Tulle embellished jacket and trousers with gold and black sequins and jewelled buttons. Star handbag, metallic leather and metal. Suede heeled. Metal and strass earrings, ‘all Chanel’. Image Credit: The Kurator Magazine

It is the night of a full moon; I am replaying the recording of my interview with Sonam Kapoor. The lyrics “‘Cause you’re a sky, ‘cause you’re a sky full of stars” play in the distance, and I am under the cosmic influence of the night and Sonam’s soothing, calm energy which flows like a radiant beam from the celestial disc in the night sky. On the screen, amidst what looks to me like a maharaja’s palace-like setting, Sonam appears especially contemporary, to say the least, and this sets the tone for the interview with our cover star. No one captures the charm, authenticity, and modern spirit of India quite like this Bollywood star, pop-culture sensation and style icon who has been making a global impact as an ambassador of her country’s culture and elegance. For those fascinated by what India has offered the world, from ancient wisdom to Bollywood extravagance—much like myself—Sonam is a feast for the eyes and the mind.

To begin rather modestly, Sonam was the only Indian actor at the coronation of King Charles III, highlighting her significant role in representing India at numerous major global events. “If I had to represent India in one way or another, I would highlight the country’s diversity and resilience. The fact that we have such a strong cultural heritage and ancient civilisation means that whatever is made in India has great value,” Sonam proudly tells me. “It’s a multicultural place where people from many faiths live together in harmony, and representing that is of utmost importance,” she emphasises. I will be honest: before the interview, I held some anticipation about interviewing a Bollywood star for the first time. Sonam’s liberal and welcoming mindset, characteristic of Indians—known for being good hosts, very loving, soft-spoken, and peaceful—quickly dispelled any reservations I had.

Technical crepe pleated dress and stretch spandex Sporty B Knife Pantaleggings, Balenciaga. Amethyst d earrings by AMRAPALI Image Credit: The Kurator Magazine

“It was such a pleasure showing you a small taste of India” reads a comment Sonam left on a photo she posted on Instagram alongside David Beckham, whom she hosted at her residence- giving a small glimpse into how the 38-year-old actress, who has been navigating her life between London and Mumbai, is committed to wholeheartedly represent her country at its best and truest. Although Sonam has made London her second home, her love for her homeland is immeasurable—something I enjoyed hearing about as she enthusiastically and consistently praised India throughout the interview. “Besides being the land of yoga and spiritualism, for which India is renowned in other parts of the world, it is also celebrated for its music and artisanal craftsmanship. It’s the realm of jewellery and embroidery,” Sonam passionately explains to me. “Most notably, numerous haute couture and luxury houses have their clothing intricately embroidered in India.” She adds with a smile.

Microcrystal hooded jacket and legging pants, ALEXANDRE VAUTHIER. Patent leather slingback pumps, PRADA Image Credit: The Kurator magazine

Even though the young woman looks effortlessly simple in her laid-back black ensemble, with her hair neatly slicked back, Sonam is fascinated by chic couture, particularly embroidery— which is one of many similarities she shares with Middle Eastern people in terms of culture and taste, “Both cultures love embroidery and glamorous fashion,” she says. Sonam has visited the Middle East on many occasions. She shares her excitement during the interview, mentioning, “My dad is actually in Dubai now!” She relates to the people in the Middle East in various ways, “I love Middle Eastern designers and artists who strongly resonate with their Southeastern counterparts.” “My movies are popular in the Middle East and the Arab world, further proving how we share aspects of our culture and values,” she adds proudly. Included in a prestigious list alongside top personalities like Zendaya, Kylie Jenner, BTS and Blackpink, Sonam’s significant influence on popular culture in India and across the world comes with a lot of responsibility. “When you have a platform, there’s a responsibility to put your most authentic self forward, you must represent your truest self and not a façade. When you have the right moral values and world views, it is interesting to see how people appreciate that and attach themselves to it.” The owner of an Instagram page with 35 million followers, explains.

Cashmere sweater and trousers with feathers, PRADA. Toy pump, suede and rhinestones, LOEWE. Elia earrings, ANAYAH. Coussin PM bag, leather, LOUIS VUITTON Image Credit: The Kurator magazine

Sonam is an active and strong advocate of her own vision, from her most revolutionary views to the traditional values she believes in and that resonate with her upbringing. “At home, we were raised with strong moral values, which shape our authentic selves and our responsibility towards those we influence. On social media, I have many young followers, so it’s crucial for me to share the right messages: being true to yourself, embracing moral values, caring for the world, the environment, and people, and standing up for what is right. These are essential messages that I prioritise when it comes to my influence on people.”

Sonam and I then indulge in a discussion about fashion—naturally! We both grin remembering the shoot we had a few days ago where she effortlessly struck numerous stunning poses, showcasing her sartorial grandeur. Even though Sonam doesn’t want to be solely recognised as a style icon, she is, in fact, one of India’s greatest fashion moguls. Her impeccable style significantly influences and shapes pop culture trends in the country. She is referred to as the cultural ambassador of India to the West and is globally renowned for her extraordinary fashion sense. Sonam consistently tops every best-dressed list and has been recognized as one of the celebrities with the highest impact on luxury fashion brands worldwide. You may find her at top luxury fashion brands like Dior, gracing their private shows.

“I make sure to wear and do things that have no negative impact on anyone. I strive to make responsible choices.” The trailblazer and visionary uses her platform to advocate for change in fashion. “I have always believed in slow fashion, buying classic, beautiful pieces, and reusing vintage clothes. I don’t support fast fashion, as it is wasteful and harmful to the environment. However, I understand its necessity for those who can’t afford luxury vintage fashion. I am a strong supporter of second-hand websites, despite it’s not being part of our culture. Indian culture embraces local tailors and artisans, which is a form of slow fashion not -readily available in the West. We need a combination of both: -making tailoring clothes accessible in the West and accepting the mentality of wearing someone else’s clothes.”

Canvas denim polo shirt and double layer skirt, LOEWE. Brushed leather pumps, PRADA. Silver studded chunky hoops, RUBANS Image Credit: The Kurator magazine

The star has undeniably revolutionised fashion in India, pioneering the elevation of fashion’s significance in the country and transforming it into a multi-million-dollar industry. “I think the West didn’t understand the power of our impact in this part of the world before. We are developing nations, but that is slowly changing, and we, as people here, have our growing voices as individuals and spending power as clients, making it difficult to be ignored anymore,” Sonam affirms. Partly due to her influence, homegrown designers now represent the country at global fashion weeks and establish flagship stores worldwide. “Whenever I am at an international event, I make sure to wear from an Indian or South Asian designer.” Sonam has been a great champion of supporting Indian brands to achieve awareness outside India.

Sonam is renowned as the pioneer of introducing the concept of red-carpet looks for actors in India, seamlessly merging fashion with the film industry. “As actors, we have an impact, and people like to follow what we do. I love fashion; my mum used to be a fashion designer, so I grew up surrounded by fashion. When I entered the industry 20 years ago, I noticed that red carpet looks were not common, and I wanted to wear beautiful things on the red carpet. I started doing that without realising I was different to everyone else. My passion for films and fashion led me to create that impact.” Sonam effortlessly nails the look for any occasion, it comes naturally and spontaneously. “I am enjoying fashion and beautiful things without taking myself too seriously. Fashion is supposed to be fun, an escape from the ugliness of the world. It’s important to appreciate the beauty and goodness in life.”

Wool bolero and trousers, FENDI. Leopard print sandals, DOLCE & GABBANA. Silver brooch with pearl embellishment and matching earrings, AMRAPALI Image Credit: The Kurator magazine

Hailing from an iconic film dynasty and having tens of movies and numerous awards under her belt as an actress, it is impossible to interview Sonam without referring to her film career. She understands more than anyone the impact of Indian cinema in popular culture, and life. “Cinema is a representation of what is going on in the world. It is a reflection of society, but sometimes there comes a piece of work that can bring about change and shift the way society thinks. For me and my family to be part of this industry for so long is a great privilege and honour,” she explains.

Again, Sonam apologises and takes time out to check on her son. At the beginning of the interview, the proud mother was giddy with happiness as she held her one-year-old son Vayu in her arms, introducing him to me—a perfect and positive start to our conversation. Since giving birth, the actress has been about as off-grid as she gets. “I took a break for two years because I was pregnant and I wanted to spend time with my baby,” she explains. “I used to neglect my own well-being, but now I understand the importance of taking care of myself for the sake of my child. My priorities have shifted, and while I am still ambitious and hardworking, my focus is on my son,” she adds.

Besides the new feature film that Sonam is currently working on, an adaptation of Anuja Chauhan’s novel Battle of Bittora, a love story set in a political backdrop, the actress reveals to me “I have started working again this year, and we will be making an announcement soon.” Undoubtedly, the film industry is constantly evolving at a rapid pace, and Sonam is no stranger to that. “There is a surge in content on platforms like Netflix and Amazon, and I am looking forward to exploring something different,” she shares excitedly. The Bollywood icon is open to new things and gracefully embraces the concept of change in life. “I think maturity means that we shouldn’t be afraid of change—whether emotionally, physically, or spiritually,” Sonam concludes as a conversation to remember draws to a close.