Born to an Indian father and German mother, Evelyn Sharma was born and brought up in a small town in Germany before she moved to India with a dream of exploring her culture. What followed was totally unexpected—she was signed by a beauty brand for three years and was then approached for Bollywood films. The rest as they say is history!
From the world of modelling to acting, how did the transition happen?
Everything came about by chance. Starting from modelling, nothing was ever planned. I was studying languages in Germany when I was discovered on Myspace. I come from a small town in Germany and my dream was to travel the world, and I’m lucky to be doing so now. I travel across the world for modelling, film shooting, and of course on holidays. In fact the only place I haven’t been to yet is perhaps South America and Alaska.
Each day is a surprise for me, I have no expectations ever and I think that’s the best way to deal with life. That’s what brought me to India too!
What made you come to India?
When I was young, people always asked me how come I had never been to India considering I’m half Indian, and I always thought that I’d come here when I was a little older, like in Eat Pray Love, and discover the country. But when I got into modelling I decided to come here and explore the market, and of course the country, for three months before I headed to Tokyo for another assignment. But as luck would have it, as soon as I got to India in 2010, I was signed by a beauty brand for three years and thus began my life in this beautiful country. What followed were several television commercials, modelling assignments, and films. Believe it or not, I signed five films in my first year itself! I was living my dream and it was great!
How was the experience of acting opposite stars like Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, and Kalki Koechlin in your second film?
Of course I was very nervous because I had only been in India for a few months by then and I didn’t even know the language properly. But it wasn’t very difficult for me to get into my character of the bratty, flirty Lara. And I was already so smitten by Ranbir that playing the role almost came naturally to me (laughs)!
Ranbir is an amazing actor. He makes everyone around him very comfortable with his jovial nature. I remember I wanted to give my own dialogues and in films every shot costs money so sometimes I would be very frustrated because I wouldn’t get the dialogues right and Ranbir would always tell me that I was great. He brought out the best in me. In fact, everybody in the team was great and very supportive.
You’ve also hosted your own travel show. Tell us about that.
I’ve done quite a few travel shows, but the one with Sumeet Vyas—Stupid Man, Smart Phone— is really interesting and challenging. Sumeet is the host for that show while I’m just a guest for some episodes. It’s an adventure survival web show wherein there’s no team that goes along with us to make our lives easy. It’s a survival show and all we have is our smartphone, so whenever we’re in a situation and don’t know how to deal with it, we ask our fans on social media. So they play a very important role in this show.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
Philippines. I’m a beach bum and Philippines has the best beaches; all of its 7,000 islands have white sand and crystal clear water.
If you were stranded on an island with one person, who would you want it to be?
My dog, Buchki. He means the world to me.
Tell us about your NGO, Seams for Dreams, and what it does.
Seams for Dreams was started two years ago when the Nepal earthquake happened. My friends and I often wondered what to do with our extra clothes, because as actresses we have a lot of it, and we didn’t find an NGO that put proper use to the clothes we gave them. So what Seams for Dreams does is it collects clothes and segregates it into the kind of pieces that are required in different areas and then distributes it to various NGOs that require specific kinds of clothes. We’ve created a network of NGOs that approach us when in need of clothes.
Another thing that Seams for Dreams does is it hosts fundraising events with high end clothes that are given to us by designers, stylists, and celebrities, for the running of the organisation. Lastly, we also support ethical fashion on our website. So you can give us your old clothes and we have designers who recreate them into new pieces. This is an awareness program. Our main motive is to clothe people in need across India.
What about the Indian culture intrigues you most?
The drama! Germans are very calm, but I’ve always wondered how I’m so dramatic and hot blooded. It was when I came to India and discovered my Punjabi roots that I realised why.
You’re also a great singer. How did you nurture the talent?
Oh thank you! I used to sing in my church choir and I like to write songs and short stories so a friend of mine who’s a music composer asked me to sing his songs, and
I absolutely loved it.
In fact, my blog, Evelynssecrets.com has a lot of my poems, songs, short stories, and travel articles. I like to give write about beauty inside and out and give beauty tips. I also share stories from my own life, about my dreams and struggles. I want to pass on the inspiration to whoever requires it.
Considering modelling and acting came about by chance for you, what would you be if not for an actor?
A philanthropist since I’ve always wanted to start my own charity organisation; or perhaps an interior designer because I’m very creative and often redo my house and help my friends with theirs.
---- as told to Niharika