My Double Life as a Bollywood Star

Stunning actress Sonia Gill won't quit her customer services job
ByAhlan! Live ReporterThursday , 11 September 2014
My Double Life as a Bollywood Star
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stunning Bollywood actress has been leading a double life working in a mundane customer services role. Sonia Gill is regularly mobbed by fans in India but comes home to a more ordinary life in her native England. She’s spent the past five years splitting her time between living the high life working as an actress and model and at home with her family in Oxford, where she grew up. The 27-year-old spent six weeks in India’s Punjab region last December, shooting romantic comedy Arsho, which was also released in British cinemas. But despite her increasing fame, the 27-year-old insists she has no plans to quit her day job.

In her customer services day job

Working 9 to 5 is “really nice”

Sonia works part-time for Oxfordshire County Council’s Blue Badge team, which issues parking permits for people with disabilities. “I actually enjoy both jobs,” she says. “I enjoy working at the council – the people are really nice. I like talking to people, so that’s an advantage working in customer services. I love everything about India and I have really good friends over there. The weather is great and the lifestyle is really good. It’s totally different to the UK – I have someone doing my cooking and cleaning. But coming back to the UK brings me back to reality. It keeps me grounded. It’s actually quite good for me because I’m quite a private person.”

Sonia’s career began when a scout spotted photos of her on Facebook while she was studying law at university, which led to modelling stints for Asian bridal magazines. At 22 she was offered a role in Let’s Play the Game and she flew to New York to shoot the Indian film. Later, she was offered roles in Mumbai, including television adverts and fashion shows, before starring in the movie Society. “I usually go to India for six months and do a lot of modelling and acting and the other six months I’m usually here because my family are here,” she adds. “I’m pretty well known over there because I do a lot of TV commercials and I’m the face of Santoor soap.”

Sonia, a graduate of England’s Buckinghamshire University, has even kept her alter ego a secret from her colleagues. “Nobody at work knew what I did – well, they didn’t until now!” she says. “They’re quite excited. They had no idea. I was hiding it, so it was quite a shock for them. I didn’t really want the attention because I’m quite shy.” While her colleagues may be stunned by her secret life, Sonia says she’s been starstruck herself, having made friends with some of Bollywood’s biggest stars. “I have made a lot of friends like Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar,” she gushes. “With my movie Society, most of the actors I grew up watching are in it. Dimple Kapadia played my mother – it was such a pleasure! She’s still so passionate about her work.”

Sonia in popular Indian flick Arsho

“I learned Hindi & hot dance moves”

As if two jobs in different parts of the world weren’t enough to juggle, Sonia’s also acquired language skills along the way. “I had to learn Hindi. I did it in a couple of months. I can converse with the locals but I still have a British accent, so that works against me, and then every time I go home people say I have an Indian accent!” 

Sonia also loves the dancing. “When we do dancing we have a lot of rehearsals. It’s quite tough. I’m not an experienced dancer but I love it. You get to do all sorts of different styles – one day you’re doing jazz, then you’re doing contemporary, then Bollywood.”

Despite guarding her privacy in the UK, Sonia recently decided to take her friends and family to watch her in action on the big screen. “When my movie Arsho was released, my family and friends and I watched it together in London’s Leicester Square. They were really excited – they were shouting and screaming at the screen and were pretty impressed. I don’t think they expected much from me!” 

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