Diandra Soares has been scorching the ramps for over two decades and now the feisty 37 year old has turned over a new leaf. The svelte beauty is now an actress and is playing a closeted lesbian in her first web series titled Love Life and Screw Ups. We caught up with her for a little tete a tete:
Q. How did this gig come about?
I was originally going to play another part for my acting debut, but when I was offered Mansi’s character, I realized I could really sink my teeth into it. It gave me the opportunity to portray a variety of emotions as Mansi is a study in contrasts. On the one hand she is bold and fiercely protective of her friends. On the other, she is vulnerable as a closeted lesbian who is actually engaged to be married to a man!
Q. Considering you are playing a lesbian in your first outing as an actress, aren’t you afraid of getting typecast?
I think it all depends on how I play Mansi. Lesbians are not some extra-terrestrial creatures. They are women… real red blooded women with desires and dreams, strengths and vulnerabilities, hopes and fears. All of these things are universal and don’t change based on who you take to bed. Plus I made it a point to not slot Mansi into any prevalent stereotype associated with lesbians because frankly, stereotyping is offensive!
Q. Exactly! So what did you do so as not to turn Mansi into a caricature?
I have so many friends in the LGBT community that I would have let them down had I played Mansi as either an ultra ‘butch’ or a pretty ‘femme’. Balance and grounding were the key. She is a wise woman who thinks and acts based on what life sends her way. Even the more visual aspects of the character like her clothes were carefully thought out. Sure she sports black lipstick sometimes, but she also lounges around in ganjees and shorts. T-shirts and denims, party dresses and everyday clothes. My portrayal makes her relatable to everyone and in that sense sends a clear message that it is perfectly natural and normal for a woman to be in love with another woman.
Q. What was it like to shoot the romantic scenes?
Well Mansi and her girlfriend Payal are flat-mates. But when they are in public, they behave like heterosexual female friends. This is because they are always surrounded by their common friends. They don’t even touch each other, but sometimes when nobody is looking they steal glances at each other from across the room. There is a tenderness and longing in the way that they look at each other and that conveys their love for each other.
Q. But isn’t there a kissing scene the pictures of which went viral recently?
Yes, the media tends to hype kissing for some odd reason. People in love, kiss. Don’t straight people kiss? What’s the big deal?
Q. You have a rather demanding coming out scene on the show. What was that like?
That’s right. Theatre veteran Dolly Thakore plays my mother who is also an LGBT rights activist. As an actress one of the most challenging scene was when my character comes out to her mother. This has to be sensitive yet restrained. It was abeautiful scene because as an activist she understands, but on some level as a mother she has her worries about her daughter. I prepared for that scene with the help of my gay and lesbian friends. They told me about their coming out experiences and that is what helped keep it real and relatable.
*** Love Life and Screw Ups also stars evergreen Zeenat Aman as a gorgeous restaurant owner and the multi-talented Meeta Vashishtha as a foxy siren.
Watch the trailer below: