Every person comes into the fashion and entertainment industry with a dream of achieving heights in their career. Likewise, Zeenat also came into the industry to follow her dreams. Zeenat Kapadia was doing good as a banker but was not happy. She hails from the city of dreams, Mumbai. Zeenat always manifested her dreams of doing something she loved. So, she switched from her secure job to a career path that is quite unconventional. But, her love and dedication towards modeling and acting helped her achieve what she always wanted. So without wasting a minute, let us jump onto what Zeenat had shared with us about her experiences till now.
Belonging to a conservative family, Zeenat’s family never considered her desire to pursue her dreams. Before, getting into the industry she was in the corporate world. Also, her family was very happy but she was not. Zeenat was maintaining her social media profile, regularly. So, one fine day while she was at the office, she received a call for a show as the main actress had backed out. Earlier, she thought it was a scam but eventually, she went as she could not say no.
“I had been trying for this however, I never got the permission or opportunity to move out so I couldn’t do it. So, when I went for the shoot, at the end of the day there was a creative director, who walked towards me and started appreciating. I was not at all nervous which made me pretty surprised. So, that’s where he asked me to sent my profile and pictures. But when I told him that this is my first shoot, it surprised him.
After this, Zeenat realized that she should give a try to modeling and acting. So, when she went back from the shoot, she told her family. As she belonged to a middle-class family, Zeenat had a set of responsibilities. But, somehow she managed to convince her family.
“It was a very filmy scene, I was like mujhe 6 mahine dedo (please give me six months). So I gave myself this time to see if I can survive here. Or, do I really want this or not. Also, I was prepared that if for 6 months I don’t get any work then my family should not suffer. So I did that. Fortunately, I got selected for theater play.”
Zeenat while talking about how she started, mentioned that not coming from a filmy background has its own advantages and disadvantages. But unfortunately, disadvantages are a little more. Zeenat says,
“For almost 8 months, I was meeting wrong people, I did not know kahan jana hai (where to go). You go to auditions but you don’t know if they are genuine or not. They just collect database and waste your time, energy, and money.”
Slowly and gradually when Zeenat understood how things work in the industry, she realized that networking with people is really important. Also, if you want to be part of huge projects then you have to groom yourself accordingly. She struggled and faced rejections and learned from her mistakes.
“I learnt survival actually and I realized that ki kahin pahauchne se zyada zaroori yeh hai ki aap jahan ho vahan aap survive kaise krte ho. ( I realized that it is more important to learn to survive where we actually are than to chase something and reach there.) You really need to have that survival instinct.”
Recently, Zeenat was featured on the Adcom magazine cover. For her after all those hard work, it was an amazing feeling. Also, a sign of efforts paying off.
“It was like a dream come true. While growing up somewhere or the other we have all imagined being our favourite actress and we being on that a magazine cover. So, for me it was kind of a living your dream and very motivating. That, yes I am on the right track and I can do better.”
Zeenat received major opportunities from the South Indian film industry which initially she did not explore. Because that industry was completely unknown to her. After some time she started exploring to find and try different things.
“I was getting offers but was rejecting it but then later on I decided to give it a try. And, I got a good response from the south.
While discussing, Zeenat revealed that she recently completed shooting for her Telugu film and a web series as a lead. But the release of the film is postponed due to the pandemic. Zeenat mentioned that Tollywood and Bollywood’s market is huge. There is a lot of opportunities for people who are ready to explore.
“But I would say that there is a difference in the work culture. So, initially, for the first schedule of my film, I was lost and I didn’t know how to handle it. Because, when you are in Bollywood it is like you know, this is the film, this is the character and this what you have to do it and there is no dominance as such. There is no hierarchy that you follow here.
Everyone is there, everyone is ready to contribute and people accept the creativity. But when it comes to south, there is a certain hierarchy that people follow. I kind of took some time to accept and understand it.”
When asked about the major difficulties she faced in the Tollywood industry, Zeenat expressed there was a language barrier affecting her acting.
Zeenat has done more commercial modeling and worked with casting directors. She has worked with the brands like Flipkart, Tata Tea, and many more. Being an amazing model and actress Zeenat has also done casting and explored anchoring. She has represented India as an anchor in American Shows. So, she feels that if a person can manage a part-time job with your work for financial stability, then it is well and good.
While discussing brands and advertisements, Zeenat told that she would never endorse unrealistic beauty standards. Many people are already battling identity issues due to unrealistic beauty standards. It leaves them with low self-esteem. Also, she feels now those standards are changing.
“I feel that advertisement is a very powerful tool and being an actor and a model, we do sell a lot of lies to entertain people. But as long it is making people laugh or they are happy it’s all positive. But when it comes to beauty standards it’s a crime. So, honestly, I do not believe unrealistic beauty standards. But, I also feel that right now the standards of beauty again have changed.
For example, in the modeling industry from the unconventional look of a model now, we have models with a very connectable face. Even in the film industry, you know people use to look for someone who is great looking and someone who is inspiring. But, now they have characters who are more connectable. So the standards of beauty now are changing.
In the end, Zeenat spoke about being confident and accepting who you are. Being a model, she is also part of a culture where people usually feel bad about themselves. Zeenat explained that knowing what you want in life and what you aspire to, would never kill your confidence. Otherwise, anything which will come your way will affect your confidence.
“If you know what you want in life, then you will become more confident. Otherwise, you will be impacted about every other person you see. People who would be more beautiful, handsome, talented, richer, and influential than you. And, if you will get into it, you will keep losing your confidence. Then you cannot survive here for sure. So you have to find your strength and be confident. “