Sarah Jane Dias has been a beauty pageant winner, a popular VJ, singer and an actress in many Hindi, Tamil and Telugu movies. Her latest performance in Made in Heaven Season 2 is being praised all over. She is also playing one of the lead roles in the action series The Freelancer (on Disney + Hotstar). In an interview with City Times, Sarah talks about her strong character in Made in Heaven and her struggle while going through clinical depression and anxiety.

In the last episode of 'Made in Heaven' Season 2, you play the Christian bride, Julie Mendez, a successful woman who is marrying  a partner ten years younger. It is totally unanticipated when she asks him to run away. What was the most endearing quality of the character for you?

I think just that! That she is selfless enough to ask her groom to pick himself up on her wedding day. Most women, including myself, would not be able to do that. It will be like, “You are not leaving me at the altar on my wedding day.” But I think it was interesting to play that part because it made me think of things from another perspective and I think that was the most endearing part about Julie.

She asks her groom to leave, and it is not out of any anger. Quite a filmy moment...

I love that moment when she is sitting in the tent and staring at her wedding dress contemplating what to do. It was beautifully shot and what they managed to get out of me in that scene. Sometimes when you’re not saying anything that actually means so much because you’re with yourself, to me, that was the moment.

Then the season ends with your heartwarming speech about self-love. Did it resonate with you as a woman?

It resonated with me as a human being. I think I’ve always stood for self-love, self-confidence and valuing yourself above everything, with humanity and without being selfish. If your cup is not full, you can’t fill anybody else’s. That’s what Julie does for Roman. She tells him, “You are really talented” and she is only able to say that because her cup is full. She is a successful, confident woman. She is even paying for the wedding.

And from romance to action. Your next series 'The Freelancer' (on Disney + Hotstar) is an action thriller. What are you doing there?

I am doing many action-packed things. I am playing a CIA officer. It’s a dream come true because I love action as a genre. I love all action movies right from western classics to Bollywood. I am a big fan of the Raid movies from Hollywood. It might sound like a cliche but the ‘warrior woman vibe’ is what I resonate with.

You've also talked a lot about mental health awareness. What makes this issue so important for you?

I’ve been vocal about the significance of wellness as a whole. Mental wellness became very important to me when I got diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. It happened to me a year after I suddenly lost my father due to heart attack. I have never spoken about it until now. This happened a few years ago. It was very scary, and I went through some really dark times. I am no longer finicky or depressed. I have mild to negligent depression and mild bouts of anxiety now. I did take medication for it. I did take Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, with a psychologist for two years. I fixed my diet, my sleeping patterns, workout, everything. So when I started to feel better, I was acutely aware of this journey, and I realized there are so many people still suffering in silence leading to suicides and so many people who thought they would never get out of it. I know this as I have got out of it and know it is not easy. So I have to share my story. It might help or inspire other people. I’ve spoken at events and shared my story. People were moved by the experiences I went through.

Talking about that dark phase in your life, is it cathartic?

100 per cent. Every time, it’s cathartic. That’s why acting is cathartic too. Living various experiences and telling stories. When I tell a story it’s cathartic for someone listening because he might be going through it.

You were born and brought up in Muscat. How did this acting bug happen and why did you choose Bollywood?

I was always a performer even as a little girl in Muscat. Always on stage in the Indian School, Al Wadi Al Kabir and Muscat, participating in fancy dress contests and fashion shows all through school and college. Honestly, it was a natural progression to become a VJ. When we were in the Middle East, all our fashion and music influences came through MTV and Channel V, so a VJ was the first thing I wanted to be. That dream was realized. I also wanted to be Miss India since the time my mom and I watched beauty pageants together. I decided to pursue that dream and that too came to fruition. Acting was a natural progression. I didn’t choose that specific part. The opportunity came my way, and I took it.

You were a much sought-after VJ. Those were different times. We feel those days of MTV and Channel V domination should come again...

You know, I say this a lot — the VJs in those days were the real influencers. The OG influencers. People on MTV before me influenced me, my thought process, music choices, and a whole generation of viewers who till date come to me to compliment and talk fondly about that era.

We remember your debut was more than ten years ago in the movie 'Game' (2011) with Abhishek Bachchan. A few more films followed it and now you are seen in OTT shows. Are you happy with the way your career has progressed, or do you expect something different, something more?

I am ambitious, so I always want more but I am also very happy and grateful with what I have achieved. The past few years have deepened my gratitude. The way my family and I survived after losing my father, I just have deep gratitude. Having said that, I am also trying to balance that with wanting more. I heard this quote: “The fastest way to get where you want to go is slowly”. It is an amazing quote.

Copyright © 2022 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (