Lisa Ray
Lisa Ray

Most cancer survivors say, more draining than the chemotherapy sessions are the questions that come from friends, family and acquaintances, forcing you to live your pain over and over again. But for the beautiful Lisa Ray, it's her life's mission.

The actress was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells, in 2009. While she, like all cancer patients, has borne her share of trauma, Lisa survived the disease and spends a fair bit of her time spreading awareness about various cancers, and offering people hope. For her, celebritydom is a weapon to make common cause and raise funds.

The Indo-Canadian actress recently launched her perfume, which she says is going to be available in India soon. "We received a positive feedback and are already in talks to get the perfume to India. I hope things work according to plan. We should be in the market by mid-next year."

A portion of the proceeds will go towards funding the philanthropy work surrounding cancer. But there is one more reason why Indian should pick up a bottle. The jasmine or mogra, which is the base for her scent, is sourced from farmers across India.

"Every bottle supports jasmine farmers here. We source the flowers at fair trade prices," Lisa says. She and partner Barb Stegemann, who is a fragrance entrepreneur and heads Make Perfume, Not War, are keen to encourage fair trade practices among farmers in economically weak parts of the world. For Stegemann, perfumes symbolises love, hope and peace.

She is behind Afghan
Orange Blossom, Vetiver of Haiti and other scents made from flowers farmed on land devastated by conflict. Lisa says the two intend to work with the Blind Persons Association of India in Mumbai, to help train the visually impaired in perfumery, given their heightened sense of smell.