Jawaani Jaaneman actress Alaya F has a certain sweet charm about her. Pooja Bedi’s daughter and Kabir and Protima Bedi’s granddaughter is a lot of effortless fun on her Instagram feed. The young actress took a few questions from t2 on the sidelines of Vogue Beauty Festival. The second edition of the Vogue Beauty Festival, a four-day virtual celebration of the bright world of beauty, was centred around self-care and sustainability and was held between July 29 and August 1 on Vogue India’s digital and social platforms. The line-up encompassed IG Lives, contests, masterclasses, DIY sessions in the spheres of wellness, fitness, pregnancy, beauty, health and nutrition and make-up. Excerpts from the chat with Alaya.
‘Beauty’ and ‘beautiful’ are two very different things. What is your idea of beauty and being beautiful?
For me, personally, beauty is outward. It’s everything that you put on yourself or the things that you do superficially, which isn’t a bad thing, I feel that gets a bad reputation, but it shouldn’t because everyone is entitled to do whatever they want in terms of beauty. I feel like being beautiful is what actually makes all that outward beauty shine. Beautiful always supersedes beauty, for me. You can have the best clothes on, best make-up on and the best jewellery on, but if you aren’t feeling happy that day, if you aren’t feeling confident, it won’t shine.
When do you feel most beautiful?
It took me a long time to actually figure out what a lot of this meant and on my path to self-love, I discovered that I truly feel my most beautiful when I’m happy and surrounded by people who make me feel at home and comfortable. Also when I’m feeling powerful, in the sense that when I’m feeling strong and confident, when I feel like I’m doing things that I feel proud of… those are the moments when I feel extremely beautiful because it gives me a great sense of self.
Growing up, what kind of beauty myths did you see around yourself?
There are so many. There were times when I would wake up with a big pimple, and I would try every remedy possible to get rid of it, like putting toothpaste on it, trying to pop it, one thing after another, doing anything that anyone would tell me. That is something that definitely made me realise how a lot of it probably isn’t good for you and you shouldn’t be doing it to yourself or your skin. Also, the fact that I thought if someone who had great skin was using certain products and if I use the same products, my skin would look the same. That was so untrue because every skin type is so different. The same applies for make-up.
You come from a family of strong women. What are your memories and impressions of your grandmother (Protima Bedi) who was such a path-breaker, shattering stereotypes? Your mom (Pooja Bedi) too set her own rules...
My grandmother passed away when I was super young, so I don’t have many first-hand memories, but what I do have are the stories everyone tells me about her. Where I’d be at the most random places and people would come up to me tell me about my grandmother, or even just mention my mother in an amazing way, and I feel like that’s what beauty is, to be able to just leave that impression on someone, that is more a moment in time than the way someone looks. My grandmother also had some amazing views on beauty and so does my mother. Coming from a line of very strong, powerful, independent, path-breaking women, has always led me to question a lot of things and not look at things in a very straightforward way.
What are the most beautiful memories of your growing-up years?
There were so many, it’s a hard one to pick. I was always up to doing something or the other, like I was always trying to keep myself entertained in a billion ways, and I was always bossing people around, and everyone was very sweetly complying. All the wonderful times, family holidays. My family is very multicultural, we used to celebrate every festival, no matter which ritual, religion it belonged to, we just celebrated everything from Holi to Id to Diwali to Christmas. I remember loving that because there were so many fun things that kept happening in the year because when you are in India, there is no shortage of wonderful happy festivals. That is quite a wonderful memory that went on forever and still happens.
Did you watch Hindi films while growing up? Who did you find the most beautiful?
I did watch a lot of Hindi films, I watched a lot of films in general. I used to be a big Bollywood buff and in the middle I sort of drifted away from Bollywood. Now I’m totally in Bollywood. My favourite has been Priyanka Chopra, since I was super young. I always found her to be the most beautiful and the most amazing. Now when she is absolutely doing so fabulously, not only in India, but world over, I can now see why I found her to be the most beautiful back then and why I still do because she does everything with so much confidence and grace.
Tell us about your relationship with your make-up kit over the years…
I really do enjoy make-up, doesn’t mean I’ve always been very good at it. I’ve gone through so many different phases and stages of make-up. I’ve made some very bad make-up choices in the past that I thought were cool at the moment that now I look back and laugh at. I think that’s the beauty of it, as long as you’re having fun with it in the moment and when you look back at it even if you find it funny, you just sort of laugh at it and it’s a happy memory, that’s what make-up has been for me.
Now my look is a lot more natural and I feel like I won’t look back at this and cringe. But, I really enjoy doing my make-up. I think it’s a very peaceful time, when I do get the time I just sit down and enjoy doing it, otherwise it’s a very quick and on-the-go thing for me, which makes me feel super fresh and ready to take on the day. There are some times when I feel just super tired, demotivated, and then the first thing I do is that I go and take a shower, I give my hair a nice blow-dry and I put on some basic make-up and I automatically feel better. I feel like I’m ready to do more and am ready to take on the day. So, I think make-up is a wonderful tool if used well.
I just did a wonderful video for the Vogue Beauty Festival 2021 where I highlighted a few of the make-up hacks that I’ve picked up while being in the industry. I feel like a lot of my make-up learning has come from watching so many people do my make-up. I tried to put in as many tips and tricks as I could, into the video. So, yes I can do my make-up most days at least.
What is your skincare routine like?
My skincare routine is actually very calm on my skin. I exfoliate once a week or once in two weeks, depending on how regular I’m being, like using a hydrating face mask from time to time. Apart from that, I like using a vitamin E or C moisturiser on my face, definitely sunblock when I go out, or anything with SPF is a must when I step out. I put raw aloe vera on my face, which is nice and cool. I bought a little mini fridge so that I can keep all my make-up products nice and cool. I started using a Gua sha stone and it has actually really helped me with my puffiness. I make sure to wash my face every night and every morning and maybe sometimes in the middle of the day if I’ve had a particularly hectic day. I definitely think that it’s important to keep your skin make-up free at the end of the day. I no longer go to sleep with make-up on my face ever. I ice my face once in a while, I also take a nice steam every once in a while.
What would you tell all the girls about loving themselves?
I’ll tell you what worked for me, think about yourself as your best friend, you wouldn’t want someone to talk badly to your best friend, or hurt your best friend, and you won’t definitely talk badly to your best friend, so treat yourself that same way. Treat yourself like you are someone whom you dearly love. It’ll change your whole approach. We sometimes say such bad things about our bodies that we would never in a million years say to the people we love and the second you start thinking of yourself as someone you really truly care about and want to protect, your relationship with your body completely changes, and also your relationship with your mind. Build a great friendship and equation with yourself and that is a full-proof way of absolutely loving yourself consistently, because you are going to be with yourself forever and ever. Now if I put on weight, I say ‘oh no what have we done, let’s fix this and come let’s go to the gym’. It’s more about solutions than problems.
My favourite eye make-up look: Depends on my mood. Usually I like something light and subtle. If I’m feeling particularly dramatic, I do like a smokey eye, or dramatic lashes as I have really long lashes so it’s always fun to play around
Matte lips or glossy lips: I really love glossy lips
A feature on my face I love the most: My eyes. I feel it’s especially useful in the career I’m in, where your eyes have to be able to speak