The queen of Bollywood Deepika Padukone took the stage at the Museum of the Future in Dubai on Monday night to accept one of the first-ever TIME100 Impact Awards—and shared a powerful message about following one’s heart.
Presented with the award by fellow actor and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador Kat Graham, Padukone graciously shared her own experiences as one of India’s most successful—and most scrutinized—stars. She said that while it was difficult to tell her parents that she was giving up a career as a badminton player at age 16, she more vividly remembers promising them that she’d make them proud.
“Little did I imagine that 20 years hence, I’d be standing here this evening at the TIME100 Impact Awards,” Padukone said. These events convinced Padukone that she had made the right decision, she said. “For all the times I’ve felt lost, confused, or disappointed, it is recognitions such as these that remind me that I am indeed on the right path, at least for the most part, and validate my whole belief of living a life that is driven by purpose, authenticity, and mindfulness.”
Padukone said that she’s learned the importance of “follow[ing] your bliss.” Paraphrasing a quote by the actor Sacha Baron Cohen, she noted that actors’ lives can be “deeply unstable,” and that “you need luck, you need talent, and you need to work your butt off.”
Padukone has a reputation for being a highly-rated actor. However, she also founded the LiveLoveLaugh Foundation in 2015. She started it to help people with mental illnesses and fund research. LiveLoveLaugh has many benefits, including free counseling and psychotherapy. It also offers a training program to help primary doctors identify and treat psychological conditions.
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