Cosmo: Tell us about your growing up years...what were you like as a little girl?
Alaya Furniturewala: “I was a highly, highly introverted child. I had massive social anxiety...to the point that till Grade I, not a single person in school had even heard my voice! My parents had to take me to a doctor, and be like, ‘She doesn’t talk!’. At home, I’d be all chirpy, but would go into a shell the moment I stepped out. Gradually, I began opening up...and now, as you can see, I don’t stop talking. But I had a really happy childhood... And even though my parents got divorced when I was very young, I only have great memories. They made sure it was a normal, fun childhood...but with balance. I had freedom, but also discipline. So I could go out, hang with friends, do my thing, as long as there were no complaints and my grades were in check. I was very obedient, anyway. Even now, I’m very strict about following rules, and I’m fairly responsible!”
C: You’ve been brought up in an unconventional set-up, by independent parents. How has that impacted and shaped you?
AF: “I am extremely independent myself, and that’s something that I’ve got from my parents. I share a wonderful relationship with both of them, and they, as individuals, have taught me so much about life, through their own experiences. They have stayed friends, and I’ve seen them help and support each other despite not being together—that’s been a huge influence, too. Also, my mother has never let stereotypes deter her. I’ve learnt to be my own person from her. She’s also been one of my biggest support systems. Even when times weren’t all that great, or things weren’t as smooth as she would have liked for us to believe, she never let us feel anything was amiss. And she always dealt with things with so much kindness and love. So, no matter what’s going on in life, one has to be happy and optimistic. And strong and kind. That’s what I have learnt from her, and that’s how I want to be.”
C: When did you realise you want to be an actor?
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