She was a 16-year-old school student, when this Goan teenager decided to become a model. Now, years later, her lavani dance routine to the beats of Chingari, in the Salman Khan starrer Antim has propelled model–actress Waluscha De Sousa into national limelight.
“I was shooting for Crackdown Season 2 in a small village near Pune. I don’t think I understood what I was getting into till the film was released. The response a day after its release was overwhelming,” recounts Waluscha. “This is my first such experience — a phase where so many people, including cops and children, want to take pictures with me and are saying my name correctly given ‘Waluscha’ is an uncommon name.”
A mixed bag called life
Waluscha, who’s been a model and made her acting debut as Shah Rukh Khan’s wife in the 2016-Maneesh-Sharma directorial Fan, also anchored Nach Baliye. She’s now signed up to do another song-and-dance routine for a music video apart from doing a plethora of web shows and films.
“Chingari was perhaps the spark that I needed,” she says, smiling.
“Opportunities have been presenting themselves. I’ve to grab the best and maximize them, although at one point, I did get in with much hesitation, not knowing what to expect. But it’s about giving it your best; it’s a principle I’ve always followed.”
However, while the pandemic presented her with multiple opportunities, life’s been a mixed bag with personal losses too. “People in general have gone through their toughest periods. I lost my father and mother in a span of two months. Here were two healthy people in my life, who had no issues whatsoever but were taken away in a heartbeat. I had to sit down to think, ‘Man! All we had is this in our lifetime. We’ve to do the best we can with this life.’ That’s what I’ve adopted moving forward. It’s made me realize that I’ve many responsibilities and just one lifetime. Given that I’ve a family to look after, it’s about savoring every moment of it. Life is so fickle; it’s gone tomorrow,” she says.
Having married at the age of 19 to another model, Marc Robinson, Waluscha, who has three kids from the marriage — Chanel, Sienna and Brooklyn — moved out on her own when the couple separated in 2013.
Getting a foot in the door
Waluscha’s fate reset itself when she walked into casting director Shanoo Sharma’s office at Yash Raj Films. “I think Fan was my foot in the door,” she says. “And Crackdown brought me recognition. Critics and audiences loved it. I picked the role because no one expected me to do something negative. I play a simple housewife who’s actually a terrorist working with the ISIS. Going ahead, I’ll pick roles that people don’t expect to see me in,’ she adds.
Interestingly, little Waluscha, whose father was a lawyer, had wanted to be a clinical psychologist. “I was studying to be a clinical psychologist but was always interested in arts and sports, which grew organically. But there’s a timing for you in life and no matter how you try, things happen as they have to,” says Walsucha.
Gears changed when she responded to an ad from designer Wendell Rodricks, the late Goan designer who died last year.
“I was in tenth grade and heard that Wendell was looking for new faces. I didn’t know how to put on a liner or have any makeup. I met a friend halfway to get the liner put. I didn’t even tell my family as modeling was taboo then. I met Wendell in my school uniform. He held my hand and was my backbone till I entered the industry,” she says.
They say late bloomers are the best, as is in Waluscha’s case. She has Escaype Love, a tech-thriller, Crackdown Season 2 and an Abbas-Mustan film Penthouse.
“I hope I live up to the expectation of late bloomers being the best,” she adds with a chuckle. “I’m pretty pleased with how things are turning out now. I’m a little more fearless now and OTT has opened doors….”