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Ex 'Bigg Boss 10' contestant Bani J shares lessons for independent women who want to kick a**

She didn't win Bigg Boss 10, but she won many a heart. Having survived one of reality TV's meanest challenges with a stone face, Bani J spreads the strength

Bani J
Bani J. Pic/Sneha Kharabe

We are sitting with Gurbani Judge, known to television viewers and Bigg Boss addicts as Bani J, at a Versova cafe. The blue highlights in her hair have changed colour since the time she walked out of the House as second runner-up in Season 10. She is accompanied by close friend and actor Gauhar Khan, also a participant on the reality show, and winner of Season 7.

"I had been rejecting offers from Bigg Boss for a few seasons. I thought I couldn't do it. It was Gauhar who convinced me otherwise. And from the day I signed the contract, I had no doubt in my mind that I would win." The confidence perhaps comes from having won a previous reality show, Roadies 4. There, like in the House, she was known for her resilience, routine and controlled reactions.

Outside though, she is readying for the bigger world of Bollywood ("I'm headed for a look test after this interview"). And we think there's there enough time to have her share life-saving lessons for independent woman who want to kick a**.

Unlabel yourself: I tell everyone this, especially women — you can't fit into a slot, and you shouldn't try it. The biggest label [you carry] anyway is "woman". How does it [gender] matter? Whether it's work, your body or sexuality, refuse to get labelled.

Develop a routine: I had a routine that I followed to the T in the Bigg Boss House. I woke up, showered, worked out, had my breakfast, sat on the bench and gazed at the sky. Everyone knew at all times what I was up to. Gaurav (Chopra, co-contestant) told me, 'If you go away, I will perish. But you will be fine. Because you have a set pattern." I am always doing something, and hence, I have less time to dwell on things. I don't think about life. I do.

Ask what grounds you: Working out is like meditation. It keeps me grounded. It helps me rid myself of negativity. I used to train every day in the House, because it was the only way I could ignore the mess around. It's hard to be in a restricted space with so much negative energy. You need to find your peace.

Make good friends: Gaurav and I were two of a kind in the House [she was even linked to him], and we supported each other. I think it matters when you are there for someone. Look at Gauhar. Things are going topsy turvy in her life, but she is here for me. A support system matters. Offer it.

Learn to shrug it off: Most inmates hadn't met someone like me. They were surprised about what I ate [unlimited eggs], how I worked out, the way I looked [at last count she had 40 tattoos]. It's possible that they said awful things about me. But that's because they didn't get me. Say, "whatever!" and move on. And in that moving on, you forgive them too.

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