10 Minutes with: Freida Pinto
March 20, 2015
After becoming a fixture on the big screen with the critically acclaimed Slumdog Millionaire, Freida Pinto has quickly become an international film star and household name. Up next, Pinto will appear in Terrence Malick’s upcoming film Knight of Cups, opposite Christian Bale and Natalie Portman, the educational humanity documentary Girl Rising, Desert Dancers detailing the start of an Iranian dance company amidst the country’s politically volatile climate, and The Effects of Blunt Force Trauma opposite Mickey Rourke and Ryan Kwanten, all set for 2015 release. Here, Pinto shares her thoughts on inspirational women and defines noise.
NM: Your first movie, “Slumdog Millionaire,” won 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and last year you were part of the Nobel Peace Prize presentation to Malala Yousafzai. It’s hard to imagine two more different peak experiences.
FP: These two experiences hardly compare. My first feature film, “Slumdog Millionaire,” put me on the map and opened the door to many incredible opportunities including crossing paths with Malala, who shares a similar passion of representing girls around the world. There’s not one bigger than the other.
NM: We are celebrating “noisemakers” — bold women with bold voices. Was there someone in your past who inspired you to find your voice?
FP: There have been a handful of people, not just one person who has inspired me to find my voice. My parents, especially my father, taught me that if you have something to say, to say it. Additionally, my grandfather always stressed the importance to be curious and challenge the status quo. Of course, public figures like Oprah Winfrey have also inspired me. I grew up in India watching her talk show and she played a key role in encouraging me to identify and share my voice.
NM: You’ve been involved with Gucci’s Chime for Change campaign; Girl Rising, supporting the idea that educating girls can transform societies; and Plan International. How do you choose the causes you support?
FP: Choosing causes is very simple for me – I align myself with issues that are most pressing. For example, with Girl Rising – gender inequality has always been my calling. As a girl who was fortunate to have a great education – I advocate for girls to have the same basic rights. To be at a great event like Neiman Marcus’ Make Some Noise is a privilege because I get to have my voice heard.
NM: You’re active on Facebook, Twitter (@BecauseImFreida) and Instagram (@freidapinto). What’s the best thing about connecting with your fans through social media?
FP: Social media is an extremely helpful tool. With India’s Daughter recent debut, which I am an Associate Producer for, it enabled me to hear my audiences’ opinions, the good and the bad.
NM: Is this your first time at SXSW? What are you most excited about?
FP: Yes! I am so excited to be attending SXSW and part of the Make Some Noise panel. I love that SXSW is a mixture of every medium of art – from movies to music. I want to experience it all.
NM: You modeled for a time. May we talk fashion?
FP: Modeling led to a lot of exposure to amazing artists, especially Indian designers who have really shaped my fashion style today.
NM: Favorite designer?
FP: It’s so hard to pick just one. From India: Rohit Gandhi & Rahul Khanna and Manish Arora. Internationally: Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu rank amongst my favorites.