Special interview: Sarah Jane Dias on her latest style show, fashion rules and struggles as an actor
We talk with the 38-year-old gorgeous actor Sarah Jane Dias about her latest style show, her fashion rules, her struggles as an actor and completing a decade in the film world.
Born and brought up in Muscat city, Oman, Sarah Jane Dias has always wanted to be in the show biz. “I’ve always wanted to be a performer and be in front of the camera and as a child and during my years in college, I have always performed on stage and hence it was a natural progression to be a VJ, a beauty queen and consequently an actor,” recalls the artiste candidly.
The glamorous actor and VJ, who began her career way back in 2004 after winning a talent hunt show, catapulted to fame after hosting the popular model hunt show Get Gorgeous. Soon after she got featured in a music video for Australian rock band INXS’ hit song Never Let You Go from their album Switch in 2006. The rollercoaster glamour ride continued with Sarah winning a title at a national beauty pageant in 2007, that paved her path to Tinseltown.
Sarah debuted in the Tamil film Theerada Vilaiyattu Pillai opposite Vishal Krishna in 2010 and a year later, entered Bollywood with the multi-starrer Hindi movie Game. During these 10 years, Sarah appeared in half-a-dozen films, some critically acclaimed, some commercially successful and a few web series, but the limelight, somehow, always eluded her. That changed this year with the release of the much-talked-about web series Tandav in January on Amazon Prime Video.
Despite the presence of heavyweight actors including Saif Ali Khan, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Dimple Kapadia, she held her own with her restrained performance as a young and ambitious politician, Ayesha Pratap Singh and her sophisticated sartorial style didn’t go unnoticed either.
But style is something that comes naturally to Sarah. A successful model and a seasoned TV host, Sarah, with her unique sense of fashion, has always managed to grab attention. And now, she is seen hosting the fourth season of Myntra Masterclass aired on the online fashion brand’s app.
“I haven’t done anything in the fashion space for a long time and I am really excited about this show. It’s a detailed chat show with a lot of fun elements and an ensemble guest list. We have some of the biggest stylists from Bollywood including Tanya Ghavri and Nandita Mahtani who have dressed everyone from Kareena Kapoor Khan to Vicky Kaushal. It doesn’t get bigger than this in the styling space. Targeted at young millennials who are extremely fashion and style-conscious, this chat show not only gives an in-depth knowledge about the process of styling but also teaches viewers about picking up clues and creating looks from the scratch,” enthuses the lithe actor.
You have always been associated with style since your Get Gorgeous days. Tell us about your personal fashion choices.
Fashion means expressing yourself. I follow comfort, not trends. And hence my choice of attire is usually comfort driven. I style myself depending on the occasion. I am personally a huge fan of athleisure wear and I love wearing a pair of stylish printed slacks with marble or tie-and-dye prints with a crop top hoodie or a pair of joggers and really nice chunky sneakers. Given the pandemic, it’s mostly about staying at home and hence for me, it’s shorts, T-shirts and cotton dresses that work the best.
What is style according to you?
Style is the ability to add your own unique take on any garment.
Your favourite stylist?
My favourite stylist is Gautam Kalra. He is always forward-thinking and has a vision that most stylists here lack. He has the capacity to look at clothes as if they are a part of the larger picture or story and is able to use the clothes to tell a beautiful tale. What I love most about his styling is that he has a way of giving any garment a life of its own.
What kind of accessories do you like?
Any favourite accessory and clothing brand or designer? I like basic, simple accessories. I don’t like heavy accessories. But if I am going to go slightly heavier then, I love brands like Dhora and Outhouse. My favourite clothing brands include H&M and Zara. My favourite designer is Balmain.
What should the styling be like for a millennial bride?
For a millennial bride, styling should be very uniquely individualistic. It needs to be an extension of her expression. If she wants to wear a headpiece she should wear that with all the confidence. If she wants to wear a sari with a shirt instead of a traditional blouse she should be able to do that.
You looked sophisticated and stylish in Tandav…
The look for Tandav was constructed by the stylist Subarna Chaudhuri who was in charge of the entire project. She did a fantastic job of curating each sari and ensemble to construct Ayesha’s sophisticated look, which complemented her character to the tee.
How was it working with Saif Ali Khan?
It was a great experience working with Saif. He is an incredibly generous human being, lovely to have on sets, a very patient and extremely funny person.
How has the journey been so far in the world of glamour and acting?
The journey as an actor and a VJ has been a wonderful and rewarding one. A lesson that I picked up is that if you really want to stand out in the crowd, be true to who you are and let your personality shine through.
How have you been coping with the pandemic?
I have coped with the pandemic by being as prepared as I can and I am definitely going to get vaccinated. I am staying fit mentally and physically as much as I can and that includes working out every day and meditating. Creating content also keeps me busy and I also spread awareness about physical and mental wellbeing on my social media as well. I love journaling as a hobby, and I have all the paraphernalia for it including stickers, stamps and coloured pens, I find this very relaxing.
What kind of fashionable men do you like and what qualities about a man put you off?
I like men who are well-put-together. As long as they are clean it’s okay for me. You can have a scruffy look but being clean is most important to me. I like men comfortable in their own skin and I don’t like flashy clothes. They should be simple and elegant and I love a man in a three-piece suit.
What puts me off with a man or any human being, in general, is immodesty.
Beauty, fashion, food
Skin and hair care regimen: A light foaming face wash and a very simple shampoo. I prefer Ayurvedic products and a simple multani mitti and rose water face pack works wonder for my skin.
Daily diet: Lots of fresh veggie juice and fruits. My favourite veggie smoothie is made with beetroot, carrot, cucumber, Indian gooseberry, ginger and coriander. I am a fish and rice person and prefer homemade food.
Comfort food: Burgers and fries
Your fitness regimen: It’s a mix of yoga, functional training and mobility training.
Five wardrobe essentials: A well-fitted pair of jeans, a nice black boyfriend jacket, a white shirt, a little black dress and a comfortable pair of sneakers.
Beauty essentials in your bag: Lip balm and mascara.
Fashion advice for our readers: Follow your unique style and not just trends and be comfortable.
Biggest fashion faux pas: Following styles that don’t really complement you
Best dressed Bollywood star: Priyanka Chopra.
Recently, Sarah appeared on an episode of Daniel Weber’s Instagram-based chat show Stories of Hope and opened up about mental health issues.
She said in the show, “I just felt it was essential to address mental health concerns. I have been through it. After tests and a thorough diagnosis, I was told I had clinical depression and anxiety. I realised talking about these issues does not make one weak. It’s empowering. There’s another aspect to this. Depression and anxiety could also be situational — like what people could be experiencing because of the unpredictable nature of COVID-19 and what life on the other side has in store. People have lost jobs, loved ones and more. In such times, it’s important to focus on both mental and physical health. It’s interconnected. Find ways and means to work out within the confines of your house, something like yoga and breathing exercises that can calm your mind. Also, it’s essential to find a therapist who is a certified professional and one who clicks with you."