For Jacqueline Fernandes, it was a childhood dream to be an actress. For someone who started earning quite young and turned independent in her teens, Jacqueline dabbled with quite a few jobs, mostly related to glamour world, before Bollywood came calling with Sujoy Ghosh's ALADIN for this Sri Lankan beauty.
"Though I belong to Sri Lankan origin, I was born and raised in Bahrain. I did my high school from there as well. Later I went for college degree in Australia and it was only after that I came to Sri Lanka. I started living with my grand parents and joined a TV station there", recalls Jacqueline who has hosted quite a few shows on TV in both Bahrain and Sri Lanka.
"I have been on TV since age the age of 14 years. I co-hosted a fitness show in Bahrain which was a weekend program that lasted for 3 months", she adds, "Later I graduated to being the main reporter for the Bahrain summer festival".
From the world of glamour, she moved to on to serious affairs once she landed in Sri Lanka. Looking at the political turmoil in the country, she turned to reporting and political investigation.
"This stage of my life was an eye opener since I had never grown up in Sri Lanka. Studying the situation there and talking about it in front of the camera was an education by itself. I started interviewing politicians and became more and more hopeful as we always had positive talks about better prospects for peace".
Meanwhile she hadn't quite given up her childhood dream of being an actress.
Laughs Jacqueline, "As a kid there are so many alternatives that one starts exploring for future. Of course, being in the glamour world was something that was always there at the top of my mind. I wanted to be a huge actress ever since I was an 8 years old. Of course as I grew up, studies and television took precedent but movies were never meant to be far away".
Luckily for her, it was almost a fairy tale journey as she found herself stepping into Miss Sri Lanka beauty pageant in 2006. Her parents were quite forward thinking as well and everyone gave her a go ahead and explore this new world awaiting her. After winning the Miss Sri Lanka crown, she moved on to participate in Miss Universe contest at Los Angeles. There wasn't any looking back from this point on and things perked up soon after as she did a fashion show on her return.
"There was quite some coverage of this fashion event in Sri Lanka as there were representatives from media and modeling agencies from across the globe, including India. I was advised to shift base to India and get a new life rolling for me. I was game for it and packed my bags for India. It was almost a fairy tale journey as I met quite a few people here. Movies too happened quite early when Sujoy (Ghosh) confirmed that I was his Jasmine for ALADIN, Jacqueline goes down the memory lane.
The dream that she carried for over the years is all set to come true when her ALADIN arrives on the big screen. A co-production of Sunil Lulla from Eros International and Sujoy Ghosh's Boundscript, ALADIN stars Amitabh Bachchan as 'Genius - The Genie', Sanjay Dutt in the role of 'Ringmaster' and Riteish Deshmukh in the title role of ALADIN. With music by Vishal and Shekhar, ALADIN is all set for a 30th October release.