Fragrances, films and Instagram filters—Ananya Panday on all her favourite things Advertisement

Fragrances, films and Instagram filters—Ananya Panday on all her favourite things

Get to know our April cover star

By Divya Gursahani  April 8th, 2019

It’s the afternoon before Ananya Panday leaves for her first-ever cover shoot in Italy. Completely fresh-faced and dressed down in a sweater, she’s comfortably perched on a couch in her living room. “My biggest dream was to be in a Dharma Productions film. Do you know Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and I turned 20 the same year?” she says. In November last year, Panday wrapped up the shooting of Student Of The Year 2, produced by Karan Johar, and touted by many as a dream debut. She remembers being at the screening of SOTY, seven years ago, with the deep longing to become an actor, and life seems to have delivered.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by ELLE India (@elleindia) on Apr 6, 2019 at 11:32pm PDT

Panday’s first film hits theatres on May 10, but she has already landed her next (Pati Patni Aur Woh directed by Mudassar Aziz) and is the face of Lakme’s lip care range. She is refreshingly aware of her privilege, truly real on social media, and filmy to the core. Her sentences are routinely punctuated with “come on, bro”, Kardashian references pop up normally, as does the mention of Instagram addiction. Panday is like every young girl her age, many of whom make up the 1.3 million people that follow her on Instagram. We played 48 questions with her to find out more.

ELLE: Do you have nicknames?

Ananya Panday: Everyone calls me Panda because of my surname. Or Pandayji [after Salman Khan’s character in Dabangg].

ELLE: Biggest fairytale moment?

AP: Le Bal des Débutantes! I treat that as my college experience because there is no other way I would have met so many people from across the world. I had never been dressed in a gown, so this was the first time—and in Jean Paul Gaultier nonetheless!

ELLE: What’s your favourite memory as a child?

AP: Going on holidays with Suhana [Khan] and Shanaya [Kapoor]. We’ve spent every summer break together.

ELLE: What makes you laugh?

AP: My friends. We have a weird accent that we talk in. Only we understand it, and it constantly makes us laugh. I also can’t stop laughing if I see someone fall.

ELLE: What do you love the most about yourself?

AP: My attitude towards life. I only chase after the important things. I was so obsessed with Student Of The Year, that I willed it into my life. Small things like Instagram comments, where people express dislike towards me or are mean don’t bother me at all. I love everybody. I feel like I can make people very comfortable. No one’s intimidated around me and I like that.

ELLE: Go-to outfit?

AP: Oversized sweatshirts and sneakers. I’m big on comfort. If I’m going out at night, then tight jeans with a bodysuit, and high heels, which I take off because I love dancing.

ELLE: Cher Horowitz from Clueless or Carrie Bradshaw from Sex And The City?

AP: Cher.

ELLE: What kind of music do you listen to?

AP: Bollywood and only Bollywood. I know the hook steps from every song in every film.

ELLE: A literary character you would date?

AP: Peter from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by ELLE India (@elleindia) on Apr 12, 2019 at 3:36am PDT

ELLE: What is your latest obsession?

AP: Food! Cookies from Bastian, the goat cheese and spicy chicken pizza at Indigo, the mutton biryani at Soho House, Sancho’s for its Mexican food, the list goes on.

ELLE: Who is on your wish-list of directors to work with?

AP: Karan Johar, for his direction. Zoya Akhtar because everything she does is just perfect. I watch Luck By Chance every month! Sanjay Leela Bhansali, he is a magician. Devdas makes me cry.

ELLE: Which is your favourite film ever?

AP: It’s a toss-up between Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.

ELLE: Who are the actors you cannot wait to work with?

AP: Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor Khan. I am obsessed with both of them. Even Varun Dhawan! His energy…and he is so cute. He knows I am in love with him and it’s a bit awkward.

ELLE: Favourite beauty DIY?

AP: I do a haldi, honey and yoghurt mask for my face, and once a week I oil my hair. I have been using rosewater a lot recently, I spray it on my face twice daily.

 ELLE: Make-up routine?

AP: I fill out my brows, curl my lashes and apply mascara, put on some cheek tint, cover my under eyes and that’s it.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by ELLE India (@elleindia) on Apr 15, 2019 at 3:35am PDT

ELLE: Bold eyes or bold lips?

AP: My lips are naturally very pink, so I think eyes, because I love mascara and fake lashes.

ELLE: Your favourite scent?

AP: My mum’s Dior J’adore. She doesn’t let me use it because she says it’s her signature scent.

ELLE: Favourite Instagram filter?

 AP: Oslo or Paris.

ELLE: Who is on your speed dial?

AP: My mum. I call her for the stupidest things, like to ask if I can eat a cookie when I am feeling guilty about cheating on my diet.

ELLE: Whose style do you love?

AP: Negin Mirsalehi, she is a fashion influencer I follow on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by ELLE India (@elleindia) on Apr 20, 2019 at 3:37am PDT


ELLE: Commonly used words?

AP: I say “LOL”, out loud quite often. I also say “YOLO” and base a lot of my decisions on it. “Bro” is another one, I say it all the time, to everyone, even if I am dating them.

ELLE: Who is your spirit animal?

AP: James Charles, the beauty guru. I just love the way he talks and his favourite term “sisters”!

ELLE: Favourite food?

AP: Butter chicken and cheese naan. I’m going to get a tattoo of that in another language so people don’t understand what it means. I’ll tell them it means the word “mum” or “beautiful” or something.

ELLE: Which book character would you like to play if it was turned into a movie?

 AP: Andrea Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada, when they make it here.

ELLE: Favourite place in the world?

AP: New York. I love how you can walk around the city, and every block and avenue is a new place with so much to do. But I would choose Bombay over anywhere in the world, especially because of its film culture. It’s also very representative of my personality—completely chilled out.

ELLE: Which TV shows do you binge-watch?

AP: Sex And The City, Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, 13 Reasons Why, You, Riverdale and the previous season of This Is Us.

ELLE: What’s one thing you cannot live without?

AP: My phone, which sucks. I can’t live without it or Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by ELLE India (@elleindia) on Apr 19, 2019 at 3:42am PDT

ELLE: A message for your 1.3 million followers on Instagram?

AP: I hope I’m not boring you. I have a lot to say and do…this is nothing.  I’ve not really spoken on Instagram so far, which I’m going to start doing once my film comes out. I didn’t want to overexpose myself before that because I’m waiting for people to see it. Once it hits theatres, I’m not holding back at all. I am just going to be talking to my followers about oh, I did this today, or I felt that, so people get to know me more as a person. It’s great that I have these followers but now I want them to go watch my movie.

 ELLE: What’s your biggest pet peeve?

AP: Wasting money. I’m not big on spending at all.

ELLE: Your favourite thing in your wardrobe?

AP: The yellow Jimmy Choo bag that Alia carried in Student Of The Year. Karan Johar gave it to Suhana [Khan] and she gave it to me.

 ELLE: The first thing you bought with your own paycheck?

 AP: A ticket to visit my family in New York last summer. I am currently saving up to buy a matte black Range Rover.

ELLE: What is the best piece of advice you have received from your mum?

AP: My mum has really put a lot of emphasis on just being patient. I’m so young and can easily get influenced when someone signs another film and I don’t. SOTY 2 got delayed by over a year, and it was very scary not knowing what was next because I didn’t go to college because of the film.

 ELLE: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

AP: I see myself doing really good films and being at the peak of my career. But also having a good normal life besides that, with my own house and car and possibly a husband. Maybe a summer home in Italy…

 ELLE: What is the best gift you have received?

AP: My dogs. On my 10th birthday I got a Yorkshire terrier, named Fudge and on my 20th birthday I got a golden retriever, named Astro.

ELLE: If you weren’t an actor what would you do?

AP: I’d probably be a doctor because I loved studying biology in school. But I also really love kids, so maybe a primary school teacher?

ELLE: Next goal?

AP: There is so much fluff around being an actor, like Instagram, getting papped, dressing up, magazine covers. It’s all great, but at the end of the day I want to be an actor and my goal is to show people I can act.

ELLE: Favourite Disney princess?

AP: The new take on Rapunzel in Tangled. I had hair so long it touched my knees when I was younger. My friends would call me Rapunzel in school.

ELLE: Three fictional characters you’d like to have tea with?

 AP: Sirius Black from Harry Potter, Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland and Charlie from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

ELLE: What do you sing in the shower?

AP: A lot of Adele, because weirdly enough I think I sound like her in there. ‘Set fire to the rain’ is my go-to.

 ELLE: Ryan Gosling or Chris Hemsworth?

AP: Ryan Gosling. He was so cute in Crazy Stupid Love!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by ELLE India (@elleindia) on Apr 6, 2019 at 3:32am PDT

ELLE: Beaches or mountains?

AP: Beaches.

ELLE: Uno or Monopoly Deal?

 AP: Monopoly Deal for sure. I’ve had so many fights over it because in different groups you play differently!

ELLE: At 60 you want to be…?

AP: Still working. I want three kids—all boys.

ELLE: What TV sitcom family would you be a member of?

AP: Modern Family. I used to be like Alex before graduating. Alanna [Panday] is Haley, Ahaan [Panday] is Luke and dad [Chunky] is Phil for sure.

ELLE: A cause that you feel strongly about?

AP: Acid attacks and rape. Whenever I hear these stories, I realise how privileged I am. I have a home that I am safe in. Just the fact that people have to worry about something like that is scary. I am working on a project related to this soon.

ELLE: Are you single?

AP: Very much so. I have dated people, mainly those high school relationships where we used to hold hands and WhatsApp. But now, I am at a point in my life where my career is so important, I don’t think I can put anyone else through it.

ELLE: How do you deal with heartbreak?

AP: I always end up being the heartbreaker. And I move on quickly.

 Subscribe to the print edition here or download the digital edition here.

Silk shirt, silk and cotton skirt, gold-plated necklace; all Marni. Location courtesy: Piazza Pretoria, Palermo

Cotton dress, net stockings, leather heels, cotton hat; all Moschino. Location courtesy: Villa Tasca, PalermoStefania

Paparelli Satin dress,  TommyXZendaya by Tommy Hilfiger. 18K gold and diamond earrings, Mahesh Notandass Fine Jewellery. ‘T-Wave’,  Tissot. Location courtesy: Villa Tasca, Palermo

Cotton top and pan. Rianna + Nina. Leather shoes.  Michael Kors Collection.  Location courtesy: Orto Botanico di Palermo, Palermo

Crepe dress, RED Valentino. Suede shoes, Clarks. Straw hat, Borsalino. Location courtesy: Piazza Pretoria, Palermo

Nylon dress, Mary Katrantzou. Location courtesy: Villa Tasca, Palermo

Silk dress, scarf, palladium-plated metal and crystal bracelet; all Gucci. Canvas shoes, Bata. 22K gold-plated rings; Misho. Location courtesy: Villa Tasca, Palermo

Paparelli Cotton dress,  cape; both Etro. Silver-plated necklace, Michael Kors Collection. Location courtesy: Mondello Beach, Palermo

Knit Bralette top, REDValentino. Cotton top, cotton-blend jacket, leather skirt, all Versace. Metal glasses, Gucci. Suede shoes, Sergio Rossi. Location courtesy: Villa Tasca, Palermo

Paparelli Satin bra, Marni. Crepe shirt, cotton-blend shorts; both Michael Kors Collection. Leather boots, Laurence Dacade. 18K gold-plated, cotton and lacquered shell necklace, cotton and lacquered shell necklace; all Aurélie Bidermann. Straw hat, stylist’s own. Location courtesy: Cattedrale di Palermo


Paparelli Jersey dress, Emilio Pucci. Silk dress, F.R.S For Restless Sleepers. 18K gold-plated and white rhodium-plated brass earrings, Taal Noir. 18K gold plated, glass pearl and cotton bracelet, Aurélie Bidermann. Enamel and palladium-plated bracelet, Hermès. Location courtesy: Villa Tasca, Palermo

Cotton dress, leather boots, metal necklaces; all Louis Vuitton. Location courtesy: Palazzo Lanza Tomasi, Palermo

PHOTOGRAPHS: Stefania Paparelli

STYLING: Malini Banerji


ASSISTED BY: Pujarini Ghosh (Styling), Sidharth Mehta (Intern)

HOSPITALITY COURTESY: Butera 28 Apartments



ASSISTED BY: Raza Abbasi and The Embassy of Italy in India