Freida Pinto, who is back on the big screen again with two big films, talks about working with Christian Bale, facing verbal abuse in her modelling days and dating an industry outsider
Q. You play a model in 'Knight of Cups', which hit US theatres yesterday. You have been a model and had mentioned somewhere that in the modelling world, one has to go through a lot of verbal abuse. Can you elaborate?
A. Yes, you know, what you do and how you are is never good enough. One has to go through a lot to fit in to others' idea of beauty. They keep reminding you that you are not thin enough; the criticism is constant. And then there's social media where everyone is a critic. A lot of them are not considerate; in fact, there are a lot of nasty people out there, so poor body image is something that you always grapple with as a model. You feel you are never good enough.
Freida Pinto and (inset) Christian Bale. Pics/Getty Images
Q. Did that struggling-to-get-accepted ordeal continue even after you stepped into Hollywood?
A. Not at all. On the contrary, being a different looker can be an asset. I had the most fantastic phase when I came here just after doing 'Slumdog Millionaire' (2008). Anyway, thankfully, I never had that urge to get other people's approval. I felt that I was special enough and chose to have more confidence in myself. Apart from confidence, one must be willing to take risks, challenges, have the power to go out there and do it, and do something unique. I think the trick is to spend less time worrying about what others say or should say about you. Given that this is a highly glamorous industry, it is easy to fall into the insecurity trap. All of us are real and all of us can get insecure. You need to keep thinking you are enough. What helped me at that time and even now is that I choose to surround myself with real, honest people, who don't make a big deal of anything that I achieve. It didn't matter if I was getting the biggest pay cheque or not; all that matters is being a kind, generous person who is not afraid... Even back then, post the Slumdog phase, my inner circle treated me like they would treat any other 22-year-old girl. At that point, you get all the adulation, gifts, bags, clothes... but then you realise all this just goes away. I don't want to be remembered as someone who got all the fame that went to her head. I know that nothing works better than staying true to yourself and having a clear conscience.
Q. Now the obvious question. How was it working with Christian Bale?
A. Oh, it was a beautiful learning experience. I sometimes forget how lucky I get. He is such a down-to-earth, humble guy, and that's totally inspiring. He doesn't make a big deal of his stardom and is just another regular guy.
Freida Pinto, Wes Bentley, Teresa Palmer and Christian Bale at the premiere of Knight Of Cups in Los Angeles
Q. We hear you are singing in your other film, 'The Jungle Book'...
A. (Laughs) Yes, that is kind of true and I am really excited about that. I come from a musical family. My mother forced me to learn the keyboard. My sister at 35 is still learning Hindustani music, so this was a great opportunity for me.
Q. How far have you reached with your plans of producing films?
A. We are under development. I heard they took 18 years to make Gandhi, so one or two more years should be okay. I have passion but no patience. I can't wait for too long. Also, it has kept me very busy. I want to be hands on with production, so I get involved and forget how many hours I am putting into it. I am enjoying the process, though. We have a couple of films on South Asian stories and one from India.
Q. You are rumoured to be dating investment banker. Is it easier to date someone who's not from the same field?
A. (Laughs) Not specifically, but generally speaking, to each his own. Having said that, one just falls in love, you don't choose who to fall in love with and what profession he is in.