Raahil Chopra
Apr 27, 2023

I dreamt of being on huge advertisement hoardings: Rakul Preet Singh

We chat with the actor to find out why she's invested in a diaper brand, her view on advertisements, trolls and more...

I dreamt of being on huge advertisement hoardings: Rakul Preet Singh
Actor Rakul Preet Singh recently announced a partnership with NewBoo, a sustainable diaper brand. She's also been in the news recently for being appointed brand ambassador of Lux, joining the likes of Hema Malini, Madhuri Dixit and Shah Rukh Khan.
We caught up with Singh to learn more about the deals, what she loves about advertising, brands she won't endorse (which she does reveal), and more...
Edited excerpts:
The fact that you are vegan is well known. You've also appeared in a PETA photoshoot in the past. Now, with NewBoo, you extend this thought about wanting to do good for the environment. Is this the kind of image you're looking to build? 
I’m on and off with veganism. I’m vegan for six months, while I’m eating everything else for the remaining six months because it’s not always possible to get vegan food while shooting at locations.
With regard to doing good for the environment, it’s not an image that I’m trying to create. It’s about being a responsible citizen. If you have the opportunity to be in a position like I am at, where God’s being kind to me, it's my duty to impact the people and the generations to come, and we must all do it. So this is about a responsibility I’m taking as a citizen of the world.
When the idea of NewBoo came to me from the founders Shreya and Janhavi, they shared some alarming statistics. Till the age of three, a child ends up using around 6,000 plus diapers with five to six changes every day. Those diapers are non-biodegradable, so the amount of waste and landfill we’re creating is immense. It takes about 500 years to decompose a diaper, and so the first one that was made is still somewhere around.
We’re talking a lot more about global warming now and how it’s affecting us. Small changes can help. So with NewBoo, we came up with reusable diapers, and if that number drops from 6,000 to about 15, it helps control wastage.
This was interesting and so I supported the idea. Even though I’m not a mother, I came in as a co-founder because I relate to the environment. I wanted to bring this change.
How are you looking to market NewBoo?
We want to create a digital presence and make people aware of the existence and benefits of the brand.
There’s one more issue in the diaper space. Diapers are used by 8% of the children. Others are using reusable cloth which is not good for the child as it could cause rashes. We’re looking to keep it organic.
Currently, we’re sending our packages to new moms. We’ve got a very good response from the trial packs which were sent out. We’re going in for a round of funding in the next couple of months too.
You've recently also become brand ambassador of Lux which makes you join the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, Hema Malini, Sridevi, Sharmila Tagore, Madhuri Dixit etc. How did this come about and was it a big personal win for you?
It's big because I’ve grown up watching Lux’s ‘khoobsurati ka raaz’ (the secret of beauty) advertisements. 
It’s amazing when you get associated with such a huge, reputed brand. The brand has lasted for so long and that means it’s credible too. I’m very grateful to team Lux for this opportunity. I’m marketing a new range of scrubs and body washes through which they are reaching out to Gen Z.
Going back memory lane - could you tell us about your first advertisement shoot? Which brand was it for and what was the experience?
It was for a jewellery brand and the whole experience was hilarious! I was 18 and just started modelling. I was the first one in the family who was trying to step into showbiz. 
While I was going for the shoot, my dad told me to be careful about what I would agree to do. 
I was paired with a man, who was supposed to hug me in the film. I stopped him and told him not to and stated that my dad would get really angry. I was petrified. I didn’t know what was too much. I think the whole setup, which was about a suhaag raat, with flowers on the bed, intimidated me. I thought my father wouldn’t send me for a shoot after that.
I told my father this many years later and we laughed about it. He thought I had positioned him as some villain.
Are you turning down any deals too? Any categories you won't be associated with?
I don’t think I’d endorse fried chicken. I don’t eat that kind of food, and in my view, it damages one's health. 
I’m health inclined. So if a category or a player like KFC would approach me, I would turn it down.
Having said that, I’m not saying I won’t endorse anything that’s unhealthy. It’s good to once in a while give in and we have our days when we have cheat meals. We also have to be honest - endorsements are our bread and butter and it’s a very competitive industry. There’s a huge demand for junk food and it’s a part of our lifestyle. How that’s packaged is important too. I know sugar isn’t good but I’d be lying if I say I don’t eat chocolates. How much of that we eat is important. What’s more important is conscious advertising and picking from the brands we resonate the most with and seeing how harmful they are.
It also comes down to how the advertisement is created. It’s about how you are selling the product.
So do you look to give inputs for the ads you appear in too and do you try getting involved in the creative process too?
Yes, I do try to. Sometimes you can make an impact, but certain brands don’t appreciate the input. It’s a battle.
Can you share what you enjoy most about starring in ads and what’s it that you don’t like? 
What I love is the quick reach. It’s a day’s shoot and then it’s plastered everywhere. Let’s be honest, we all love seeing our hoardings. I’m a girl who dreamt of being on them, so it’s lovely.
About the dislike bit, there’s nothing. If you’re not doing something that you don’t like, there’s nothing not to like.
Celebrities are under the scanner always through real-time feedback on social media. What's your view on social media, and in particular the trolls? How do you tackle the trolls?
Initially, they affected me a lot and there were instances when I hit back because it’s natural to get irritated.
When I was new on social media, I didn’t know how to handle negativity. My parents were affected as well. For them, it was somebody writing about their daughter. My dad, who is an ex-army man, would ask me to respond to them. I told him you can’t keep replying to people. 
At the end of the day, being an actor is like any other profession, you’re just doing your job. I didn’t want negativity around while I thought I was living my dream. Now, I have learnt to ignore the trolls. I realise you can’t make everyone happy.
There’s too much hatred in people and I don’t know why. I just hope they find something better to do in their lives and look to spread smiles instead.
You’re doing multiple things right now. A stake in a tennis team, the NewBoo partnership, and acting among others. But if you had to define 'brand Rakulpreet' in a sentence, what would it be?
‘Do what you believe in’. It’s about supporting and pushing what you believe in.
You mentioned how Lux was like a dream brand to work with. Any other dream brands?
I’d love to work with brands like L'Oréal, Lakme, MAC or Pantene. 
I can give you a list of brands I'd want to work with. I'm open to all of them! I’d love to endorse a green tea brand too!
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