I have been coming back and forth from UK to India for 6 years now, there have been many difficulties such as the language, getting used to living in s different culture, adapting etc. When I first came to India I was type casted and I was been offered roles where only a female is used for her looking not acting abilities. I was very nieve then and accepted work which I now know I should not have. It took me 3 years to wait for a role which I felt would benefit me and with substance
2. With a degree in Marketing you could have become a Marketing expert today working for a big corporate but instead, you chose the path of acting?
From a young age I had always wanted to be an actress, however, I know how unstable the industry is so I studied marketing for a backup plan. Now I run a few businesses under my company DKUWORLD. Acting I feel is my hobby now not career.
3. Most Asian parents want their children to go into professional careers. How did you parents react when you told them you wanted to become an actress?
It is only me and my mother, my father died when I was one years old. My mother has always supported me and is happy in whatever I choose to do. She didn’t hold any restrictions on me. I was always taught the value of money from a young age from mum, this turned me into a good business women which is even important to be in the entertainment industry.
4. What kind of film roles do you get offered?
Mostly I am type casted and offered roles meant for non- Indian girls with lots of skin show, which I really hate. I had to wait a long time to get the role that I am playing in my upcoming movie Hard Kaur – which is of a village girl from India. I am hoping this role will break the stereotype mentality people had me in now. I have noticed directors like to play safe and cast someone that they feel is similar to the character role, especially in Punjabi industry. I feel this is wrong because the whole point of being an actor is to be someone you are not.
5. What would be your ideal film role?
Wonder Woman would be awesome! But seriously my dream role is a role that does not use a women’s sexuality and appearance as a means to promote a film. The role should be meaningful and show my true acting potential.
6. We hear you are also into directing, what have you directed?
Yes, I recently directed my first music video sung by Shamshad, the song was a beautiful romantic song called Main Kosa Rabb Nu. The video was quite a big hit and was trending on youtube. It was a lovely experience and I will be directing more in the future. Next, I will be directing a club song. It was nice to be on the other side of the camera and pick and choose what I thought will look good on screen.
7. You starred in Big Brother, what was that experience like being in 1 of the biggest reality shows?
Big Brother was a mix of emotions. It was an awesome experience to have and I learnt a lot about myself but it was also very mentally draining. I am happy I was in the show as I feel it taught me some hard life lessons such as how people are most of the time not what they show on face value and not to trust people so easily.
8. How was it working with some of the actresses in Hard Kaur such as veteran actress Nirmal Rishi?
I feel extremely lucky to have had the chance to work with Nirmal Rishi. She has dedicated her whole life to Punjabi cinema. It was also nice to work alongside the other actresses, all our roles in the film has completely different personalities so there was no clashes. Everyone was happy and confident in their own role which created a nice atmosphere on set.
9. Did you audition for the role in Hard Kaur or was the particular role made for you in mind?
Yes, I had to audition many times and I really had to fight hard for this role. Although my role is of a village girl I knew when I read the script the role was meant for me. I spent many hours learning the Punjabi script for the auditions.
10. Working as a top model and having a successful business, and reality TV role model, do you prefer these roles or prefer feature film roles?
As I am getting older my choices in life are starting to change. Now I am at a point in my life where reality tv does not appeal to me. Being famous for reality tv does not excite me anymore however in my early 20s it did. Now what matters to me is doing good work that I can be proud of and running my businesses so finically I am secure. Fame does not matter to me anymore. I guess this change in thinking comes with experiences in life.
11. What are the chances of seeing Deana Uppal in the next UK reality show in the future?
As I mentioned before it is very unlikely I will ever do a reality TV show again as it does not appeal to me now.
12. Tell us more about your character role in Hard Kaur
My role is of a simple sweet school teacher named Sirat Kaur. Sirat is a very shy and simple girl – Many girls will be able to relate to her. She comes across struggles and harassment from men which is of no fault of her own. The film evolves around how Sirat and 4 other Kaur’s (Sikh girls) come together and fight against the wrongdoings.
13. How difficult was it to play the role of Sirat Kaur?
I actually found this role very easy to play. I think this is because deep down I am also very shy but i put an act on to the world that I am very confident. Sirat is very reserved and kind, I felt very at ease with acting like this and I could relate to the character of the role.
14. When you saw the script 1st, what where your 1st thoughts?
As soon as I read the script I could see the potential and I knew I had to be a part of it. The story most importantly makes sense. A lot of Indian films just have scenes to please the target audience but does not match with the storyline. In Hard Kaur, I feel the story makes complete scene and all females will be able to relate to the story.
15. The storyline is very powerful, directed by Ajit Rampal did you discuss the role in detail with him?
Yes, we did discuss but as i was only finalized 3 days before the start of the shoot there was not much time for preparation.
16. Did you have a vision/input of what Sirat Kaur’s character should be?
Yes, I had a clear vision of how Sirat should act and I hope i was able to portray this. I had no input in the script.
17. Are you a fan of Bollywood movies?
Yes I do like Bollywood movies especially the old ones such as Umro Jaan and Devdas
18. Would you say it is far more difficult for females in the industry if so why?
I have not spoken to a male in the industry in detail to know how it is for males but i presume it is difficult for both sexes. There is a lot of competition in this industry so the competition makes it very tough.
19. What is your personal favourite genre of films?
I enjoy all genres of movies and I also try to watch movies from all regions such as south, Punjabi, Hindi and English. One of my favs is a typical common choice but yes i love the godfather.
20. What’s an average day like for Deana Uppal?
Every day is different, someday I go to office to work, some days work from home, some days at shoots or fittings and meetings. The only thing that is consistent is I always make time for one hour of gym per day and meet my friends to socialise one day a week.
21. Do you follow a strict diet to keep yourself fit and keep your body in shape?
Not too strict but I avoid sugar as much as possible and I track my calories to keep at 1500 per day. I gym very hard and do weights and circuit training. I try to burn 350 cals at the gym so my calorie intake is balanced. In the past year, I have lost 5KG. I used to struggle with my weight then I had my blood tested and figured out the problems.
22. What advice would you give to aspiring British Asian actors who want to chase the Indian film dream?
Advice would be to go to India for a short while and experience living in India and experience the culture. If you feel you can adjust then take the leap and try. You should also remember only a small percentage actually make it successful in the industry so you should always have a backup plan. Give yourself a certain time limit to pursue your dreams and arrange your finances correctly to be able to pay your bills there. Mumbai is an expensive city to live and it can take months before you start earning anything from acting.
23. And finally, if there was one thing that you would want people to know about you, what would it be?
Although it may be portrayed that i am a go-getter confident career orientated girl, I also take a lot of care with my friendships and family. I put a lot of importance on building good relationships and caring for people. One of the reasons I am in the public eye is to create a brand/name so then I can use the name to start up a very big charity for people in poverty.