Her fitTox Tea & Love for Music
A dreamer, a doer and a thinker, she sees possibility everywhere! Sophie Choudry is a singer, a performer, an actor and an entrepreneur. She stands out in the Film Industry with her multi-talented personality. Having no background in Bollywood and India both, all she had was a business background back in London. Sophie began her career with MTV India- she juggled roles as a video jockey, occasional model and television presenter. Not to miss that she is a family oriented girl and a complete romance lover!
Tell us more about Sophie- the entrepreneur and your tea brand. How did it all begin?
The story of my tea brand is actually very interesting. Gaurav Kumar and Hansika Chandrimani came to metme when they were planning to launch detox tea. I knew both of them before and I had some digital associations with them. They told me that they did not have a final product and had not named it but all they wanted was me to be the face of it! I loved the idea because I have always believed in fitness, wellness and health and I thought that it was a great proposal, considering my family is originally from the food business back in UK. We had factories and dealt in the food business and the idea clicked for me. I called them back and asked them if it was possible for me to be more than just a face for the product- can we become partners-I asked them and that is how the journey began! We came up with the name together and decided the packaging. It all became a very exciting journey which started with fitTOX ad and because of the success of fitTOX we moved on to daily brew in 2018 which is an everyday tea and it is been a real adventure.
Are you a fitness freak yourself? Do you experiment in the kitchen with these natural ingredients (like the ones in your tea)?
I am a fitness freak in the gym. I am a fitness freak in terms of what I like to put into my mouth, what I eat, but I do not think I am someone who is a fitness freak and is in the kitchen herself! I like to know what is going into my food and I am very particular about it. I am someone who likes to watch Masterchef rather than someone who cooks.
Any unusual or interesting experiences that you had in business vis-a-vis acting and singing…
It is hard to compare business and acting-singing.When we first moved from London to India we forcibly made my mother my manager. Incidentally she comes from a business background and has never asked someone for money. Back in our business in UK, it was always contractual dealing and the money was always transferred in bank account. Here in India, 10-12 years back there was a common practice of a verbal deal and money would be sent. We sign up to do a show and the rule goes that the payment is always in advance (before you go on stage). The story I am narrating is of one of my first shows. My mother was so naïve that she did not know how to ask the dealing person to hand over the cheque. I went on stage, was doing my gig and my mother was trying to get the attention of the event people somehow. She felt so awkward! When I came off the stage I could not find the event guy. I actually ended up doing the show for free! Ever since I have a formal contract- initially it was half page and it is now five pages! I guess somehow the business accruements come in handy with the singing contracts.
How will you differentiate Sophie in reel-life and real life?
Sophie in reel-life and real life is incredibly different. My reel life image is about being glamorous. For some reason people think I am a party girl, the image of being sexy, which is great. The real Sophie is a complete home buddy, somebody who loves to chill with her family, hangout with her dog (I love to take my dog for walks), I watch a lot of web-series, Netflix and lot of Masterchef Australia. I am really family orientated and am a romantic person. I believe in the old world romance and similar things. I am not like the modern day party girl, I barely drink so I am completely opposite of what people think I am.
Describe yourself as a child and your relations with your family? What did you aspire to become when you were a child?
I was a real ‘goody two-shoes’, a real teacher’s pet, I loved going to school, loved being the best in school, loved studying and I used to make my own time-tables during exams and stick to them, color codes and things. I was that annoying kid who is good at everything and was just happy and love to do everything. I used to study so much that my mom was the one to say ‘aajbunk maar lete hai’ (bunk from school today), should I give you a sick note and I was like no, I love going to school. I had a good relationship with my mother, brother and grandmother (naani). We are a small family but very close and always had dogs as we grew up. London gave me the opportunity of an amazing childhood, lot of outdoor activities, and exposure to theater and music from a very young age. Two days after I was born, my grandma had a dream that she saw my face on record covers and she told my mom that this one is going to be a singer. During my school days I started discovering my singing talent, skill for playing piano and more such things. When I was a child I aspired to become a singer and I am really lucky that I am one.
When you entered Bollywood, how did you deal with different kinds of comments related to your curvy body?
When I entered Bollywood the general image of how I looked was positive, I was considered very sexy yet different and glamorous. People in general were quite positive. I felt it more when I joined MTV as a video jockey, because video jockeys were notorious, even sexier, even skinner and when I moved to Bombay, I found everybody’s body type quite different to mine. I was curvier not skinny or straight or flat. I had the curves and I always thought positive about them. Initially when I moved here I did find little difficult to adjust and there were some sort of comments but I eventually managed to deal with it and realized that you have to accept your body type, whatever it is. I have always believed in being fit and toned. I have never believed in being skinny and no matter how much I work out, I will never be a stick and that’s fine.
Out of a string of friends that you have in Bollywood, who is your favourite and why?
I am complete outsider. Neither am I from the entertainment industry nor from India. It was never easy making friends here but I am lucky, I have a few really good ones. Everybody knows Manish Malhotra is a very dear friend of mine. He is really inspirational, really fun and a really good friend who is always there for you. I have my dear friend Tanuj Garg, the producer (man behind Tumhari Sulu, Cheat India), he is really fun and honest. We have a very good relationship. Also, there are girls I am really fond of, Malliaka Arora, Amrita Arora, Neha Dhupia, Soha Ali Khan and Dia Mirza, are my neighbors. We are all close but we are not in each other’s pocket all the time nor are we on the phone all the time. Whenever we meet we are just good and close friends. It is really hard to have really close friends here especially when you have not grown up here. My close friends are probably abroad.
Have you ever thought of being a lead actor in a Karan Johar/Yash Raj production’s romantic film? Which film do you wish to do and with which actor?
I think every single girl has dreamt of being in a Karan Johar/Yash Raj’s romantic movie. When you grow up and you’re a ‘filmy child’, you dream of that. When I initially moved to India, even though I wanted to pursue singing more than acting, off course if someone would have cast me in a Dharma or Yash Raj movie, it would have been a dream come true! There are so many great characters and so many great movies, it is really hard to choose. Shah Rukh Khan is the king of romance and who would not want to work with him. Everyone around me knows I love Salman, my first crush and everlasting crush. I think Ranveer Singh would be amazing to work with, although he has done more energy films and more period, romantic films. Ranbir Kapoor is a great actor and too intense, he is at another level altogether. I think I realized this very quickly that I am not a typical Yash Raj, Dharma productions romantic heroine. Even ten years ago I was very different, very spunky, quite strong, quite modern, even though I have my values intact and someone who is like ‘proud to be a woman’, the role that works for me was much more like ‘Pyaar ke Side Effects’ rather than a typical romantic ones. But yes these are dream come true opportunities.
When you did “ek pardesi” and “mera babu chain chabeela” did you think it would be a great hit? Your best hit so far (according to you) is…
I had faith in both the songs but I never thought that ‘ek parsedi’ would have gone so huge. I perform it everywhere till date. It really did turn my life around and I am very grateful for that. The irony is that ‘mere babu chain chabeela’ was popular than but not as good as ‘ek pardesi’ but today it has become more popular, where ever I go, every day I get messages of appreciation for both the songs.
Which one is your personal favourite song?
It’s really tough to decide, I love both the songs. But ya‘ek pardesi’ definitely has a special place in my heart.
Since you’re quite active on social media. Which social media platform is your personal favorite and why?
Instagram is great fun, you keep in touch with everybody, even when you cannot meet them. Through pictures you can know what they are doing, where they are going, you have a fair idea of what is happening in everyone’s life and it is a good way to get to know people and what work they are doing as well. Pictures make memories, you know. But I also love Twitter because I am somebody who has opinions and I love to share my opinions. I love to see what is happening in the world and comment on it sometimes. I like both of these.
We have seen you fighting back- whether they are haters or trolls. How do you deal with internet trolling?
I am very lucky, there are not many trolls… I do not have to deal with a lot of them. It’s more if I make a political statement and then there are definitely the trolls and it’s just not with me it is with everybody. You learn to ignore a lot of it because there is a lot of hate out there. I am fortunate that I have more love than hate, so I just look at the positive. When somebody needs to be put in that place I do that. When someone is worth ignoring then I ignore it, trying not to let them play with my head.
You’re a singer/ performer, what do you have to say about the music evolution in Bollywood, also your views in fusion like Punjabi music and Hindi music?
I love Punjabi music and I am a Punjabi. I love how Punjabi pop has come to the forefront and become incredibly popular. I love Hindi movie songs but I am someone who has believed in a non-film scene and I am happy that it is becoming slowly strong again. It is not easy because the movie songs have started sounding like pop song and the way they are promoted and shot, they are almost like music videos. So it is not easy for non-film people to make an impact. But I am happy to see that it is getting the place again. It may never be as big as it was. I remember the time when pop songs were bigger than film songs. That is why people like me and many other artists, we are so blessed, we are still popular because of that era.
We have seen you exercising many times in your social media posts, what is your fitness regime?
My fitness regime is decided by the amazing Yasmin Karachiwala. I pretty much indulge in pilates and cardio. I have a lot of injuries in the past few years through yoga and have slip discs. So pilates is my savior and I swear by it and some cardio. I dance a lot as well.
What was the most fascinating moment of Priyanka- Nick and Deepika-Ranveer wedding according to you?
The most exciting moment I would rather say, was seeing Priyanka and Deepika so happy. Every girl yearns for somebody who they can call their partners. Especially girls who are self-made, independent and successful, it is not easy the right partner. So I am thrilled for both of the girls they look happy, they look settled and they look even more confident than they were before. You just get that edge when you find the right partner and it was lovely to share and celebrate that moment.
Almost all Bollywood divas are hitched, do you have any plans of getting married?
Yes I definitely believe in marriage but I think you need to find the right person to marry.
Things that annoy you in a person…
Somebody who is confident, a go-getter and who has goals. Success may come and go but you need to have that attitude you can battle anything and that is what I would want in my man, because I am self-made to an extent even though I come from a business family. In my field I am completely self-made without any help from anybody. So I want somebody who can respect that and appreciate that in me and do not want to change me but at the same time give me that security and ability that I would want in life.same time give me that security and ability that I would want in life.
Things that annoy you in a man and is deal breaker in a relationship…
Definitely lies and disloyalty. The designer whose style and outfits you love the most? I simply adore Manish Malhotra I like his work too. He always teases me ‘lehenga tayar hai bas ldke kaintezaar hai’ (bridal dress is ready, waiting for the guy).
Food you love to eat
I am a huge foodie. I love Japanese food, Thai food and ofcourse ‘ghar ka khana’ (homemade food).
Three things you can’t live without
My mom, my dog Tia (who is my bacha) and my voice.
How do you tackle the routine stress of life and work
My little Tia has eliminated all the stress in my life. There is no time for it, anytime I am off and I am with her I do not think about the stress because you are just focused on this little one. She loves me unconditionally, just wants to play and makes me smile, that is how I get rid of stress. Other than that I love to travel and a great massage helps too.
One Bollywood actor you want to date
That is really difficult because I never believe in dating actors, they are all my friends, so I prefer not to date them. But there are cute guys out there, Vicky Kaushalis kind of cute.
The best actor-male (according to you) in Bollywood?
Amitabh Bachchan is the legend and nothing compares to him but there is the amazing Ranbir Kapoor who can do anything. Ranveer Singh who just got his own style and he is just riding a wave like no other. Then there is Ayushmaan Khurana, Vicky Kaushal, Rajkumar Rao and there are so many.
The best couple in Bollywood…
Ranveer and Deepika, have you seen them, they are just glowing, smiling, happy and so cute. I just love them.
Favourite Bollywood film and song that you can’t get over of…
Favorite Bollywood movie is ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayege’ because I saw it at that sort of age where romance was a big deal and plus I am a London girl. Song that you cannot get over, you cannot ask a singer to pick one, it is just not possible.
What is your personal favorite style, pretty princess/rebel chic/hot as hell?
My personal favorite style does not really fit into these categories, it is really an extension of my personality and how I am feeling. I am glamorous at times, I love to be hot as hell and sexy the other times. Then there are times when I love to be feminine and girly as well. I am a complete denim and t-shirt girl as well, which is most of the times. It is really about my mood and how I am feeling.
Whom would you like to get stranded with on a deserted island?
It would be Salman Khan because he is really funny and he is my first crush. Also, Aamir Khan said on ‘Koffee with Karan’ “bhai kabhi doobta nhi” so I know, we will be safe.
Who is your inspiration and why?
Jennifer Lopez because she keeps reinventing herself, she is in early 40’s and looks incredible and fit. I love her as a singer performer. She is an incredible stage performer because I have seen her live and she is magical. She can be a great judge, super actress and a great singer performer. She is an all-rounder.
What is that one thing that people do not know about you…
I am a graduate from London school of Economics and I have a degree in Politics and French. I speak pretty much fluent French. I have never dated a Bollywood actor.
Describe yourself in three words…
Honest, loyal and insanely hardworking
Things you love and hate about yourself…
I love my honesty and I hate that I am too honest. I love that I work really hard and I am a perfectionist and I also hate that I am perfectionist. I love that I am sincere in whatever I do, I am sincere in my relationships, friendships and my work.
The best moment of your life..
My niece being born was an amazing moment and when ‘ek pardesi’ was number one everywhere. David Dhawan called me for a movie so it was like a dream come true.
Born and brought up overseas, what do you love about India the most..
I love the fact that no two places are the same, the incredible heritage, culture, every state you go to is different, and the food, the landscape and people are so great and welcoming to me and my family. India is very special to me.
What is love for you…
Love cannot be define like that, it is respect, it is a connection, it is understanding, it is passion, it is so many things rolled into one.
Your interests and hobbies besides acting, singing…
I love web series, reading, travelling, seeing new places and new things.
Where do you want to see yourself in future…
I write this down on January 1 every year and always hope the New Year gives me better opportunities and may be this year I find the love of my life! More importantly, I just like to see myself happy and positive in future.