When Niti Taylor started work on her first series Pyaar Ka Bandhan in 2009, it was just a bit fun, but when she saw herself on TV a few weeks later, her attitude changed.
She fell in love with acting and became fascinated with the psychology of each character, including their behaviour patterns.
Fast forward to the present and the talented 21-year-old has continued her journey with good roles, including a lead in hit serial Kaisi Yeh Yaariyan.
Such has been her momentum, Niti was the highest placed newcomer in Eastern Eye’s list of 50 Sexiest Asian Women for 2015.
Eastern Eye caught up with the hot-right-now actress to find out more about her…
Can you remember the first time that you faced a camera?
I was very nervous and there were three or four people staring at me. (Laughs) During that first audition, I forgot my lines and didn’t know how to give an introduction, but they showed me. It was a very different experience. You can ask me to do any scene and I will perform it, but till date I can’t do an audition properly. It gives me a fright and I have to run away.
How do you look back on your time in TV?
My time in television has been wonderful. With every serial I have learnt something new and got to play a new character in a new family with new bonding. It’s been a beautiful journey.
You started work as a teenager and are still young. Has it been difficult to balance everyday life with work?
It hasn’t been all rosy. As a working actor I had an unstable schedule balancing work with college and a social life. While education was important, I could hardly attend college, but luckily my friends gave me all the notes and helped me out. I managed to complete my studies, which I’m so happy about.
Today I love my job and give it utmost priority, so it is very easy to balance my everyday life with work. (Laughs) In fact, if I’m not working for longer than a week I start getting bored and irritable because how much can you shop, clean your house or go for movies? A week’s break is more than enough for me.
How much of a turning point was hit serial Kaisi Yeh Yaariyan?
It has changed my life entirely in a good way. I changed as a person and grew as an actor. I didn’t know what it was like being famous and didn’t even think people would love me or appreciate my work so much. Kaise Yeh Yaariyan has given me tremendous love and success. It has made me reach where I never imagined myself to be.
What has been your fondest memory of playing Nandini on the show?
There are so many. I would be there the earliest on the days I had my call time! (Laughs) The make-up dadas and hair didis would be like: ‘Now we have to come to work early because Nandini is always there before time in the mornings’.
I loved the whole energy in the morning, especially greeting everyone. The fondest memory close to my heart would be playing Nandini Murthy. I loved every bit of it. She had so much scope, so I got to play all the shades.
There seems to be a genuine friendship between the cast. How much did that help?
When you work for 12-13 hours a day, it’s like a mini-family on set, so it does help a lot. You become comfortable with the other actors and the connection is easier. Then it becomes super fun to do scenes.
Did you ever imagine the show would get such a fan following?
Honestly speaking, I never imagined it because we thought our show wasn’t promoted well. I was so scared that no one would watch, which is a natural and common feeling. But everyone’s hard work paid off when it picked up and went on top of the list. It also made me a youth icon. I still can’t thank everyone enough for the love and support.
How did you feel about being voted as the highest-placed newcomer in the 50 Sexiest Asian Women in the World list for 2015?
I couldn’t stop screaming. I was overwhelmed with excitement and couldn’t hold it in. Words can’t describe how it felt. After working hard day and night, giving it my all and then getting ranked this high felt fabulous. I would like everyone to feel what I felt; it was unreal.
You must be pleased so many girls voted for you?
I would like to say a big thank you to all who voted for me. I’m totally over the moon as they have always showered me with abundant love and support. These girls truly make my day!
What, according to you, makes a woman sexy?
Women with genuine loving kindness. She must be full of charity and persistent in understanding and uplifting others without guile or pride. These are qualities that are key.
However you can’t deny that sometimes all it takes to decide a sexy woman is something simple like her entrance. The way she holds herself as she walks, defined by her confidence or the grace portrayed by the movement in her dance or etiquette.
Looking ahead, what kind of roles would you love to play?
I would want to experiment with the kind of roles that I get to play in the future. I want to do something that is very different and challenging. I could even do a negative character or maybe something like Priyanka Chopra and Ranbir Kapoor played in Barfi. Maybe even a part as a psychopath.
Is making the move to cinema in the plan?
Oh yes, for sure, if I get a chance.
Who are your acting idols?
Priyanka Chopra, because she has achieved so much in life. She’s a self-made woman and tries to experiment so much with her roles. She has so much dedication and determination. It’s a treat to watch her and I admire her so much.
If you could be romanced by any hero on the big screen, who would it be?
Shahid Kapoor or Zac Efron. They have killer smiles and are so cute.
What would a guy need to do to impress you?
I would always go for men who are caring, gentle and helpful. So if he wants to impress me at work or at a restaurant, he needs to be courteous, whether it is to a waiter, to someone elderly or a work colleague. He needs to do good things. I appreciate these qualities in a man.
Tell us something not many people know about you?
I started cooking because I love to eat and it was the best way to have good healthy meals. I keep cooking now because I love being able to experiment with new ways of preparing new ingredients and recipes.
The process of smelling and tasting while I cook makes the whole thing enjoyable, and when other people take part in it, it makes it even better.
Cooking for friends and family is one of the biggest ways I can show love and appreciation. It makes me feel good to give them something tasty and enjoyable I made.
What are your beauty essentials?
Waterproof mascara is my absolute go-to for any kind of look. Blotting sheets, especially for when it is hot and humid; they’re not just for oily skin. Lip balm always always always! I’m also a perfume addict, the more, the merrier. In terms of beauty tips, I drink a lot of water to keep myself hydrated. It keeps my skin supple and radiant.
What is your best quality?
This is a difficult question for someone to answer I think, but I’ll give it a shot. I would say my best quality is my friendliness. I always try to be positive, polite and friendly to people I meet, especially the first time. I try to continue that regardless of who they are. I try to treat everyone in a friendly manner. I enjoy being friendly, so it’s not really work to me and just a part of my personality.
I’m also considerate and caring. I’m a good listener. I’m always there to listen if my friends are having a bad day or just need to talk. Even though I’m not always there in person, I do my best to be a good friend.
Is there one movie that you have watched loads of times?
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) is probably one of the greatest love stories ever told in cinema. If you missed this movie, you have missed the best movie made in Bollywood history. This movie never bores me. I have seen DDLJ over a hundred times (really). I know most of the dialogues as well. It’s fantastic!
The plot was wonderful and the acting was great. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol did their best ever performance. The songs were awesome and the direction was cool. A must-see for those who adore romantic flicks.
What is the best piece of advice that anyone has given you?
Hope is not a strategy. My dad says this whenever someone says: ‘I hope this works out’ or something. It means you can’t rely on something working out. If you want it to work, do something to make it happen!
Today, what inspires you most?
My mum is the most important person in my life. She has inspired me to show the world that I can still learn from the mistakes I make no matter how bad they are. My mum has inspired me to be strong and to be there for family. She is a big motivation in my life. She is standing behind me on my positive decisions in life and confronting me on the negative ones.
Sometimes inspiration just happens when you are least expecting it. You see, hear or experience something that moves you deeply. That’s the purest kind of inspiration, just like my mum.
Finally, do you want to give a message to your fans?
I wish I could thank each fan personally, but this is the best I can do. Each one of you has shown so much support since day one.
The people in my life and my fans are the most rewarding part of my career. You are the driving force and inspiration behind it all and make my work more fun, even on those down days. A big thank you. I love you and keep smiling.