When you are a mother of three young children, the way you perceive the world alters.
Case in point: Sunny Leone, the Bollywood actress and former adult film star has now tipped her well-manicured toes into the beauty industry by launching her own line of cosmetic products called StarStruck By Sunny Leone in the UAE on Wednesday.
“My goal with StarStruck is to create a five-minute beauty kit that will enable you to put eyeliner, mascara, blush and foundation in just one go … Our bags are filled with so many things, but I just want the women who are pressed for time to have this kit in their bag instead,” said Leone in an interview with Gulf News tabloid!.
Two years ago, Leone — who also has her own line of perfumes — came up with this idea of creating her own beauty brand. The mother of twin boys Asher and Noah, who were born via surrogacy and are over nine months old, and a toddler daughter Nisha who was adopted, woke up and blurted her idea to her husband and business partner Daniel Weber, who was clueless about building a beauty empire. But he went along with her plans, nonetheless.
“Daniel is someone who believed in me and who was willing to walk this crazy path with me… He has that special kind of patience and resilience to make it happen… He’s someone who makes my dreams come true,” said Leone, who has become a queen of reinvention. Her career is studded with stints in the adult film industry, reality television like ‘Bigg Boss’ and Bollywood films such as the racy thriller ‘Jism 2’. But this was not a vanity project.
Her work and life philosophy is painstakingly simple: work hard and the rest will naturally fall into place.
While Leone, 37, was in charge of testing the formula and how she felt using it, Weber was in charge of marketing her cosmetics, which are priced modestly (think Dh29 and above).
“I tested everything on me for a while… I am in front of the camera, not just for 20 or 30 minutes… but for 30 hours straight. The last thing I wanted to do is to keep applying the lipstick every five minutes. Those are the roots behind it and I knew what I wanted... I want my make-up to last for long,” said Leone.
Her products are likely to be popular with busy mothers who have to drop their kids off to school in the morning and run multiple errands throughout the day. According to Leone, long-lasting lipsticks are right up their alley.
“Today morning, I had to make sure that all my kids were bathed and fed before stepping out for the launch… Ideally, all we have is around five minutes to quickly put on make-up and step out. That’s our reality,” she said.
This self-proclaimed product junkie, who has a penchant for collecting and hoarding cosmetics, feels that make-up should be an extension of a woman’s personality.
“Your make-up is likely to depend on what’s going on in your life on that particular day. Not feeling great? You may slap on red lipstick and mascara that perks up your eyes... Sometimes, just highlighting your skin works too,” said Leone.
Her earliest memory of discovering the joys of make-up was when she used to rummage through her mother’s collection.
“My mother was a simple woman. She wore lipstick and used the same thing as blush and even put it on her eye lids as eye shadow… That’s what I grew up watching. My mother didn’t always wear lots of make-up, but I was fascinated,” the actress said.
Her fascination is no longer child’s play. Her interests now extend to contouring, a make-up trend that’s a double-edged sword.
“I love contouring kits… if you eat too many French fries or you are looking a little puffy, then contouring is your best friend,” she said.
But the only problem?
“It’s easy to overdo it. I have seen many women do so much contouring that they face starts looking distorted … Don’t put on too many layers. You need to strike that fine balance.”
Leone, who has her own biographical series to her credit, is also a huge advocate of blending beauty products into the skin.
“If you don’t blend it well, then nothing will work… Remember blend, blend, blend and that’s the only way to go,” she added.
Another common mistake that she has observed is when women choose the wrong kind of foundation, making them look ashy.
“We just don’t have the right people to find us the right colour for our skin and as women we have this distorted view of what we should look like … If you are a mom, you often ask your husband and he says fine and that doesn’t help,” said Leone with a laugh, regaling us of a time when she went for her daughter’s Christmas event in her school wearing the wrong foundation despite asking her husband’s opinion before stepping out together.
“We know what happens, when we say ‘no, it doesn’t look good on you’,” said Weber in defence, alluding to all the men out there who prefer to be diplomatic when it comes to giving their opinion on their partner’s appearances.
“But in all seriousness, I think the problem is that women have just 2 minutes, 5 seconds at the beauty store to decide what to buy… They just don’t have the time in the world… So the important thing is that they are guided to the right colour foundation or product … But remember, confidence and being comfortable in your own skin is important,” said Leone.
Did you know?
Sunny Leone has moved into a new, spacious home in Mumbai to accommodate her growing brood.
“It has nine times the closet space,” said Daniel Weber, when speaking about how his wife loves to collect cosmetic products.
Sunny Leone adopted an ambivalent stand when asked about the burgeoning #MeToo movement in the Hindi entertainment industry. She distanced herself from the topic by claiming that her focus is on building her own life.
“If you work in the entertainment industry and you put in your time, then you can naturally ask for different things. Personally, I don’t believe in comparing me to anyone else or their issues… I worry about myself, I worry about how I want to run my business and I don’t compare myself to anybody out there,” Leone told reporters.