‘Be Yourself. Always’

Yami GAUTAM-DHAR on beauty, fitness, health and wellness.

Your view on beauty?

I fully endorse the delineation of beauty as it has evolved over time — that having a fair complexion is no parameter of beauty anymore. I remember vividly the criticism for my looks when I was relatively new to the industry. The big point is — it did not wobble my self-confidence. Most people, who I met at that point in time, often commented on my nose, or conspicuous dimple. They felt that the ‘placement’ of my dimple was a bit odd — I just don’t know why. They often said, “You are pretty, but you look quite ordinary.” The contradiction bamboozled me. I was clueless, about what I should do. I used to feel bad, but it never pushed me to a point where I thought of changing my looks, or body. I just shrugged my shoulders and began to think of ‘me’ as only ‘me’ and no one else. It worked.

Your ‘take’ on fitness?

Fitness, to me, is as important as good health and well-being. I always workout first with yoga because I feel that the practice helps me to stay positive, while keeping my skin glowing. I jog every day for 20 minutes to ensure my body is warmed up for the workout that follows. Apart from regular workouts, I love Pilates. I love dance. I enjoy dancing. Dancing, I feel, is a great choice to pump up your energy — it also provides the ‘grist’ for a good cardio workout.

I’m a self-proclaimed foodie, but I always manage to stay fit and healthy. I start my day with fresh fruit juice and eat small meals during the course of the day.

Breakfast. Eggs whites, fruit smoothies and shakes. I love almonds with my breakfast too.

Lunch. For a pre-lunch meal, I’ve a bowl of fruits and nuts to keep my metabolism fast and running. For lunch, I have dal, or chicken curry, with roti, rice, curd and salad. I believe in the importance of a wholesome diet — not in starving myself, for whatever reason, since it is unhealthy.

Dinner. It’s usually a vegetable sandwich made strictly with brown bread in the evening. I follow it up with grilled chicken for dinner. I really enjoy rice as I come from the hills where rice is staple diet.

I do my best to keep away from junk-food. I stick to home-cooked food as often as possible. I also make sure my body stays well hydrated throughout the day. I love to substitute water with coconut water, whenever I can. You guessed it right. I often include water-based fruits, like melon, in my diet to stay hydrated.

Your view of health and wellness? 

Good health holds the key to everyone’s mental as well as physical well-being. I know it is important for artists, or actors, to look a certain way, because it is their work that determines them and their unique identity. The COVID-19 lockdown provided me the basis to think positively, also differently. I kept myself busy with a number of hobbies. From gardening and reading to cooking and sketching, I spent my time most productively. This became a part of me. It instilled a new meaning to my life. It also made me give my best time to health and fitness as an enjoyable option — on a regular basis — and, not as something one reckons is just a fixed, monotonous routine.

Your ‘take’ on work-life balance?

I and my hubby, Aditya Dhar, respect each other’s timelines and we try to help each other in every way possible. The equation is simple — I’ve got to do what I’ve to do. It’s a great feeling when you come home to your family — it’s the best feeling when you share that love and respect for each other’s work and you respect each other’s timelines and, in fact, help in whatever best mode you can. There is nothing more helpful than emotional support and I am lucky to have found it. I really value and cherish it. It helps me bring balance to my work-life and life-work too.

Your mantra to beat stress?

I took to art to connect with my inner self and let it express. I motivate everyone to take up such an activity, whether it is painting, cooking, dancing, yoga, workout, playing a sport, while staying indoors, or anything that you love. Such happy activities connect you to your soul. There’s nothing more therapeutic than them to beating stress, from the inside out. We are all in this together and it’s a long journey. So, the best thing to do is support and encourage each other in building strong emotional health; also bonding. I urge you to take care of yourself and engage in healthy activities with your family to keeping your mind busy and positive — and, also to combating stress with a happy, engaging smile.

YAMI GAUTAM-DHAR, the alluringly pretty Indian film actress and model, is also a prominent celebrity endorser for a host of brands and products. She made her Bollywood debut with Vicky Donor in 2012. Her noteworthy films include Action Jackson [2014], Badlapur [2015], Sanam Re [2016], Kaabil [2017], and Uri: The Surgical Strike [2019]. Yami is married to Aditya Dhar, a movie director, screenwriter and lyricist. The couple live in Mumbai, India. This piece has been collated and curated from material available on the ‘Net [Yami Gautam. Photo, Courtesy: Wallpaper Cave].

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