So, this one is a hard one to choose only because I wasn't sure if the throne should go to celebrity or an activist. However, in my mind, there is only one woman who owned 2011 and, while carving a niche for herself in Hollywood, she has inspired millions of South Asian girls around the world: Freida Pinto.
While 2010 was truly the breakout year for Freida, in 2011 we saw her become a bonafide Hollywood star - the first Indian female to do so. She had four releases this year: Miral, Trishna, Rise of the Planet Apes, & Immortals. The latter were box-office hits and silenced the critics who deemed her a 'one hit wonder'. The other two smaller films also helped seal her fate as a serious actress.
Along with her movies, Freida worked hard on the publicity circuit, strengthening her relationship with Chanel, and releasing numerous Lo'real ads. She graced the covers of magazines around the world including Instyle in the U.K. and Glamour in the U.S. She then travelled to India, where naysayers attempted to call her out on her 'average non-Bollywood glamour' but it didn't stop Freida. Hell, she toasted to it!
The fact is Freida's success is a slap on the face for Bollywood which is still stuck in it's fraternity of star kids and fair-skin-is-best mentality. Freida, much like her breakout film Slumdog Millionaire, provides hope for Indian girls to dream bigger... bigger than Bollywood.
Freida ended the year with a $7 million dollar endorsement deal for an apparel brand in India; the highest for any celebrity in India. The work and strategic thinking Freida put into her career in 2010 has truly paid off for her in 2011. We can't wait to follow the next few years in Freida's career and see who else follows her into Hollywood.
BBA Changemaker of the Year: Jayshree Satpute
Thanks to Shivani Singh for recommending this on the BBA Facebook page. Jayshree's work is no doubt made even harder in a country that truly lacks humanity and hope. Many people have said to me the situation of India is hopeless, and not to worry about the poor. But then woman like Jayshree rise, and the respect they gain from other nations, strengthen their work in India. As someone who is passionate about the empowerment of Indian women, I urge you to read more on Jayshree's story.
BBA Designer of the Year: Falguni & Shane Peacock
Obviously this was a hard choice for me! It was a great year for South Asian designers across the world, from Prabal Gurung in New York to Sabyasachi in India. But the reason this goes to Falguni & Shane Peacock is because, unlike other designers who broke out in their homelands, it is rare to see Indian-based designers breakout out on the world stage. While Manish Arora had a spectacular year, he is based in Paris and focuses on western fashion. Falguni & Shane Peacock managed to wow audiences and celebrities in both the east and west. Not to mention, their designs were versatile enough for any woman. Their urban edge saw a host of young celebs rock their designs from Kelly Rowland to Kim Kardashian.
|Fergie wearing Falguni & Shane Peacock|
BBA Movie of the Year: Dirty Picture
If you read my post on Silk and Marilyn, you'll know I looooved this movie. Aside from the fact that is a well-scripted and well-directed Bollywood movie (say whaaat? lol), the movie showed the many sides to a woman, specifically Silk, without judgement. It was sexual, open, revealing and.. brilliant. Dirty Picture proved that you could entertain mass Indian audiences and still be true to a female character. A must-see!
|Producer Ekta and leading lady Vidya celebrating Dirty Picture's success|