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That long climb to stardom

Diana Hayden may have taken time to apply for Bollywood but the former Miss World doesn't take no for an answer

Photo: R.V. Moorthy.

Diana Hayden: `I have my feet firmly on the ground.'

HER CHARM arrests you without notice; her voice seizes you on the spot but it's Diana Hayden's late arrival on the model route to Bollywood that makes the pen curious for the present. "I don't take no for an answer. I didn't want to be another tale in the models are wooden story. Films were always an option after completing my assignments as Miss World. And it is not that I didn't get offers after winning the crown in 1997. But I wanted to be patient and learn acting before taking on the assignments. For three years I was in London learning acting, doing plays, and acting in television series. When I realised I can take on the Bollywood challenge, I accepted a cameo in Tehzeeb," says Diana with confidence oozing out as her middle name.

Latest role

Taking measured steps, her latest act, Ab... Bas where she plays a strong woman who walks out of a violent marriage and loosely inspired by what Jennifer Lopez did in Enough gives her an opportunity to establish herself as an actress.

However, her Hindi diction leaves much to be desired something which affects her expressions as well. "Yes, I have difficulty with Hindi but I am improving. I am not in a hurry.

Even I didn't sign many advertisement films after winning the crown. I just opted for L'Oreal because I felt what they claim is worth it. Though at times I feel I should have done more promotions." Diana admires Smita Patil and Tabu and feels that Bollywood is growing and now has space for well etched characters for female actors.

No perfect childhood

Coming from a middle class Anglo-Indian family of Secunderabad, Diana has fought her way to fame. "I didn't have a perfect childhood. My parents were not on talking terms. Later they split up. I started looking after my brother at the age of 14. That I was a tomboy by nature helped. I used to do things which were not expected of girls. However, I was a decent student with a voracious appetite for reading."

Later she started her own celebrity management company, which managed the careers of singers like Mehnaz and Anaida.

"Situations made me stronger. I have my feet firmly on the ground. Over the years I started understanding things in perspective like my parents were two individuals who have the right to walk out of an ungainly relationship."

ANUJ KUMAR

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