Macau: She was a teenager when she won the coveted Miss Asia Pacific title in 2000, since then, Dia Mirza has been smiling away as an actor, social worker and now, as a producer. But she is glad that she has been able to evade the "pretense" which often comes with stardom.

You have walked a long way. How does it really affect you as a person?
Stardom sometimes can bring a lot of pretension in your life. I've noticed that a lot of people around you change, and that is scary. I've tried to stay the same. It (stardom) has bothered me. I will be dishonest if I say it hasn't. But it hasn't overwhelmed me or destroyed me.
Do you think on broadening your horizons with filmdom? You have also opened a production house.
I have given my shot to acting. I gave a good 10 years to acting. Now my horizons are expanding and I'm exploring myself. I'm optimistic and happy with my company. Cinema is my passion, but I will not destroy my self-esteem by being a part of films which I am not a part of.

But unfortunately you could not match the success of Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra.
I've never been crushed by the industry's perception. I've always been motivated by the audience's perception. People love me, and no one can change that. From where I came and how I started, I've got more than what I could have asked for. I have only gratitude.

But if you compare me with my contemporaries, then maybe I didn't do many big films, or I did big films, and they didn't do well.

So has there been a fear inside you about all this stardom?
I am bothered only about competing with self. If there's fear, you will never grow. When you are competing with other people, you have fear and then you can never grow. And film offers never stopped coming my way, it’s just that nothing was that exciting enough.

What you have to say about the young talent that is pouring in the industry?
Yes so many young girls who have come into the industry now who have been a part of successful films. I think all the new and good filmmakers are looking to cast them. This can be extremely terrifying for an actor.

So do you think people will remember you if you plan to be away from films?
The one thing which I have earned which no one can take away from me is my hard work. My social work gives me so much inspiration. It is much more than what my films have given me," said Dia, who works with different organizations and causes for society's benefit regularly.



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