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PS: What is the number one thing American women can learn from Bollywood beauty?

PC: I think the quintessential Bollywood woman has really changed. What the stereotype of who she should be like is not really who she is anymore. She’s a woman of the world. She’s a global citizen and yet at the same time with Indian values and traditions. I think the quintessential modern-day girl in India today is very aware of what’s happening in the world and is extremely aware of Western culture and Eastern culture. I think the dynamics have really changed. If I were to give you a visual, you’d see this girl going out at night with her friends to a bar, having a good time, and going dancing. In the morning, she’d come back home and hang out with her family and do the prayers that we do. But the quintessential Indian heroine is a girl of today, and the girl of today in India is someone who has a life of freedom and liberation and yet at the same time is conservative enough to be respectful. So I think that is a big balance, which is something that everyone in the world should be like: be independent, be free, be liberated; but the same time, be respectful, be humble, and try to keep the family together.

PS: Speaking of stereotypes, what’s the number one stereotype about Indian beauty that you think is the biggest misconception at this point?

PC: Well, I wouldn’t say that it’s just in America, but I’d tell the world that we don’t always have henna on our hands and stickers on our forehead. We love bindis and henna, by the way, at weddings especially! Whenever I wear an Indian outfit I love wearing bindis. I think they look beautiful. Or maybe sometimes even with my Western outfits, I think it looks cool. Most elder ladies in our families wear bindis as a sign of being married. But for the young girls, it’s mostly just because it looks cool. And with henna, it’s something to do when you’re celebrating togetherness, like maybe a wedding or maybe a festival. It’s something we wear at that point. Eating turkey at Thanksgiving is like wearing henna at a wedding. Sometimes we have henna parties when everyone has a little bit of time off, and we just want to wear it. But it is an individual thing, and it can be just as much worn as a fashion statement because we think it’s pretty. It can be as casual as that, too.

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