From a small-town girl to being the Nescafe girl, here’s Teena Singh- the free-spirited, who has made a mark with her actions and her talent in the industry. Teena’s journey had its own set of ups and downs that makes her journey a true roller coaster ride. She has been a rebellious kid since her childhood days, always filled with unruffled emotions towards the societal bonds that she was tied into. Get inspired by Teena’s tale of brazenness on campus vibes and know more about the making of this unpretentious Nescafe Girl.
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So Teena, tell us about yourself and the story behind Nescafe Girl?
I belong to a very conservative Sikh family in Punjab. Coming from a Sikh family, we were not allowed to cut our hair or take up decisions of our own, and this acted as the starting point of my rebellious nature. Taking orders and listening to what parents said, was just not acceptable to me. I used to question things that were imposed on me in the name of religion. In my 7th standard at boarding school, I asked one of my friends to chop off my hair, and this small act made me feel liberated from all shackles of change. I think my impulsiveness also plays a vital role in depicting who I am.
In order to live your dreams, I personally believe that you must come out of that cocoon of family pressure and take risks fearlessly. My journey of becoming the Nescafe girl involved seven cities, lot of hardships, freakiness, sincerity, and a rigorous wanting of becoming a successful woman of substance.
Initially, I started studying fashion designing, but that was not where my heart lied. I began my career by doing PR events and had a blast doing it. I did that for a couple of years but impulsively left it. Post which I left for Goa for a Yoga retreat where I was offered a bartending job, unknowingly and out of curiosity, I said YES. The other day, I called up my boss and told him that I am not coming back and I had taken up a job in Goa. I did that for a year and then I shifted my base to Bombay because of my boyfriend, as he lived in Bombay.
My boyfriend often told me to try out acting, but I always refused and never paid any heed what he said. But, one fine day someone rang me up saying they wanted to cast me in their advertorials and this is how it began. And yes! Not to forget I did struggle my way in making the industry accept my hairdo and my skin color. It’s been 4 years now in the industry, I have done a good number of advertorials, also did a cameo in Fitoor, and had a role in Akira too.
Since you have chosen acting as a career, how do your parents react to it?
Now they have accepted acting as my career option. It initially was hard for them, but yeah slowly and steadily they learned about me and my choices. I remember, my dad had asked me to get married when I was 18 but I wanted to do something different. He was of course, not convinced as I had some other plans and marriage was not even there on my list. I figured out ways to get out of Punjab. Though he didn’t speak to me for a few days after I had left. I had no dream nor ambition when I left Punjab but one thing that I was sure of was to leave Punjab. I wanted to see Delhi and Mumbai.
What challenges did you face in Bombay?
See every career is a challenge. Until and unless God throws challenges at you, you don’t emerge as a stronger and victorious person. I started giving auditions daily. There is no shortcut to a successful career is what I have laid my belief upon. I have been striving since I was 18, lost my father at a tender age and since then I have been earning for my livelihood. As a person, I am a hard-core work-a-holic therefore working for what is expected out of me and delivering my level best runs in my blood. If you talk about the industry, yes, it’s a cut-throat competition out there. Not all people will cherish and like you, few will be nice and a few will backstab you. I have known people complaining about my hair and complexion and so have always loved taking challenges upfront because in a way I am proving my critics wrong.
Any incident which shattered you completely and you wanted to just leave everything and go back?
I had a lot of incidents that broke me in and out but honestly, obstacles did prove out to be my stepping stones to success and I turned out as a mature human being. I don’t know, but what I have realized over time is that men don’t like the idea of strong and working women. If you’re a strong woman they will never appreciate you, in fact, they will always think of a way to pull you down. I am very outspoken which has its own good and bad points. The good point is that you emerge as a candid and a bold personality, but the bad point is that everything you speak will get rephrased in a conflicting version and so the chances of getting misinterpreted or miss-communicated increases, which contributes in creating controversy in your life. Henceforth to face this you must be really strong.
There is a misconception about acting. People consider acting as a career, where not much intelligence is needed. What is your take on this?
Nothing comes without a brain [laughs off]. Acting as a career needs a lot of hard work and brainstorming capabilities to get the creativity out of you. You can’t think of ruling this domain without brains. You will not be able to become a superstar without a good intellectual level. And who in the industry is not brainy? Whether it’s Shahrukh Khan or Priyanka Chopra they have been able to set a benchmark as far as intellectual level and sharpness at work is concerned. It’s a myth and I don’t agree to it.
What are your future plans?
I can’t say that right now. But as of now, I am working on a web series with a big director, the role is quite interesting, and my work is appreciated too and this makes me happy. So, all I can say is I am hopeful of reaching new heights and explore more in my career.
What are your views on the current education system prevailing in India?
Yes, the current state of education in India is really disheartening and disturbing. Kids should have a SAY in their family and should be open to discussing their career choices in front of them. For example, I have always hated mathematics but still had to study it until 10th standard. I find it hard to understand as to why was I made to study it when that was not what I wanted to do and it had no connection with my career that I wanted to pursue. Had I been exposed to acting early then, I would have learned it wholeheartedly and would never look out for excuses to abstain from it and that is the reason when I moved to Bombay, I was clueless about acting.
Kids must realize what they want to do so that during their initial days itself they can start working on it. One most important thing, what I think is that today’s youth misses out COMPLETE INFORMATION AND RESEARCH. Research is important in any field, people need to know that hard work and smart work together helps you grow. You don’t become an actor by drinking protein shakes or learning how to dance but by learning acting. People often lack the knack of acting and modeling. They gym, learn to dance, hip-hop, jazz everything that they feel is needed in a good actor, but miss out on the basic essence of this career which is none other than acting. Ideally, if you look at actors like Rajkumar Rao, Richa Chaddha are the ones who have worked on their acting skills very diligently and intelligently.
Any message that you wish to give to all the students who are struggling to be an actor and one message for parents too?
One must be honest and true to oneself. You need to know your strengths and weakness before working in the direction of your career. If you want to be an actor you must be trained just like any other job. Figure out what you want to achieve in your life, and what you want from your life. Put serious efforts into what you are doing and don’t just have a dream rather work towards turning it into a reality. One thing that we often tend to do is- start blaming others for our failures, when failures come your way, don’t get hopeless, keep going. Be strong, ask yourself questions because you are your own product.
For parents, I would like to say that you need to be little more supportive because if you don’t then, who will. I did that without parents and I know how horrible it feels. Give them a chance, let them fail and keep telling them to have a backup plan. It’s one life, let them love it, enjoy it to the fullest.
YOUR ROLE MODEL: PRIYANKA CHOPRA. I just adore her from the bottom of my heart
YOUR FAVORITE SPORT: SWIMMING …though I’m not a sports person but yeah, I like swimming and I run a lot. It’s like my stress buster.
ONE THING YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Good food and mangoes. Gosh! I love mangoes.
ONE THING YOU HATE ABOUT YOURSELF: I hate my IMPULSIVE DECISION-MAKING habit. Though I don’t hate anything about myself yeah, I feel I can be more sensible than exerting impulsive decisions.
ONE MISTAKE YOU THINK YOU COULD HAVE AVOIDED: Nothing, I love my journey
MONEY, CAREER OR A GOOD CHARACTER- CHOOSE ONE: CAREER! Money follows you thereafter.
ONE QUOTE THAT INSPIRES YOU THE MOST: NO PRESSURE- NO DIAMONDS
So, that was Teena Singh- The Nescafe girl, who is truly a woman of mettle in all aspects of her life. More than just being The Nescafe girl, she is someone more like a hot cup of coffee that constantly reminds you to chase your dreams.
Henceforth, “Don’t let anyone tell you what you can, and cannot do, because nobody sees your dream like you do. Hard work and believing in yourself against all odds is what matters in the end!”