By Anukshi Jayasinha
When Jacqueline Fernandez won the title of Miss Sri Lanka Universe in 2006, Sri Lankans across the island knew she would somehow bring fame and success to our tiny island.
Unlike former beauty queens who went on to win titles only to retire in obscurity a few years later, Fernandez, popularly known as Jackie, was driven enough to make it all the way to the glamorous Bollywood industry.
With her dazzling looks, thanks to a mixed Sri Lankan-Malaysian heritage, and exuberant personality, Jackie has already won the hearts of Bollywood fans both in Sri Lanka and India.
The only way I made it
“Dancing and acting is something I loved doing when I was a child, but I never thought it would become a reality,” she says, when asked about her transition from modelling to acting. “I would have to say competing in Miss Universe was what opened a lot of doors for me. I received a lot of offers to model in India after that.”
Following her participation in the global beauty pageant in Los Angeles back in 2006, Jackie’s rise to fame was instant. Before long, she was modelling for top Indian brands and working on breaking in to the highly competitive film industry in Mumbai, India.
“Being a Sri Lankan, I had to learn to speak Hindi – that was the only way I made it,” she adds. By 2009, she was already cast to play Jasmine in the Hindi movie Aladin, alongside India’s most venerated film actor, Ambitabh Bachchan, becoming the first Sri Lankan actress to star in a Bollywood film.
Her performance was able to win for her the Best Female Debut award at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards and the Lux Best Exciting New Face award at the 2010 Stardust Awards.
Since appearing in Aladin, Jackie has starred in four Bollywood films and is currently set to act in two more. Her breakthrough role was in the movie Murder 2, for which she was nominated for the Best Actress (Thriller/Action) at the 2012 Stardust Awards.
Jackie has also appeared on the covers of some of India’s top magazines, including the Indian renditions of Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Health, Grazia and Maxim, as well as in various commercials for top-notch Indian and Sri Lankan beauty, fashion and jewellery brands.
Beauty and brains
Jackie’s successful journey is perhaps attributed to her unique beauty-and-brains persona and cosmopolitan upbringing. Educated in Bahrain, Jackie also attended the University of Sydney in Australia before moving to Sri Lanka to work an anchorwoman and columnist. Though she humbly admits she still has to far to go, she also has ambitions to work in the local film industry.
“I have been in talks with a couple of Sri Lankan directors. I am just waiting for the right script,” she says. She has also been working to enhance the local fashion industry. “I think it is important to promote new talent here, and I have also been working closely with Brian (Kerkoven),” she adds.
In Sri Lanka to promote ‘Seda Kathandare’ a music video by Lux liquid body wash, Jackie says, “It was definitely one of the most exciting music videos I have ever been in.”
As Sanka Dineth, the vocalist who sings the accompanying song to the video, wishes Jackie the very best in reaching the very top in Bollywood, Jackie laughs and adds playfully, “Hollywood.” As a woman who has gone where no other Sri Lankan model has dared to go, this may very well be another dream-turned-reality for Jackie soon. Courtesy: Ceylon Today