Fighter to the Core

Accidental actress, social activist and a cancer survivor. Words seldom used in a single sentence to describe a person. Lisa Ray, however, is all this and much more. In the city for a promotional event, the 40-year-old Lisa disarms you with her personality. “Oh! I remember you. We met last year in the city for my show OMG,” she exclaims, describing Hyderabad as “the capital of good manners in India” in her Twitter updates.

Turning the big 4-0 this year, Lisa Ray says, “Perhaps it’s because of my past experiences or just that I am a late bloomer, I feel my best inning has just started.” Talking about her impending marriage to banker fiancé Jason Dehni, Lisa says, “I wish I could invite my Hyderabadi friends for the wedding. It’ll be in California in October this year. But keeping in mind the location and the busy schedule of my friends, it might be difficult. But we are planning to host a reception in early 2013 in India,” she says.

About her wedding dress that will be designed by Wendell Rodricks, she says. “Wendell is a dear friend and I love his approach for my dress.

He asked me, ‘what is the one emotion that you feel right now the most? Is it happy, sexy or anything else’? And I said sexy-romantic and that’s what my dress is going to portray,” she says.

The surprise guest at her wedding is going to be her birthday-cum-late engagement present Coco, a Persian cat. “Coco is in Boston right now with her dad (Jason), as he’s spending the American holiday with his family,” she says. Her first cat in recent years, Lisa can’t stop talking about Coco. “Jason hates cats but I am impressed that for me he managed to get over his cat phobia. And if she behaves, Coco will be there at our wedding,” she says, adding, “Eight years back, when I was living in Mumbai, I had to give away my cats due to my constant travel plans.

So having Coco in my life is also a symbol of how I am settling down.” Apart from working on her memoir, developing projects in India and Canada and writing her own script, Lisa is also the current host of Top Chef Canada. “I am the host and one of the judges on the show. The best thing about the show is how I get to work with some of the finest chefs in the world and even get an opportunity to represent Indian cuisine,” says Lisa.

Though not a “fantastic chef”, Lisa admits to having tremendous knowledge about food based on her experiences from around the world and also from the influence of her parents. But with good food comes the task of remaining fit. “With my wedding fast approaching and next season of Top Chef left to shoot, I am going to have a difficult time staying in shape,” she laughs.

Lisa Ray was also named in Hello Canada’s “50 Most Beautiful Stars” list in the May 2012 issue. “Even though I have been on the list before, this time it was very encouraging with cancer in my past,” she says.

Talking about her association with Rado, Lisa says, “I have been working with this brand for the past 10 years and it’s like a second marriage to me,” she laughs, adding, “It’s my privilege to be inaugurating their new store. The brand stands for ‘quality material that lasts’, something that I feel describes even me.”

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