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Andrea Kevichusa: ‘I’ve been fortunate enough to not have faced challenges pertaining to my ethnicity’

Andrea Kevichusa, Andrea Kevichusa Anek, Andrea Kevichusa interview
Written by bobby
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She may just be one film old, but Andrea Kevichusa has left an indelible mark on viewers with her strong performance in Anubhav Sinha’s action-thriller, Anek. Not just that; Andrea has also been a part of the beauty and fashion industry and has collaborated with brands like Manish Malhotra, Kay by Katrina, and even Sabyasachi — for whom she recently shot, too.

In an exclusive email interview, the model-actor spoke about her journey, how this career path “came as a complete surprise”, the experience of working with Ayushmann Khurrana in her debut film, the challenge of gaining muscle mass for her role, and coming across people who are ignorant of the different types of cultures in India. Edited excerpts below:

You started your career as a model when you were just 15 years old, and recently made your Bollywood debut. How would you describe your journey?

Like any other career, I have had moments of ups and downs. It’s hard to describe my journey as being ‘smooth sailing’, but at the same time, I cannot argue otherwise as well. I had to leave my home at 16 to pursue my further education while also having to travel to Mumbai every summer/winter break to work. That, in itself, was an uphill task — having to juggle shoots and studies. It was definitely an unconventional transition, being a girl from a small town and trying to figure out how the real world works. After finishing my schooling, I moved to Mumbai and I didn’t know anyone in the city besides my work peers. I had to figure a lot of things out on my own. But I believe that those experiences just made me a stronger and more independent person. I have been able to travel to many places and grow so much more as a person than I think I would have had I chosen a different path in life.

But was modelling and/or acting something you always wanted to do?

The opportunity to model and act came as a complete surprise. I had a completely different plan as to what career I wanted to pursue. For the entirety of my childhood and through most of my teenage years, my principal ambition was to do medical studies so that I could become a doctor and work back home in Kohima. Because I was still studying and also given the opportunity to explore other things, I was, in a way, given a gist of what things could possibly be like for me if I chose to pursue modelling. I loved that I was a part of such creative projects and so, the notion of taking up a more conventional profession took a different course after I gave modelling a shot.

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You have been a part of the glamour world for a really long, and have worked with the best — but, did you ever face challenges/discrimination only because you are from the northeast?

I have been fortunate enough to not have faced challenges pertaining to my ethnicity. From the beginning of my journey, I have only been exposed to extremely professional work environments. Of course, I have come across people in my work life who are ignorant of the different types of cultures and people that inhabit this country. It, however, did not pose any challenges to me.

In a similar vein, while you made a successful debut with Anek, do you feel that you may not get as many calls from casting directors for mainstream roles only because of your ethnicity?

I am aware that roles that are written for actors from the northeast are hard to come by and because of that, it could end up affecting their career in Bollywood. While the industry has made much progress in recent times, there is still a long way to go.

How was your experience of working on your first film with Ayushmann Khurrana and Anubhav Sinha? Also, were there moments on set when you helped the cast and crew get the nuances of the region right in the film?

When I realised that I would be working with creatives that are such big names in the industry, I think I just scared myself into thinking I wouldn’t be able to deliver as well as they had expected me to. But Ayushmann and Anubhav Sir created such a comfortable environment for me on set; I felt at home and free to be myself while also motivated enough to explore my character well. During the process of script reading and also while on set, there were times when I was asked to do simple things such as translating a line or two, or asked which surname belonged to which tribe so that they could get those right.

How challenging was it to prepare for the role of a boxer? Did you follow a strict diet/lose or gain weight?

After I had been cast for my role in 2019, I had to immediately start training for it. I had boxing classes and weight training every day. I have a naturally skinny body type, it was very challenging for me to put on muscle mass. Prior to this, I was also never into working out and having an active lifestyle, so it was quite the change for me but I am glad I pushed myself through it and I am very proud of myself with the results.

Over the years, how do you think the modelling industry has changed — and in what ways?

The modelling industry is changing and growing tremendously. Representation is being done the right way and this is a great way to show the diversity India has not only the people of the country but internationally as well. I believe I entered the industry at the best time. There were not too many North Eastern models but the way had already somehow been paved and it was slowly but surely widening. Faces and bodies of different kinds were being used more in bigger campaigns and magazines, and it was a step in the right direction. Because of that, I was also able to do editorials and commercial jobs which probably wouldn’t have been possible for a non-generic Indian looking person to do 5-7 years prior to the time I started.

The one positive and one negative thing about being a part of the glamour/entertainment industry?

The positive thing about being a part of the industry for me is definitely becoming a part of a vision or creative process, becoming a part of someone’s art in a way. The negative thing would be that being a part of this industry also means you are putting yourself out there to be scrutinized and judged.

What is next in the pipeline for you?

I am currently focusing on my work and I am open to projects in the modelling and the acting field. Modelling is something I am extremely passionate about and I am always looking out for interesting projects. I recently shot for Sabyasachi and a magazine for their digital cover. I am also planning to explore modelling projects out of India to gain more experience and work on fun projects.

If you had to pick either modelling or acting — what would you do, and why? And if you had the power to change one thing about the two industries, what would that be?

I’ve loved my career as a model so far. I also loved being a part of Anek and being on set. I couldn’t choose between the two as I loved being a part of both worlds! But there was one thing I could change about the modelling world, it would be to make it easier for models to work on set. Oftentimes, models are expected to do insanely demanding things on set while not being given the level of mutual respect they deserve. The amount of waiting that comes on set would also be something I would change and I think the same applies with being an actor.

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About the author

bobby

Hi, I am Bobby. Blogger India. I love writing, and reading articles. Blogging is my passion. I have started my blogging career in 2016.