In Bed With Alaya F: “One shouldn’t associate food with guilt”

Alaya F is a dyed-in-the-wool planner who chalks out five-year goals. “Though the plans I had made before joining films were interrupted by the lockdown which happened right at the beginning of my career,” laughs Alaya. “But things worked out and surprised me.” Alaya has completed three new films—Freddy alongside Kartik Aaryan, Ekta Kapoor-produced U Turn and Anurag Kashyap’s next.

An aversion to just winging it had originally turned Alaya away from an acting career. “I did not have a filmy childhood with Bollywood parties and star kids as friends. But I had seen my grandfather (actor Kabir Bedi) and mother (actor Pooja Bedi) and knew the ups and downs. Unpredictability is not for me. So, I went to study direction at NYU, but finally decided that I loved acting and did want to become an actor.” So, Alaya cam back and presented her parents with a (you guessed it) five-year plan.

Thereafter, though, she politely asked her folks to take a step back. “My parents are not even 1 per cent involved in my profession,” says the actor who only told her parents about her debut film, Jawaani Jaaneman, after she had landed the project.

In her personal space too, Alaya’s mapping out has paid dividends. “I planned to buy myself a car and move into my own home. I have done so.”

List three things no one knows about you.

1. I am terrified of mountains.

2. I have a hate relationship with monkeys. If they see me, they attack me.

3. I can convince myself to do anything. Like if I repeat ‘I am nervous, nervous, nervous’ I become nervous. I use this to my advantage.

One health shot you swear by?

Celery juice. It tastes awful but is good for you.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Watching reality TV. No food item because I think one shouldn’t associate food with guilt.

Your midnight munch?

Chocolates and chips. If I’m in a not-so-healthy mood, then burgers. When I want to strike the middle path, it’s a packet of makhana. If I’m in a very healthy space, then hummus and carrots.

One thing you do for your mental health?

Check in with myself. On days when I feel constricted in the chest, I take a break and reflect on why I am feeling the way I am.

Your most embarrassing moment?

I went through a phase where I wore pointed pencil stilettoes whenever I stepped out. Don’t ask why. Once, after watching a film with friends, I tumbled down the stairs, in front of so many people.

The last time you became moist eyed.

Whenever I watch a show like America’s Got Talent and the judge hits the Golden Buzzer on a participant, I cry. Nothing makes me cry faster than seeing people achieve their dreams.

Bedside stories

How many pillows do you stash below your head?

I make a fort around me. Two behind my head (I don’t put my head on them) and five around me. Seven in all.

What is the last thing you have before going to sleep?

Ajwain pani.

Do you pray at night?

I have a vision board where I put out my intentions. It’s a spiritual moment.

This or that?

Candour or diplomacy?

Candour with sensitivity.

Swimming in the sea or in a pool?

Whichever is warmer.

Relaxing on holidays or being a tourist?

Relaxing on holidays and doing what the locals do.

From HT Brunch, August 27, 2022

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