Actress Sunny Leone dons many hats. She owns a production house called Suncity Media And Entertainment, runs a cosmetic line and is mother to three children. She also stars in the ZEE5 web series Karenjit Kaur: The Untold Story of Sunny Leone, a biopic based on her own life. The series will stream its second season tomorrow, 18th September. When asked about how she juggles so many responsibilities, she simply replies, “I have a really good schedule.” Here we ask her about choosing to tell her own story and moving into her new home in Mumbai:
With Karenjit Kaur, your biopic, why were you keen to take charge of the narrative? Why was it important for you to tell your own story? Of course you know yourself best, but it’s also dicey because it’s hard to be objective of one’s own life, right?
What the writer and I did is we basically sat together for about 6 months and I just told him stories. I told him stuff about my upbringing, the adult industry, why I made certain decisions, about extended family, about business choices and different relationships and so many different things which add up to the two seasons. And that’s how he formed the story that’s told. And all the stories that I told him and the stories that have ended up in the biopic – they’re all real stories.
There were certain parts where I went, “Guys, this is not how it happened and I don’t like this. How can you go shoot this? This character wasn’t like this. Why are you making him so shady?” I had a lot of problems with so many different things that didn’t happen and they were not happy that I would want to change things. But for me, it had to be the truth. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to talk about it with you – it would just be a fictional story. If I wanted to shoot a fictional story, then I would have shot a fictional story. But that’s not what we were shooting. And for my own self, it need to be as close to the truth as possible.
There’s a part where you break down and cry when confronted with trolls, but in real life you have developed quite a thick skin. What did it take for you to get here?
So when that happened I was probably 20 years old, maybe. I was very young. And that was really the first time that I saw hate to another level where people would just go, “You’re not Indian,” “You’re a disgrace to women,” “You’re a disgrace to our culture,” and so many different things were said that I won’t repeat out loud. But it truly does affect you as a young adult and that’s why when my husband Daniel (Weber) came to me and said, “There’s this show called Bigg Boss. It’s in India. Do you want to do it?”, I said, “No way. You’re insane! I’m not going to do this.”
And I had this whole rant that I spat out to him and he said, “Chill, relax. We’ll talk about this later.” He’s really smart and knows what are the things that are going to peak my interest in something. Then they sent this whole PPT with statistics and all this research. So I started reading that and googling. Then I researched the company and the show and that’s how I ended up on a ‘yes’. It was crazy tough to go through all that and I just didn’t want to go through it again, and in India! Why would I want to go through all that hate again? But by that time I had developed a lot more thick skin.
You and Daniel finally moved into a new house – your own home in Mumbai. Congratulations! Of course, you also needed more room with three babies now..
We went from two of us to seven in to time – that’s including two nannies. And all of a sudden we have no space. We didn’t feel like we lived in a rather small flat – it was a nice sized flat. But all of a sudden our bedroom had stuff stacked on stuff. Then we were moving other things in there to make room for the babies. And then the babies are in the smaller office room with both of the cribs plus all of Daniel’s stuff. Then Nisha’s room has all of our stuff plus her stuff. It was crazy! If I showed you a picture of my living room before we moved out…it’s disgusting – there’s toys everywhere, there’s stuff everywhere. We loved living in that building because they were so nice and so amazing but we realized we needed a bigger space for sure. And now I have it and I’m so happy!