When life gives you lemon make lemonade. This is how you live in an optimistic way because optimism is the light that sheds away the darkness of ignorance. The Voice of Woman recently got in touch with the beautiful and talented Shrenu Parikh where she reveals a lot about her life, her initial struggles, and why one should never be ashamed of one’s identity. Shrenu has gracefully aced the roles of a perfect daughter, wife, daughter in law and did not limit herself to that but rather redefined perfection by playing the role of a feisty, independent, and fervent villain of television alternatively known as Jahnvi Mittal of Ek Bhram Sarvagun Sampanna. She is someone who refused to be tamed by the rejections and made sure her prowess speaks for her accomplishments. With roles like Aastha from Havan, Gauri from Ishqbaaaz she is our dearest TV persona whom we absolutely adore. When did you decide to be an actor? What or who inspired shrenu parikh? I decided to become an actor when I was a child. I was five years old when I thought about acting. I guess nobody thinks of their future at such a tender age. I decided this entirely when Aishwarya Rai had won the title of Miss World and was launched in Bollywood. I was so fascinated with this event that my little self spun the same dream of becoming an actor. Do you remember your initial days of struggle? What did those days teach you that is still relevant in your life? Some people are of the opinion that I was blessed in this regard. Yes, God has been really kind however I had to struggle in my own ways. I came from a middle-class family so not having the bare essentials was not the issue. What I had to endure was an emotional hardship. I was not at all used to facing any rejections but gradually, I learned how to make peace with failure as well as rejections. This knowledge is what I still apply to my life that yes life will sometimes bounce off some lemons towards you and you ought to learn how to live with that sourness and bitterness in your life. So my initial struggle days used to be not having my own house, a vehicle, not knowing anyone in this city of dreams that you have just gone into. I was an outsider and I was treated like that. Nonetheless, the industry, as well as Mumbai, has been quite kind to me. It is just that traveling without tickets, the sudden journey when you are called for an audition at the last moment, sometimes the journey used to be almost 5-6 hours long, then an early call time so sleepless nights. So all these things have taught me a lot about life. How has your experience in this industry been so far? Do you think the journey of a woman in this industry is different from that of a man? I can say that in the course of my journey, where I have been and where I have reached till now is all by myself and by my hard work and talent. I never had to face any compromise or anything like that. So in this way, I really can vouch for my industry and I love it from the core of my heart. Television is a medium where you can fiercely become a bahu and receive love from teenagers and everyone across all age groups. So yes I have been very comfortable over here. As far as being different from men in terms of treatment I guess as in the television medium we as in all the female put in much more efforts than a man primarily because you have to get ready with all these makeup and hairstyles for elaborate scenes and the sequences, then extensive use of glycerin and a host of other things. So in this medium women particularly require to do much more than what a man has to do. We also indulge in action sequences and physical activities in the reel life that we do not usually do in real life. I think women are treated much better than men in regard to their capabilities when it comes to television. Do you wish to see yourself working in films in the future? Who are the directors that you would love to work with? I am an actor and I would love to experience anything that comes my way which has the potential of offering a lot of scope in terms of acting or performance so definitely a film any day for sure. I have a lot of directors in my head that I want to work with. I would love to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rohit Shetty, Vidhu Vinod Chopra of 3 Idiots, and Munna Bhai MBBS. I would love to be a part of these kinds of films and explore as much as I want to with such wondrous thoughts. How do you deal with criticism? Like I said earlier I have had my share of rejections and criticism. We pretend that facing rejection and being subject to criticism is a part of life and has normalized it but the truth is a part of your heart dies when you realize that you have given so much effort to something yet it did not turn out the way you wished it to be. As a daily soap actor, you have to face a different kind of day all the time. Not a single day is the same for us. There are constant online audiences that get in touch so my fans, my audiences, in fact, my dad also criticizes me. But I have learned that it becomes very easy if you accept it in order to correct it and then you move on. This is what I have learned in my life that praise and criticism will exist simultaneously and I have prepared myself to deal with them, to notify myself about them, and correct them. How do you manage a healthy lifestyle despite having an occupied schedule? Well, I actually have not followed a healthy lifestyle and I am certain that a lot of television actors have recently stepped up into the health game otherwise initially we used to shoot for more than 12 hours a day. So like 15 hours a day used to go into your shoots and all. For this reason, it became really challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle while shooting for such long hours. But now I have learned. As the saying goes better late than never. I am trying to eat healthily, work out, and get a good sleep. Although our schedules don’t permit these yet I try to stay away from unhealthy food and I think half of the battle is won over there. What does your quarantine routine look like? What are you doing now that you often do not get time to do? Well no matter how decorative we try to make this quarantine life, it does not really turn out in that way. Of course, it is the need of the hour where you are required to stay in the house so you have to do certain things. I have started cooking which is something I have never attempted in my life. I think doing something new is the highlight of this whole phase of everyone’s life. They are going to rediscover or probably discover something in themselves. This is how I am also trying to motivate my fans by constantly telling them that they should try to pick up a hobby or do something such as cooking. What is your favourite makeup and skincare product that you absolutely can not do without? My favourite makeup product has to be my rehydrating Clinique Moisturizer that I use because our skin is exposed to all the makeup and lights for long hours during shooting which results in severely dehydrated skin. Yes, that is my go-to skincare product without which I can’t function. What is the secret of Shrenu Parikh’s flawless skin? The secret to my glowing skin is probably genes and nothing else. It may appear a very easy task to maintain such skins but the reality is something else. You get acne problems often because of the abuse of makeup products. Then you might have a condition like PCOD which I have. This is the major reason that gives me acne issues. So you really have to be careful like you have to omit food items such as sugar, flour from your diet and drink a lot of water which I am really bad at. So these are things that I need to do to maintain my skin. Who are the 3 most important people in your life? Three literally most important people in my life have to be my family, my friends, and obviously people whom I work with, my colleagues. It has to be these three categories that I would really cherish for my life. I can’t be specific among them because they all mean a lot to me but of course, my parents and my brother are the most important people in my life. What is your philosophy of life? My philosophy of life is actually a long topic about which I can talk for hours. If I try to describe it, it would be I am the kind of person who lives in the moment and a go-getter type. I don’t believe in giving up on something rather I would want to strive harder next time after the rejection that I have faced and would aim to achieve it. This is what my mantra has been till now. What is the most challenging role that you have played so far? Which one is your favourite character and why? All my characters have been challenging in a way but I think the most challenging role for which I had to literally go against my nature was the last character that I had played which was the character of Jahnvi from the Ek Bhram Sarvagun Sampanna. It was the first anti-hero character that I had played which made it more difficult for me. I had to put myself in that situation and then imagined what this girl would have done. This character was a little grey and even black at times which required me to literally paint that character. My favourite character has to be Aashtha from Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon because she was quite close to what Shrenu is in real life which also literally struck onto TV. Also, the role of Gauri is quite close to my heart because Isqkbaaz has given me that platform which probably any actor in TV aspires to achieve. It includes a lot of recognition, love, and obviously a character to act upon. So Astha and Gauri would be my favourite and Janvi has to be something challenging. I was fascinated with this role because she was so powerful. What would you advise the youngsters aspiring to be an actor? The most important tip that we often tend to forget is that I agree that all of us come with a lot of ambition and aspiration. You want to see yourself on the big screen as a hero or a heroine when one decides to work on this field but what the important advice is to get started with whatever role you get on your plate. Like for example if Nawazuddin Siddiqui would not have done the small roles that were available for him when he started off with his career and would have waited to get the role of a lead actor then perhaps he could not have achieved the recognition that he got today of a great actor. So always try to remember no role is big or small, instead, you should just start rolling and that is what my advice would be. This has worked for a lot of actors including me. Initially, I also started off with a small role that paved my way towards my leads. So an actor is an actor no matter how big or small the role is. All that matters is how you perform that role. Even if you just need to utter two lines for that role just ensure that you get noticed for that. How much importance does your mother hold in your life? Mothers play a very important role in our lives. I think they should be celebrated and their efforts should be acknowledged every day and not only on just one day for all things that they do for us. I am quite certain that now during this lockdown everyone has somewhat realized the amount of effort and energy invested by all the mothers. They do so much for us from managing both her office and home then feeding you still they don’t complain. No matter how tired she is she will always take care of your demands. So while talking of all these I get very emotional. How did you celebrate this year’s mother’s day amidst lockdown? Every day is like mother’s day now because I am back at home. So my mom is very happy about that. We are cooking together. I am trying to teach her continental dishes and she is teaching me her Indian dishes so that is how we celebrated this year’s Mother day. If you are aware of the boy’s locker room controversy what is your take on that? Yes, I have heard of the boy’s locker room and I really feel that people have taken social media much more easily as it is accessible. These people have a lot of time so they just sit behind the screen and abuse an unknown face. Even celebrities are not spared. There are a lot of haters who just don’t know about their limits for which they talk in an objectionable manner about girls. I really feel that it is high time that this kind of cyberbullying should stop. Having a WhatsApp group about girls itself is very despicable. There is a popular saying that boys will be boys. This incident if it was true and not fabricated then it is very shameful and strict action should be taken. There were twists and turns because it is very easy these days to settle such issues out of court. I think whoever is it is a girl or a boy if you are abused in a direct or indirect way you should call out. That is where social media becomes useful as you can reach out to people and make them aware. This is how we can harness the power of social media in a constructive way rather than using it to abuse people or spreading hatred. This kind of incident is quite unfortunate. This can happen to anyone at any age so do not shy away from calling out the truth and ask for support because it can really affect you mentally for the longest time in your life. Why do you think it is important for a woman to have a voice of her own? It is very important to have your own voice because it is very easy to get lost in a new world that is full of loudmouths. So if you want to make your point you need to have your own voice and you need to find your own stand. Any special message you want to convey to our readers? My only message to all my fans and to The Voice Of Woman is that I want to thank VOW for having me around and asking me great questions. I hope my answers motivate my viewers in some way. I would like to say that you have your own life and identity so never be ashamed for being what you are and enduring your struggles. You should always be proud of yourself and love yourself. Take care!