“What you think you become”
Shefali has never allowed competition to define her. Instead, she defined herself based on a perception she cared deeply about. Despite having profound experience and astounding triumphs she remained a humble soul and is grateful for all the blessings that came to her way.
You can mock her, watch her, criticize her or join her but you can not stop her. She grew fearlessly by walking into her fears. She is dynamic enough not to confine herself within any genre and bold enough to explore new possibilities and challenges which she aced with grace.
Shefali Bagga could retain her own self amidst all the ebb and flow in her life. She believes that the hardest work is walking alone yet it is also the walk that makes you the strongest.
She firmly feels that it is rudimentary to orient your own consciousness to perceive the good in everything. Positivity is a choice. The exuberance of your life is kindred by the quality of your thoughts.
She wants all the women out there to know that when you believe in yourself, you manifest that reality which leads you towards success. Be fearless and individualistic, stand above your limitations, and make courage your salvation.
The Voice of Woman had the golden chance of talking to Shefali Bagga who expressed her story of the culmination of her dreams.
When did you decide that you want to be a part of the media industry?
I have always wanted to be a part of the television industry from my childhood. Eventually, I grew up and opted for science in my school days as I wished to be a pilot.
This did not work out so I decided to get a bachelor’s degree in English and got occupied with a lot of internships with newspaper houses, media organizations, and news channels.
From this point, my interest started to develop and I realized that I wanted to be a part of the media industry. I graduated and planned to take up a post-graduation course and bagged an internship with India Today. Initially, I used to write scripts for entertainment shows and later on explored other genres.
I also started doing voice-overs for Entertainment Beats in my office as they regarded me the best for doing voiceovers for particular things.
I practised how to do voice modulation, how to interact with different people, how to write good scripts keeping in mind the possibility of becoming a news anchor. Thus, I wanted to get acquainted with all these.
I never imagined that someday I would become the face of my channel as a news anchor which I would say was the turning point in my life. My journey has been quite a long one and I had to work very hard to reach where I am now.
How did your career in journalism begin? How was your experience?
I got to be an anchor. This opportunity came to me as I was doing well. I started as an entertainment writer, then I used to produce shows then I went on to host entertainment shows which led my path towards full-time anchoring. Gradually they wanted me to anchor for their news bulletin and live sessions as well.
My journey was not at all difficult though. It was a long one as it involved a lot of procedures. I had to go through a lot of things. You have to be ready all the time so that whenever your channel is calling, you can report immediately.
I remember waking up at 4 am in the morning and going to my office. I used to sleep late and get up very early to reach my office in case of an emergency or exigency. There were odd shift hours, which at times lasted till late at night.
Yet I managed to take out time for myself so that I can practice more. Practicing in front of the mirror was my absolute favourite. I used to record myself while practicing voice modulation, anchoring, vocabulary as all these things were required.
Do you remember your initial days of struggle? What did those days teach you that is still relevant in your life?
My initial days of struggle taught me a lot of things. The most important thing that I learned was not to take anything for granted in life.
According to me, what you want to do in life is the last thing that you should be taken for granted. You should work towards your aim with all your efforts and that way you will definitely achieve your goal.
Every day I used to get up with a planned schedule mentioning the particular things I will be doing today and I made sure that I followed that. I always took out time to practice. I followed a particular routine from my initial days. That routine, my desire to learn something new, always helped to stay focused in my life.
Another important thing that I learned was how to say ‘NO’. I remember during my initial internship days I was shifted to another department where I was required to do editing in the post-production stuff but I was not enjoying that part of the job.
I backed out and went to my boss to tell him the difficulties I was facing so that I was given assignments that I could do better. He shifted me to the entertainment department where I started to write scripts and it worked for me.
Tell us about your journey from being a journalist to a contestant in Bigg Boss.
My journey from being a journalist to a Bigg Boss contestant was quite unexpected. I was not aware that the Viacom people were trying to reach me through my social media handles.
But they could not reach me because my inbox used to be flooded with a lot of messages and comments and it was not possible to pay attention to all of these messages.
So one day a very senior colleague of my office came up to me and informed me that people from Viacom were asking for my number for a reality show. My number was eventually forwarded to a person who offered me to be a part of Bigg Boss.
It came as a shock as it was hard to believe what he was saying. I knew this was an authentic call because it came to me from a very reliable, senior person who would not get me involved with anything that was not genuine.
This is how the process started. The Viacom people really liked me and my conversation with them went well. Later on, I went to Mumbai and met those people and got selected as a contestant for Bigg Boss season 13.
How different an experience is it to live in the Big Boss House from being an anchor? What have you learned about yourself and other people when you were staying there?
It is extremely difficult to stay inside that house. Firstly, because you would have to stay with people who are complete strangers to you. Then everybody has their own tantrums and way of life so you have to adjust to that.
Secondly, you do not have any freedom. You have to maintain a proper time schedule to do things such as waking up or going to sleep. There was a particular time when Bigg Boss used to wake us up which we did not like at all but were forced to follow.
There were tasks like putting us into spots and we had to do things which we had never done in our life. But we had to do it because it was a game. Often, for the sake of our team or to maintain a spirit of sportsmanship you had to play against the opposite team and required to do all these things. So it was very difficult.
Then the other thing is staying away from your family, you have no connection with the outside world, you have no clue about what they are thinking about you, you are under surveillance for 24 hours in a day, where the cameras are recording each and every movement of your life. So it creates a lot of pressure which adds up to the pressure of survival.
One thing that staying inside the Bigg Boss house has taught me is that, you should not stress about all the insignificant things, for whatever has to happen will happen eventually. Everything there depends on your action so you should be as real as you can be.
For instance, it was very challenging for me to survive when I went inside the house as a wild card contestant for the second time. There was a lot of politics which was going on.
Everyone decided to not pay attention to this particular person so that she does not get a lot of footage or attention and consequently gets voted out.
I learned that it is perfectly fine not to force yourself upon people or to ask for their attention. It is not a big deal if you are not a part of any specific group and follow someone else.
I think I was someone who did not belong to any specific group. I did not get involved in this conformism and played independently. This decision kind of helped me to be the kind of person I am. I did not lose anything when I went into the house, rather I gained a lot of things out of it.
Many people told me when I came out that you were the most courageous and upfront, as I used to speak what I felt like. So I was very happy that I did not get involved with any groups as such in that house.
There were a lot of things which I took a stand for and came out as a person who is independent, strong in her thoughts and action, someone who is fearless and is not hesitant to tell any other person if their action is right or wrong upfront.
How has your experience in this industry been so far? Do you think the journey of a woman in the entertainment industry is different from that of a man?
I have not been a part of this industry as of now because of this lockdown but yes we all are aware of the fact that there is a partiality between actors and actresses. But I think now it depends on the audience and how they deal with it.
If the audience starts to appreciate and applaud female talents more then things will change for the good gradually. It is very important for all the women in the industry to speak up for them.
How do you deal with criticism?
If it is a healthy criticism, I appreciate it because I think you can learn a lot from criticism and what people are criticizing you about. It is important to remember that you should listen to criticism but you should not get influenced or divert all of your attention towards that.
You should stick with your decision of what you want to do in life. There is another type of criticism where people criticize you for their hatred or to safeguard their interests. There are a lot of hate comments as well which I prefer to ignore but I do speak up if something is extremely wrong.
How do you manage a healthy lifestyle despite having an occupied schedule?
It is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle because whatever you put inside your body reflects. We hear this saying a lot that a healthy mind dwells in a healthy body so for a healthy mind one should eat healthy. Fitness and health should be a part of your lifestyle and not a trend you follow. You should exercise regularly and not get influenced by other people’s activities.
Even if you have a really occupied schedule you should take out time for your body like at least half an hour should be kept aside from your busy schedule for your body and then diet is something that everybody should take care of.
What are the things that you want women to adopt in their life to be successful and happy?
I will only tell all the women out there that they should just believe in themselves which will help them to gain the courage to stand up and do what they wish to.
No matter whatever is the reason or whoever comes in the way, I think the courage that you acquire by believing in one’s own self will not let any other people, situation, or hatred from the society shatter it.
Women should just strongly believe in themselves and stay happy. Every person who remains happy and positive irrespective of any adversities is successful. So it is not only about women but all human beings. Whatever makes you happy you should do it.
What is your favourite makeup and skincare product that you absolutely cannot do without?
The brands are subject to change very often but I am very particular about my skin. So I mostly prefer natural products. I apply aloe vera extracts from the plant which I have in my home only and also Multani Mitti does wonders to my skin.
Who are the 3 most important people in Shefali Bagga’s life? And what is your philosophy of life?
Actually, there are four people who are very important in my life: my parents, my brother and myself. I strongly believe that we should not count ourselves out of that list of important and special people in our lives.
My philosophy of life is just to stay happy, focused, and to be positive because what you think & aim, you become. I strongly believe in that. When you sleep at night or wake up in the morning, set short term goals for yourself and try to complete that.
So the next morning when you get up you prepare yourself to achieve those goals on that particular day and stay happy while doing so.
Why do you think it is important for a woman to have a voice of her own?
Of course, women should have a voice of their own. Not only women but I think it is very important for everybody to have a voice of their own because if they do not speak or come out then people will not know. So it is very important to speak and express. Speaking to me also means expressing yourself. I think women should follow their hearts and speak their minds.
Any special message you want to convey to our readers?
I just want to thank all my readers and supporters and my fans, who have supported me and showered me with their love throughout my journey in Bigg Boss and after that as well.
Our country is suffering from a pandemic. Not only our country, rather the entire world is suffering from a global pandemic since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, so I would just request each and everyone to try to stay at home and if you are going out take good care of yourself, properly sanitize your masks and take proper measures.