After the harrowing 2020, everyone had hoped this year would be better but then the second wave hit us. India is still struggling with the rise in cases and shortage of vaccines. Like others, Nikkiey Chawla, India’s first transgender model-actor, shares that this year started on a note of difficulty. She met with an accident in February and was in bed rest for a long time.
“I slipped down the stairs and fractured my feet. From February to April I was on bed rest. Now I’m much better and can move, make videos and talk to people. I think I’ve got habituated with lockdown thanks to the last one. Usually, I love staying at home and going out if there’s work. So it didn’t really affect me… The problem is that we’re out of work, we sit home full day watching TV, so that is getting irritating right now,” she says.
Nikkiey talks about many actors and technicians who lost their employment. She also lost out on opportunities.
“I got an offer for a web series titled Made in Heaven 2. But God knows the reason why I could not make it into the final list. But it’s okay, everything happens for a reason. I’m a very positive person, but yes the financial crunch is there. I am not an actor who works throughout the year. So last year when things resumed I started working but then again the second wave happened. I also don’t have my own business, so I am kind of dependable on what I earn every month from acting, modelling, collaboration and live streaming. But then there is scarcity. I’m also very bad at saving money,” she adds.
She had earlier got the opportunity to work in the film Kaalakaandi but she was rejected the same because she didn’t want to play a transgender prostitute. There are other offers that she has turned down in the past because she does not want to play parts that show “the LGBTQI+ community in a bad light”.
“I am a proud woman today. I’m gorgeous and sexy and would like to do such roles where I can challenge myself and my portrayal will inspire many women, and trans people because they look up to me as their role model. I will never do roles that hurt the sentiments of my fans as they are the ones who complete me. As an actor also I would love to do the role of a ‘Gundi’, a female villain in a movie, web series or short film. It is very easy to portray positive roles but difficult to convince in vamp characters,” she adds.
Ask if she dealt with any biases in the industry and Nikkiey replies, “Yes, in fact, I have been facing many biases since childhood. But there’s no point in talking about the past. But yes in the industry when I started my career as a makeup artist, I had to hear a lot of things and I failed to understand this behaviour. Maybe because the industry was not yet open to gay people, some would be like we don’t need a transwoman as a makeup artist. When I audition for reality shows or movies, they show my journey to gain TRP but then reject me later. They won’t say no to my face but stop responding to my calls and messages. But I never lost hope and thought how long can you push me away? I knew I am a powerhouse of entertainment, and I marched ahead,” she wraps up.