“I was never ever comfortable with being myself because I thought that I was boring and had no individuality whatsoever,” says Sherlyn Chopra, India’s Playboy model, in an exclusive interview with Team MissMalini.
Listen in to Sherlyn talk about her early years, running away from home and indulging men for their money:
Team MM: Tell us about the start of your Bollywood journey.
Sherlyn: I would have to go back to 2006. My Bollywood journey started with immense and intense mediocrity. At the time, I wanted to keep myself busy with work, work and more work; to be able to escape the excess baggage that comes from being a part of a dysfunctional family. I didn’t know myself at the time. I just wanted to be in somebody else’s shoes all the time. I was never ever comfortable with being myself because I thought that I was boring and had no individuality whatsoever. And so, I guess I was lost. I fell for the wrong men – mostly sexists. So you can imagine my frame of mind.
From the time I left home (when I was sixteen) till recently when I discovered who I am, the journey was very very emotionally disturbing. But I’m glad that I experienced the emotions that I did because today I value excellence much more than anything else. I value clarity. I value honesty, straightforwardness, individuality…! And so there are no regrets. I guess the lessons that remain engraved on the mind are those that are learned the hard way. And I’m very, very glad that I learned a whole lot of lessons the hard way!
Team MM: Why did you leave home at the young age of sixteen?
Sherlyn: I was born and brought up in Hyderabad. My father was a Christian and my mother, an orthodox Muslim. I guess now she is more of a Christian, as of today. She goes to the Church regularly and believes in the Almighty.
My dad and mom would always fight and abuse each other. One day when I could not deal with their emotional and physical abuse, I packed my bags and left home and went to my daddy’s sister’s place. She then put me into a girl’s hostel and for 3-4 years, I lived in the hostel and also studied college.
My parents were never happy with my decision to lead life on my terms because I was too young at the time and I wasn’t ready to face the world. I was very emotional and highly vulnerable. But then, it was the right thing which I did for myself. At the time, it was better for me to be alone than to be with adults who just didn’t know how to be adults, especially in front of children.
Team MM: In your early days, you slept with men for money. Why?
Sherlyn: It started off as a means to raise enough money for my college fee, my tuition fee. And gradually, it became my lifestyle. Because it was an easy access for money, I guess I didn’t have a problem with it. I would do my work and meet people who would gladly pay me for my company. That became a routine for a couple of years. And I was proud of being able to make enough money for myself without having to depend on mummy or daddy or any of my relatives. It feels great to be independent. But I didn’t know that being independent at the cost of having internal conflicts, day in and day out, is not truly being independent.
Recently, upon my return from Los Angeles, I realized that if I can be bold and brave by creating history in the form of having become the first Indian to have shot for Playboy, then, I should also try to take the ownership for my life and be at complete ease and peace with myself.
And I guess, when one is at peace, it is then that one can truly call themselves, powerful. I have recently discovered that where there is peace, there exists power. And then began my soul-searching experience which was tough, very tough. I had to look at the demons in my life, eye-to-eye. I had to accept the truth as it was and not try to justify the lack of universal truths in life, which basically revolve around love, peace, harmony, serenity, calmness.
I’m glad that through the journey of discovering myself and connecting to my innermost core, I managed to put a closure to all the lies and secrets in my life.
Pix: Khyati Gandhi for MissMalini