ELLE Digital Cover Star: Everyone’s Watching Shanaya Kapoor

Shanaya Kapoor, the rising Gen Z star in Bollywood, is on a determined journey to carve out her place in the industry. Her relentless drive to take on diverse roles and explore various genres showcases her versatility and ambition. In an exclusive and candid conversation with ELLE, Kapoor reveals the depth of her multifaceted persona—from her passionate advocacy for animal welfare to the dedication required to portray different characters.

On Shanaya Kapoor: Acro organza gathered gown with bow detail by Aisha Rao Azure; pearl diamond earring, pristine diamond bracelet and elated pearl diamond bracelet, all by Jaipur Gems

ELLE: How do you balance honouring your family’s legacy while forging your identity and carving out a unique path?

Shanaya Kapoor (SK): What’s truly important is to keep your head down and work extremely hard. Focus on honing your strengths and addressing your weaknesses while maintaining a strong sense of self-awareness. In doing so, you yourself are honouring your family’s legacy and making them unfathomably proud. By being authentic and finding what truly makes me different, I am acknowledging where I come from and, at the same time, forging something new and valuable.

On Shanaya Kapoor: Arian printed sequin pantsuit by Aisha Rao. Amethyst crest diamond earrings by Jaipur Gems

ELLE: Tell us about some of the projects or causes outside of the entertainment industry close to your heart and why they hold significance for you.

SK: I work hand in hand with a lot of animal shelters and have realised that there is a lot that you can learn from animals. Giving back, whether in big or small ways, is important to me, especially by helping stray or rescue animals in need. Animals have taught me about unconditional love. They’ve taught me how to be happy and grateful for what you have and where you come from. I think that as a society, we’re often focused on the future, always chasing what’s next and how we can improve. We plan for tomorrow, next week, or even next year, and sometimes forget to live in the present and appreciate what’s around us. Animals, especially my pet dog, have taught me to appreciate each day, wake up excited, and make the most of each moment. I do love being close to these causes and doing the best that I can for them.

On Shanaya Kapoor: Acro organza gathered gown with bow detail by Aisha Rao. Azure pearl diamond earrings, pristine diamond bracelet and elated pearl diamond bracelet, all by Jaipur Gems.

ELLE: What genre do you hope to explore in films in the future and why?

SK: I want to dabble in every genre possible as an actor. The most exciting thing for me is to star in various roles to experience every emotion the character feels while also living out the story on screen. For any actor, there’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of performing. As an audience member, I love watching thrillers. I enjoy them immensely and would love an opportunity to work on something I get goosebumps watching as an audience member. It would be a dream come true, so fingers crossed!

On Shanaya Kapoor: Acro organza gathered gown with bow detail by Aisha Rao. Azure pearl diamond earrings, pristine diamond bracelet and elated pearl diamond bracelet, all by Jaipur Gems.

ELLE: How do you prioritise self-care and mental health while making a mark for yourself?

SK: I think it’s important in any career, not just in our industry, to sometimes just take some time to yourself and reflect, whether it’s writing your emotions down or speaking to your loved ones, your friends, your family, your therapist, anyone. I try not to fill up my day with a hundred things. I ensure that I sit for fifteen minutes with myself every day, with nothing happening, just reflecting. That really helps my mental well-being, and that is the best self-care you can possibly do for yourself.

On Shanaya Kapoor: Enchante midriff cutout gathered gown by Aisha Rao. Zuhaira diamond earrings, jardin au eden diamond ring and exalted flower diamond bracelet, all by Jaipur Gems.

ELLE: What’s the best piece of advice a family member has given you about navigating the highs and lows of the industry?

SK: I’ve seen the highs and the lows of this industry firsthand, and my family has always told me one thing: to be sincere, have an honest heart, and keep that innocence in your work. Even if you’re going through that high, don’t let it get to your head.

Shanaya Kapoor
On Shanaya Kapoor: Aurora sequin tulle bodice with twist detail waist gown by AISHA RAO. Vintage pearl hoops by Viange. Croissant mixed metal ring and amore love ring, both by STUDIO VIANGE. Citrine heart shaped eternity ring by Viange Fine Jewels. Bing Pumps 65 by Jimmy Choo.

ELLE: Lastly, what’s on your bucket list that you hope to achieve in the next five years?

SK: I have many dreams I want to fulfil, but I’m just making the most of each moment. I used to make many plans, but I realised that the universe has different plans and will figure things out for you. So, I don’t keep plans in my head anymore. I just keep my head down and work hard. That’s what’s in my control. I don’t have a bucket list at the moment. I want to do a lot of films and be the best I can be as an artist.

On Shanaya Kapoor: Seed dress by SONAM KHETAN. Viange hoop earrings by STUDIO VIANGE.

ELLE India Editor: Ainee Nizami Ahmedi; Photographer: Vikas Gotra; Videographer: Akshay Pawar; Fashion Assistant: Komal Shetty; Hair: Aanchal A Morwani; Makeup: Riddhima Sharma; Bookings Coordinator: Anushka Patil; Assisted by: Aaryaa Chhabria (styling), Khushi Nagpal (bookings); Artist’s PR Agency: Hype PR; Production: CutLoose Productions; Videographer: Akshay Pawar

- Fashion Writer

More From

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content