In Bed With Elena Fernandes: “White noise is not for me”

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“My body is around 27-28 and my soul is around 650 years old,” quips actor-model and Ted Talk speaker Elena Fernandes, who acted in Jawaani Jaaneman. “It’s more like me to be a barrister than to be starring in a film alongside Arjun Kapoor or Saif Ali Khan or Ranveer Singh. I never thought I would do films,” she adds, confessing that she’s a supergeek and an academic at heart, having done her masters in international law. “I like exams,” she exclaims. “I could study for the rest of my life. I was that annoying person in the exam hall who always asked for more paper.”

The brainy bombshell is unabashed about being “authentically weird” and says she doesn’t care what others think of her. “People think I am a bit of a loner but I just enjoy my own company. My brain cracks me up—I’ll be walking down the street and just burst out laughing,” she laughs.

List three things you are proud of.

1. My biggest achievement would definitely be my charity work. I finance mass sterilisations of strays in India. Yeah, it’s stressful, but worth it because then you don’t see kittens and puppies dying, and you’re teaching people to be more appreciative of life. I rehabilitate extreme cruelty cases, so I have become the real-life version of a cat lady. I flew from Mumbai to London with my 11 cats because you can’t just put them back on the street!

2. I am proud of my work ethic and my resilience when backed into a corner.

3. And I’m proud of my driver Pradeep because he now knows everything about animal welfare.

What’s the one thing that you don’t have on your bedside table, but you would like to?

Probably a man waiting there with breakfast. That would be quite cute.

Have you learnt the art of sleeping on a flight?

I can sleep on a flight. I can actually sleep in the most awkward, uncomfortable positions. I can pretty much sleep anywhere.

 What are you reading in bed right now?

Operative 66: Agent. Assassin. Traitor? I love conspiracy books.

 Which perfume is on your bedside table?

They vary from Dior to Zara to something which I have picked up because it smells nice and I’ve decided I’m going to roll with it.

 Your guilty pleasures?

Guylian chocolates. Though once, I ate an entire box of Cocoa Puffs cereal on a flight.

Describe yourself in a hashtag.

#GodsFavourite because I just am!

Bedside stories

Do you need white noise to fall asleep?

I’ve heard white noise recordings before—it’s kind of weird, and not for me.

Your midnight munch?

Cookies. My favourite are praline chocolates from Harrods.

What do you wear to bed?

I don’t wear anything to bed because I live by myself.

Do you talk in your sleep?

I do sleep talk when I’m extremely tired. It’s the only time my subconscious—the chatty little thing—gets to reveal everything.

This or that?

Podcasts or television?

Podcasts, because I am always walking, especially in London, and listening to Rob Dial.

Sports or cultural activities?

Sports—I’ve always been super athletic.

Ramp walks or red carpets?

Red carpet. I do like the ramp, but I get nervous that I am going to trip and fall.

Peanuts or cashew nuts?

Macadamia nuts.

From HT Brunch, March 6, 2022

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