Being woken up at five in the morning by my parents, and setting off to watch the sunrise and have a sunrise picnic in Banjara Hills. That is the fondest memory I have from my childhood.
Growing Up & Family
Something as simple as the sunrise, something we take so much for granted, Dia says, “My parents instilled in me, since my childhood days, a sense of wonder. We used to go to watch the sunrise, and although it happens everyday, they made it such a magical experience. It taught me never to take things for granted.”
To the world she is Miss Asia Pacific, a bollywood star, she’s drop dead gorgeous, having a proficient, modelling career, and good brands and roles going for her.
Feministaa talks to the Dia Mirza, who is the impeccably inspiring beauty behind the most prominent movements driven to bring about a change in the society (the NDTV Greenathon, Peta etc). Even before the new millennium, the girl who took up a summer job, a concept completely new to India, in a city, which is comparatively more conservative than the other cities (Hyderabad).
“They (Her Parents) taught me at a very young age, that life as we know it and experience it is so much about our enthusiasm, sense of wonder, awe, joy and gratitude that we feel and experience for it.”
Both my parents were creative people. By education my father was an architect and an industrial fair designer, but he was a photographer, a painter, and he travelled the world teaching teachers how to teach. They run an interior design studio together!
I was nurtured and brought up in an environment, that enhances creativity. I went to the J. Krishnamurthy school, that believes in learning through creative development and exposure to real experiences.
All human beings are inherently creative, because we are creatures of expressions.
A strong believer in how much fulfilling each day can be when someone is stimulated by creativity, Dia speaks her mind, “Creativity leads to wonder, and a wider curiosity and curiosity is the cornerstone to character development. Thats what really makes you who you are! “
The day you’re not curious, you’re not alive anymore!
She grew up amidst models; (her father being a photographer and an industrial fair designer and her mother being a bharatnatyam exponent), sandpapering furniture; learning how to build things, trying diff mediums of art; a lot of who she is today, is accredited to her upbringing and her exposure to a unique creatively versatile environment since a young age.
At a young age, you acknowledge how much richer it makes you, when you are stimulated by creativity.
And the difference creativity has made to her inner and outer self while bringing in balance. “Internally when you do something that gives you joy, it improves the rhythm of your breathing, and when your breathing is good, everything is good!”
Work & Education
“I didn’t start working at 16 because I was ambitious. I believe that there is nothing more empowering to an individual than being able to earn your own income. Thats what led me to work.”
The only way a human being can enjoy empowerment is through financial independence.
She talks with enthusiasm, remembering each and every moment of her very first work experience: A summer job as a marketing intern in a company. A work experience that she had decided to undertake with six friends who are working in leading corporate houses in Mumbai today; she expresses with exuberance, that she was thankful to everyone (her friends, her parents and the manager of the company who believed in her, a young and naive 16 year old!) who supported her and gave her the opportunity to pursue this!
It has set the foundation for many things that I choose to do in life. With such a sense of freedom and confidence and belief. He taught me to trust, and thats a very powerful thing.
“I have learnt a lot through mistakes.. And there is no greater teacher than that. Having said that if I had done a proper training program in acting, I know of the advantages I would have had. “
If I had done a degree in acting, I would’ve had an edge. It would’ve given me a lot more advantage.
“It is very easy to tell people that a degree doesn’t matter, or that the educational qualification doesn’t matter. I think what the degree does is that it explores your potential. It gives you better clarity. And clarity is a huge advantage in any field.”
She clearly attributes one’s success towards his/her attitude and his/her willingness to learn.
On entering the movie set the first day, she reminisced the mixed emotions within her heart. A 19year old girl, terrified, but brave. Wide-eyed, she exclaims, “I cannot tell you the dichotomy of feeling both, fearless and terrified at the same time!”
I was very confident. And that’s what I had. I don’t remember feeling fear. But I knew nothing. I knew nothing about cameras, lens lighting….. the method and the madness in film making.
“I would be shooting for one song throughout the night, catching up on sleep while driving from one location to the next, arriving on the set, and filming throughout the day. And while we were filming we would be doing promotional interviews, catching up on sleep while they were setting up the next shot. It was crazy!”
“As a woman, as a newcomer, I was so young, I just couldn’t say no. It was a very sexist industry. But a lot has changed now, women have learned not to dignify silences; women have learnt to say no; something we couldn’t even dream of saying at that time.”
She talks about the parity in payment, the industry dynamics now, and then. Watch her video in a candid conversation with us.