Sunny Leone has her eyes set on the whole wide world, and she’s likely to have it all too.
By Ayesha Tabassum
Sunny LEONE’s raunchy Laila Main Laila for the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raees does amp up the steam to a point where sections of the audience might be left sweating in their collars. As much as she’s wont to raise eyebrows, these appearances are why Sunny, or Karenjit Kaur Vohra, the Indian-Canadian former adult star, is among the most searched names on Google in India. Staying clear of the dirty tidbits, however, we spoke with Sunny about her journey so far, her love for animals, social media presence, and husband Daniel Weber.
What was the Raees experience like?
It was absolutely amazing. For the song, I rehearsed for about seven-eight days and we took four days to shoot. Every moment was amazing and the best part,
of course, was shooting with Shah Rukh. I was really nervous and remember telling myself not to trip or say anything silly. I tend to babble when I am nervous.
Do you still get treated like an outsider in India?
I don’t feel like an outsider anymore. I have settled into my own circle. There are still many moments where I am awkward and get shy in public places, but I’ve made it a point to try harder to mingle with other celebrities.
Has Bollywood been fair to you?
Everything is fair, because we as actors have the ability to say yes or no. We decide how well we act, and how much we want to work at our craft. I’ve had to create my own path.
You’ve also been associated with quite a few causes.
I’m intensely involved with the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. When I’m in Los Angeles, I visit the dog shelter almost every day. I play, walk and
bathe them, clean up the pee and poop, mop floors and clean the place. I always believed that if I was going to be a part of a foundation, I’d personally be involved with helping in some way, and it wouldn’t just be about donating money.
How important is a social media presence, to you?
I am a product of social media, and believe it has given me a voice and helped me make space in this competitive field of films. My online power is something that my team and I have built over many years.
You frequently post workout videos too.
The videos people see are only 10-30 seconds long (laughs). My workout usually lasts for about 60-90 minutes of intense cardio plus strength training. I also eat clean. I don’t eat fried or junk food. It doesn’t matter how much you workout if you’re eating pizza and fried food every day.
Is your husband Daniel getting on well in India?
He is very happy here. I love that he has adapted so well in a society that we both didn’t know anything about. The only thing that Daniel knew about before we came was whatever little my dad taught him, and that we got married in a Gurudwara.
Do you have a message for the empowerment of women, in a culture steeped in patriarchal domination?
Women who want to see a change need to try and change things at their homes first. We need to teach our sons and daughters about respecting each other as human beings.
It always starts at home. I grew up in a home where my father and mother were equal.
My father helped my mother in everything and likewise, my mother helped him. My brother and I grew up watching this. Today, as an adult, my brother treats his wife with love, compassion and respect, as an equal. I am proud that my brother is a good man to his wife.
How is the writer in you shaping up, since your debut effort, Sweet Dreams, last year?
That was a one-time thing. I don’t write on a regular basis. I’m happy it went well, as a lot of hard work and time went into it.
What are you working on next?
I’m working on a film called Tera Intezaar with Arbaaz Khan. I’m also working on my cosmetic line and apparel brand. This is my baby at the moment, and I love that I’m able to spearhead this in the direction I want.
What more would you wish for in life?
I want the whole world (laughs).
I believe life is what you make of it. Personally, I’m very happy with my life and family. On the professional front, there is always room to keep pushing forward.