With over 46 million followers on Instagram, the actor talks about her social media strategy and her criteria to endorse any product

Jacqueline Fernandez spent several months of the lockdown in a Panvel farmhouse, reading, practising yoga and riding horses. In October, she crossed 46 million followers on Instagram (@ jacquelinef143), making her one of the top 10 Indian celebrities on the photo sharing app. Amidst this, the actor also managed to find time to work on endorsements; she is the new face of Colorbar cosmetics.

Incidentally, with limitations on filming during lockdown, many of her sponsored campaigns have taken on a personal angle. A Samsung phone ad focussed on health, while Listerine shared her morning routine, and Drools ‘sponsored’ pet food for the strays she feeds outside her home. Brands have consistently tied in with the actor’s interests in fashion, fitness and animal welfare to utilise her massive reach on social media (14.8 million on Twitter and 22 million on Facebook).

As most influencers will tell you, content creation isn’t easy. Yet Fernandez confirms on email that she is very involved in the process. “I think it is important when you are endorsing and representing a brand. You need to be 100% truthful… so you need to be sure that it is trustworthy. I deeply believe in environmental conservation and I pick brands that are against animal testing,” she says, adding that Colorbar’s cruelty-free tag was a big factor in signing on for their ‘Be who you want to be’ campaign. For fans of mask-friendly make-up, she has a tip: the brand’s Flawless Full Cover Concealer for under eyes and finish with their Sheer Mattifying Loose Powder.

Getting personal on social media

Even being a mid-level influencer is a taxing job, requiring a dedicated team to coordinate campaigns and schedule shoots for different platforms. Add filming on location and movie promotions to the mix, and it becomes more complicated. So, it is surprising when Fernandez says, “I manage my Instagram account all by myself. I feel I’m able to engage with followers on a personal level and that is what makes me keep it as real and natural as possible.” In an earlier interview with Deccan Chronicle, she has mentioned the presence of a social media team that “transforms [my] thoughts or vision on the page and helps with content creation”. She also turns to professionals for her YouTube videos and her new podcast, Feels Good, which she co-hosts with American vlogger, Amanda Cerny.

While the 35-year-old is comfortable with her online persona, she isn’t blind to its negative aspects, where people measure a celebrity’s success by their following. Fernandez is irked by the fact that if they don’t have a good following, it is taken as a factor to judge one’s success. She may have had a rough few years professionally — Race 3, her last big-screen appearance in 2018, was a box office hit but was panned by critics, as was the more recent Netflix film, Mrs Serial Killer (May 2020) — but it hasn’t diminished her popularity online. Trolls are an unfortunate by product of this. How does she deal with them? She’d rather not waste time on people who “do not make a valid point or even express an opinion”.

And she does have enough to keep herself busy this year and the next. The Sri Lankan actor will be seen in yet another sequel, Salman Khan-starrer Kick 2 directed by Sajid Nadiadwala, as well as Ranveer Singh-Rohit Shetty’s Cirkus. “I am currently shooting for Bhoot Police in Himachal Pradesh [alongside Saif Ali Khan] and we had a lovely Diwali here with the cast and crew,” she concludes.

Lockdown habits

“This pandemic has helped me realise that life is too short. We need to value each day to the fullest and make the most of each day we are living,” writes Fernandez, backing up this somewhat clichéd response with what she has put into practise:

I like to start my day with a round of oil pulling using organic coconut oil.

Dahi and honey face pack once a week is my go-to home remedy for an instant glow.

Add a Vitamin C-enriched serum to your basic skincare routine.

I try to find interesting ways to make my meals skin and hair-friendly — like incorporating flax seeds, prunes, oats and bananas.

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