Her Instagram bio may describe her as an ‘actor’, but Sanya Malhotra prefers to call herself a ‘dreamer’ who is living her dream life. Known for her strong performances in films like Dangal, Pataakha, and Pagglait, she admits that being on a film sit gives her a boost of serotonin — the ‘feel-good hormone’.
Sanya is also admired for her perfect dance moves, pretty curls, and dedication to fitness — something that she spoke with indianexpress.com in an exclusive email interaction. She also talked about being a ‘loner’ but in a healthy way. Read on to know more.
Actor, fitness enthusiast, fashion lover, and dancer — how would you describe Sanya Malhotra?
That’s a really good question. I would describe myself as a dreamer. I’m passionate about my work because I love what I do. I’m definitely living my dream life.
You don many hats, but what is that one thing you really love doing (personally and professionally)?
Personally, I love spending as much time as possible with my family and close friends. I think they really help me stay grounded. Professionally, I love being on a film set, in front of a camera. I just love the vibe of a film set. It really gives me a boost of serotonin.
You have an extremely refreshing sense of style and can effortlessly pull off sneakers with sari — is it comfort that drives your style choices?
Definitely! It’s mostly comfort over style for me. But sometimes my job really pushes me out of my comfort zone, and I don’t mind that too. I love fashion, and I’m quite lucky to have an amazing team that makes me try new things.
You also have flawless skin. What is the secret behind the glow?
Thanks, but I have my days too where it doesn’t look flawless, so to say, but I don’t mind that. Also, I prefer to let my skin breathe as much as possible when I’m not on a film set. Furthermore, a combination of a good diet and a health regimen really helps me keep my skin looking good.
Can you share some tips and tricks that you personally swear by for healthy skin and hair?
A cocktail of a balanced diet and hydration (always drink lots of water). Also, if you are dealing with some skin issues find yourself a trusted dermatologist. There are products that I absolutely love and swear by for my skin. I love using The Body Shop India’s (of which she is also the Chief Brand Advocate) Vitamin E Moisturiser, it really helps me keep my skin hydrated after a long day of shooting, and I don’t step out of my house without applying their Skin defense Multi-protection SPF.
Your fitness videos are what one needs for motivation. What does your daily routine consist of?
My daily routine consists of going to the gym in the morning for an hour where I do functional training or CrossFit. On some days I do boxing, too.
In a similar vein, are you someone who also follows a strict diet and stays away from sugar, carbs?
I eat a balanced diet, but I love carbs and sugar too. In fact, I can’t live without my chawal and bread!
You recently opened up about the pressure you put on yourself ahead of every film’s release. As an actor, how do you manage to strike a healthy work-life balance?
I used to put that pressure on me, a lot. But I’ve stopped doing that now. I think that shift and change happened in 2020 when we all were at home, due to the pandemic. I had enough time to go through almost all my professional decisions and realised that I tend to put that pressure on me which doesn’t work for me at all. I have rectified it now.
But when it comes to work-life balance, I think I’m also actively trying to strike that so that I have some hours to work on myself. Like, I switch off my phone after a certain time in the day. I’m away from my family, so I stay connected with them through calls and video calls. I also like to spend a lot of alone time, so that’s what I do personally.
In my professional life, when I’m not shooting I try and manage my time. I really like to block my time that I have to do this particular thing in this time slot — like reply to calls, read my scripts. However, I try not to work after 8 o’clock. I try to bind down and spend time alone or with my friends.
How important is it for one to open up and talk about their mental health concerns, something that is still considered a taboo?
Very, very crucial! I think it’s high time, and I’m glad that I can see that shift happen. At least on social media, I see a lot of people talking about mental health. But it’s also so important to direct people who are following you to the right resources. Though I am not the right professional to talk it, I would always encourage people to talk to a therapist or a psychologist. I also believe that this shift will happen when we all will be so comfortable talking about our mental health; being vulnerable – it has its own beauty. I’m glad that a lot of people are realising that change is happening and we all should collectively acknowledge that.
You have described yourself as a ‘loner’. As such, how would you describe your pandemic experience?
A loner, but not with a negative connotation attached to it. I love being alone; I feel I can recuperate. I like it when I’m alone — it just refreshes and rejuvenates me. My pandemic experience started with being in Mumbai for a few months. When things opened up, I went to Delhi. Also because I met with a small accident, I thought it’s high time I should be with my family and not be alone at home; definitely a health hazard for me. And it was amazing. I got to spend a lot of time and was quite lucky to have spent that time with my family. As I said earlier, I took this time to reflect on my decisions and what changes I wanted in my life, professionally and personally. So being at home during the lockdown really helped me make those decisions which were really crucial.