From Adult Film Star To Successful Bollywood Actor: Sunny Leone’s Inspiring Journey

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Sunny Leone Birthday: The Bollywood actor celebrates her birthday on May 13. Sunny Leone is one of many women who have worked hard to carve a space for themselves despite the judgements they received.

The birthday girl has been successful in challenging the misogynist mindset of her fans and has come out as a woman who controls the narrative around her and doesn’t let anyone else’s opinion impact her growth.

In an interview with SheThePeople, the actor shared her life journey. Here’s her story:

“Growing up, I was ridiculed due to dark hair on my skin. Maybe that’s why I am still not comfortable wearing shorts!

Long before I was Sunny Leone, I was Karenjit Vohra, a regular Sikh girl based in Canada. I was a nerdy, awkward teenager who didn’t have many friends. As an Indian in a largely white neighbourhood, I had to lie about my identity to stay safe. After school, I opted for medicine. A few months into it, an agent contacted me & offered to send my pictures to an adult magazine.

To my surprise, in 2001, I became the first Indian to ever be featured on that magazine cover; I got $100,000 for it. That’s when I realised, ‘There’s crazy money in this field! This could be the start of a new career for me.’

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My parents tried to stop me but I was too independent to listen to them. I got hate from relatives; My mother’s alcohol addiction worsened. It affected our relationship & years later, my own experience with motherhood.

In 2007, during one of my trips, I met Daniel, a musician; we fell in love. He went the mile to join the adult industry so we could work exclusively with each other.

Soon after, we got married. At 30, I moved to India to participate in Bigg Boss. Thereon, I entered Bollywood. For a long time, I only received offers consistent with my adult star image. Actors kept a safe distance from me & didn’t want me to win awards. Cases were filed against me saying I was ‘destroying’ Indian culture.

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But I kept going.

I knew that the people who cursed me were the very people who spent hours glued to my profile.

Today, I juggle acting, my business & motherhood successfully. I adopted my daughter; My twins were born out of surrogacy–two roads still unconventional for our society.

A scroll down my Instagram will show a range of nasty comments– ‘Where does the black baby come from?’, ‘Do you want to make your children porn stars too?’ But I remain unbothered by it all. 37 films later, when I look back at the road I took, I see all the stereotypes I broke at every step.

My past years have made me who I am now–an empowered woman who speaks her mind & follows her heart. And this moment, right here, is the most amazing chapter of my life. No regrets!”

This article is an edited excerpt from Sunny Leone interview with SheThePeople.

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