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Mrunal Thakur on beauty and individuality

'Pretending to be someone else is very exhausting... it’s a facade that doesn’t last long’
Mrunal Thakur.
Mrunal Thakur.
The Telegraph picture

Priyanka Roy    |   Published 19.01.22, 12:27 AM

Actor Mrunal Thakur is the face of NAIR India, the popular hair remover, wax and depilatory brand which has a presence in 50 countries and has recently expanded its footprint in India.The Telegraph caught up with Mrunal for a chat on beauty and individuality, passion and style.
Brand NAIR emphasises on living on one’s own terms, confidence and self-love. How far has that defined the life and career that you have had so far?
When NAIR approached me to be the face of their brand, I immediately said ‘yes’ because the brand’s vibe is about living on one’s terms, which is pretty much what I believe in. I love people who are self made, who live on their own terms... and who also encourage others, particularly women, to live their lives the way they want to.

I resonated with that. If I don’t connect with a brand, I don’t think my audience will be able to. Also, I connect with the brand because I grew up having facial hair for which I was teased a lot. I am so happy that NAIR is launching in India, especially for girls who feel under-confident . Life is not just about living, it’s about living freely. We often forget that we need to look beautiful for ourselves, and not for others. We need to stop seeking validation from others, and that is something that I realised a long, long time ago. Through this brand, I think I will be able to reach out to all those girls who sometimes feel under-confident and are not able to live their lives freely.

Was not seeking validation from others a gradual process for you or did an incident or an epiphanic moment bring it on?
Growing up, I felt I needed to look a certain way and be beautiful in order to fit into society. But then I asked myself, ‘What does beautiful mean?’ At that time, the trend was to have thin eyebrows. I had bushy eyebrows and then I came across an article of some women who had eyebrows like mine. And I asked myself, ‘Why should I not keep it like this?’ People called me caterpillar and so many other things, and today, look it’s a trend! (Laughs) Trends come and go, but what is important is you believing that you are unique. We always tend to believe that the grass is greener on the other side, but just look at the mirror and see how beautiful you are and no one will ever be able to replicate you. Rather than comparing and trying to look like someone else, how about taking care of things that we already have?

You always come across as someone who has a strong sense of self. But you are also in a business which expects female actors to adhere to certain standards of beauty, many of which are unrealistic. How do you maintain a balance between the two?
This is a great question, and my only answer is that the moment you stop seeking validation from people, you will never lose your individuality.


I always dress up for myself. I remember attending events dressed in a certain way because that was the trend of the time or because certain people thought that it was necessary for me to look sexy and not cute... trust me, through the entire event, I felt like I was dying and attending a funeral (smiles). That day onwards, I promised myself that I would dress the way I wanted to and that I would seek style inspiration from those I adore the most, rather than try and look like someone else who is completely different from me. Pretending to be someone else is very exhausting... it’s a facade that doesn’t last long.

I love doing hair, I love doing make-up, I love getting dressed up and I love the profession I am in... and I am happy because I am now in a space where I only do the things I love. If I am uncomfortable in something, I just don’t wear it. Why torture myself?

How would you describe your style?
I have a very Indian body, a pear-shaped body, and I like wearing Indian outfits, especially saris. I feel like I am made for saris. I like experimenting with colours... neon green is my favourite. I like to add colour to my eyes, I like blue mascara. I love winged eye make-up and centre-parted hair. I am an old soul and I like to do a fusion of everything (smiles). For example, I like pairing a lehnga with sneakers.

Even if I follow trends, I bring in my sense of individuality and only pick up things that I really resonate with. I always try and bring in an Indian touch. Like if I wear pants and a crop sweater, I wear a bindi. My Indian-ness is something no one can take away from me.

Whose style do you admire the most?
I love Zendaya’s style. I like how she sometimes sports box braids to represent her culture. She has this very unique sense of style and she experiments with her looks. I have lately been obsessed with Zendaya! (Laughs)

You are blessed with gorgeous skin. How do you take care of it?
The amount of make-up that we have to put on for work, my skin tends to get very dry. I moisturise my face a lot. I try out natural face packs, be it turmeric or curd or tomatoes.
The biggest problem with most of us is that we don’t drink enough water, we don’t take enough Vitamin-C. How do we expect our skin to glow if we don’t take good care of it? My advice would be to wear make-up only when you really need to. When you do, be sure you remove it completely before you go to bed.

Since we are talking about individuality and a sense of identity, how important is social media to you, given that it’s become such an indelible part of being a public person?
I end up putting up so much content on social media that I have to sometimes stop myself saying, ‘Bas, overdose ho jayega!’ I do a lot of things on a daily basis... I love to travel, go on road trips, I like experimenting with food, I love photoshoots and trying out different looks... and I love taking pictures! (Laughs) Whenever I meet a friend, I just open my phone gallery and show them my pictures... it gives me so much joy! (Laughs)

So yes, I don’t have that pressure. In fact, I have to think of how much to upload because I tend to go overboard. I need to stop myself! I love being in front of the camera. I was quite unwell during a recent shoot, but I just felt so alive whenever I was in front of the camera. The camera is like my ventilator.

Over the last two years, even with the pandemic in full force, you have been consistent with your releases, including big projects like Toofaan and Dhamaka. How are you picking your parts?
I simply pick parts that I haven’t done before. After Love Sonia (Mrunal’s debut film, co-starring an ensemble including Demi Moore), I got similar roles. I chose not to do them because in India, we get stereotyped very quickly. From the beginning, my aim was to be a versatile actor. So I make sure I pick parts that don’t allow anyone to put me in a bracket.

I know you are big on travel. What is it about travel that you love the most?
I love road trips! I just went for one to Himachal Pradesh. I am not a planner... I go with the flow. When you plan things, you get restricted. During this road trip, we would just make stops in the middle of nowhere. There was this place with a lovely river and where it was some -14°C and I just dipped my feet into the water. I like to keep it spontaneous. Planning takes away the joy that you experience with the smaller things in life.

Which celebrity’s style do you find the most relatable?

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