because of the pandemic and would take the first flight out to the US to meet them once travelling is feasible again. Soon after, she followed through with the plan, and says it was “liberating”.
“In Mumbai, I had gotten so used to being at home for five months that when I reached there, I felt like I could breathe again. I went out and basked in the sun after what felt like ages,” she reminisces, adding that being with her parents after such a long time was emotionally overwhelming. “Normally, I’m a positive person, but with everything that had been happening, the moment I saw my family, I broke down. It was a huge relief spending time with them. I didn’t want to come back.”
The actress returned to the city in September, to give herself enough time to quarantine before resuming work on The Big Bull, with Abhishek Bachchan. Through October, Ileana shot for the film at intervals, before wrapping up her shoot towards the month-end. She then set off to Karnal with Randeep Hooda to kick off a romcom, Unfair and Lovely. “The story focuses on our country’s obsession with fair skin and how at times it gets prioritised over things that matter. It’s an issue we have been battling for years. We are treating it in a lighter vein, not preachy or heavy, but without taking away from the sensitivity of the subject,” she assures, excited about her fresh pairing with Randeep, who she describes as an “amazing actor” who will be seen in a “completely new avatar in the film.”
As part of her prep, she spoke to locals in Haryana to get the accent, look and behaviour right, taking some inputs from her Haryanvi co-star as well. “He was quite impressed with how quickly I acquired their personality traits,” she chuckles. The actress celebrated her birthday on November 1 on the set and was surprised with a cake. Taking everyone’s safety into consideration, she didn’t blow out the candles and chose paper plates to distribute it around. “But my focus was more on work than celebration. I wanted to finish the film ASAP and go back to my family,” she says fervently. Keeping up with her plans, the actress flew down to the US, soon after wrapping up the schedule of the film this week.
On October 1, Ileana took to Instagram to share how she had dealt with body image issues and learnt to accept her “beautifully flawed” body. Pointing out that she has always been vocal about this issue, she confides that there are still days when she wakes up feeling great about herself and days when she hates the way she looks. “Acceptance is something that I have been working on for some time now. That post reflected my state of mind then. I had been working out a lot at the time, keeping myself healthy, physically and mentally,” she says, quick to add that we put constant pressure on ourself to look a certain way and need to pull away from that image. “If I look in the mirror and see that I am a bit lumpy, I should be okay with it as it is normal. It’s okay to have a little bump, some scars too, as they add to your character, make you who you are. One needs to be forgiving towards oneself, understand that we were not meant to be perfectly sculpted statues. We are flawed and imperfect as that is what makes us who we are.”
Ileana’s love for fitness is evident from her social media handle. Even during the lockdown, she kept her fans updated on her fitness regime. She insists her documentation is not just to inspire others but also to motivate herself to work harder and further. “During the lockdown, I took an 80-day fitness challenge and after hitting a few breaks, finally completed it this month. It really worked for me, helping me centre myself. Being at home alone for months, I needed something to push me and this challenge gave me a purpose. Now, I am searching for the next challenge,” she concludes.