Jacqueline Fernandez is BFF material


Jacqueline Fernandez is BFF material

Rising star Jacqueline Fernandez could well be your goofy, cat-obsessed girl next door

By Mamta Mody  December 30th, 2015

Jacqueline Fernandez is likeable, duh. She takes ugly falls in resplendent Amit Aggarwal gowns, burns muffins by the tray and stars in Dubsmashes with her Persian cat, Miu Miu. Any Jacqueline caption gets a minimum of three emojis, and she probably takes 16 bad selfies before she finds a winner, too. A star we could be friends with, Jacqueline is perfect exactly because she’s showing us she’s not. And we’re getting the full heft of her sweetness especially now that the actor has taken to social media with blogger-like efficiency. Always sunny, always goofy, brimming with motivational quotes and usfies of members of her entourage (she even sends personalised gifts to her fans for Christmas), the 30-year-old actor is what the interwebs now term a social nurturer — a person who exists online solely to give us the warm fuzzies. This variety of unselfconscious, good-vibes celebrity sharing is so new to us, that when Fernandez posted a solo picture of a woman with the caption “Jackie” (it was her personal assistant), some followers figured her account had been hacked. 

“It would become very annoying if it’s all about me. I hate the idea of taking a picture alone — it’s not my brand. I’ll always take a selfie with a group of people because that’s a memory,” she tells me, when we meet at her suburban Mumbai apartment. She looks freshly showered and is balancing a lit scented candle and a handful of skin creams from a brand she endorses, to give to her publicist and me. She also produces a stack of fruit boxes and a tray of nuts.

Here’s what Fernandez knows that surprisingly few of her contemporaries will accept: 1) Resistance to scrutiny is futile when you’re a Bollywood star. 2) On social media, more is always less. 3) A digital-friendly celebrity who doesn’t act like a celebrity is online gold. So she gives the gallery what it wants, only she does it on her own terms. It helps that she has the natural magnetism to pull off these antics too, or you’d have an Uday Chopra. “As an actor, people always want to know what I’m doing, beauty rituals and stuff,” she says. “And I’m the kind of person who likes sharing, it’s something I’m not afraid to do.”

This is a fairly recent development, actually. If you watch YouTube interviews of hers from three years ago, you’ll find she reiterates constantly how fussy she is about her privacy. So what changed between then and the Insta video of her dancing on her bed in pyjamas? “From what I read on the Internet and what others told me, I gathered that people had a really weird perception of me,” she says. “They had no idea who I was. The minute I got on to social media and started sharing, I found a lot more connectivity with my fans. It’s amazing to show others who you really are. I’m a dork, I’m clumsy. Sometimes people forget that an actor is a real person.” Follow her on any social media platform and you’ll get the best behind-the-scenes guided tour to Fernandez’ life. She’ll take you along to a shoot location, an airport lounge, make-up room, backstage before an event and even the gym. Expect endless fitspiration: picture-perfect breakfasts, detox tips, tutorials on DIY almond milk and videos of intense Ashtanga-Pilates routines managed with ease. “I love promoting the fact that a lot of hard work goes into looking a certain way,” she says. 

Photographs: Abhay Singh; Styling Malini Banerji; Art Direction: Reshma Rajiwdekar; Make-up and Hair: Bianca Hartkopf / Toabh Management; Production: Parul Menezes; Assisted By Veronna Parikh, Devika Wahal, Jannat Bhasin (Styling)

An excerpt from ELLE's January 2016 edition. Subscribe here.

Jacqueline Fernandez is likeable, duh. She takes ugly falls in resplendent Amit Aggarwal gowns, burns muffins by the tray and stars in Dubsmashes with her Persian cat, Miu Miu. Any Jacqueline caption gets a minimum of three emojis, and she probably takes 16 bad selfies before she finds a winner, too. A star we could be friends with, Jacqueline is perfect exactly because she’s showing us she’s not. And we’re getting the full heft of her sweetness especially now that the actor has taken to social media with blogger-like efficiency. Always sunny, always goofy, brimming with motivational quotes and usfies of members of her entourage (she even sends personalised gifts to her fans for Christmas), the 30-year-old actor is what the interwebs now term a social nurturer — a person who exists online solely to give us the warm fuzzies. This variety of unselfconscious, good-vibes celebrity sharing is so new to us, that when Fernandez posted a solo picture of a woman with the caption “Jackie” (it was her personal assistant), some followers figured her account had been hacked. 

“It would become very annoying if it’s all about me. I hate the idea of taking a picture alone — it’s not my brand. I’ll always take a selfie with a group of people because that’s a memory,” she tells me, when we meet at her suburban Mumbai apartment. She looks freshly showered and is balancing a lit scented candle and a handful of skin creams from a brand she endorses, to give to her publicist and me. She also produces a stack of fruit boxes and a tray of nuts.

Here’s what Fernandez knows that surprisingly few of her contemporaries will accept: 1) Resistance to scrutiny is futile when you’re a Bollywood star. 2) On social media, more is always less. 3) A digital-friendly celebrity who doesn’t act like a celebrity is online gold. So she gives the gallery what it wants, only she does it on her own terms. It helps that she has the natural magnetism to pull off these antics too, or you’d have an Uday Chopra. “As an actor, people always want to know what I’m doing, beauty rituals and stuff,” she says. “And I’m the kind of person who likes sharing, it’s something I’m not afraid to do.”

This is a fairly recent development, actually. If you watch YouTube interviews of hers from three years ago, you’ll find she reiterates constantly how fussy she is about her privacy. So what changed between then and the Insta video of her dancing on her bed in pyjamas? “From what I read on the Internet and what others told me, I gathered that people had a really weird perception of me,” she says. “They had no idea who I was. The minute I got on to social media and started sharing, I found a lot more connectivity with my fans. It’s amazing to show others who you really are. I’m a dork, I’m clumsy. Sometimes people forget that an actor is a real person.” Follow her on any social media platform and you’ll get the best behind-the-scenes guided tour to Fernandez’ life. She’ll take you along to a shoot location, an airport lounge, make-up room, backstage before an event and even the gym. Expect endless fitspiration: picture-perfect breakfasts, detox tips, tutorials on DIY almond milk and videos of intense Ashtanga-Pilates routines managed with ease. “I love promoting the fact that a lot of hard work goes into looking a certain way,” she says. 

Photographs: Abhay Singh; Styling Malini Banerji; Art Direction: Reshma Rajiwdekar; Make-up and Hair: Bianca Hartkopf / Toabh Management; Production: Parul Menezes; Assisted By Veronna Parikh, Devika Wahal, Jannat Bhasin (Styling)

An excerpt from ELLE's January 2016 edition. Subscribe here.