Everybody called Regina Cassandra Tollywood’s next Genelia D’Souza — that sweet, bubbly, girl-next-door. But admittedly, the actress hated that tag. She has been working hard to shed the sweet girl image for some time now, and a racy picture that she posted on Facebook recently proves that the transformation is now complete. the new Regina Cassandra is a far cry from the cute Telugu ammayi we’ve seen onscreen. She’s not just uber stylish, but also smoking hot. And unlike her acting career, which sort of fell into her lap when she wasn’t even looking for it, this metamorphosis from girl-next-door to sultry-siren is no accident, she admits. “Frankly, this girl-next-door tag was quite upsetting. I mean, people were typecasting me, and that is dangerous for any performer,” she says, as she settles down for a chat that was long due.
So, tell us what’s this transformation all about… For the longest time, I heard people say, ‘this girl can’t carry off a glamorous role…’, ‘she is only fit for girl-next-door characters’. And I believe, over the years I’ve broken the mould with the variety of roles I have done. All I wanted was a chance, and yet here they were ready to write me off. I wanted to prove these people wrong, because at the end of the day I’m an actor and I wanted to be versatile.
Therefore, this ‘new Regina’, who’s high on style and glamour? To be honest, I never really understood this concept of being glamourous or doing glam roles in the early part of my career. I’ve always been a girl who is comfortable in my shirts and jeans in real life. I don’t really fuss about my clothes and appearance that much. But like I said, some three years ago, people actually said horrendous things like I can’t look ‘nice’.
That’s when I decided to get myself a stylist! I was like, ‘let’s live up to the image of an ‘actress’. And might as well, since I have all these events to attend and appearances to make…! So, now it’s her headache to make me look good (laughs). I like hiring people to do things that I can’t be too bothered about doing myself; that way I don’t have to stress about it. My job is to go for shoots, do good work and come back. But I ensure that the final call is always mine, whether it’s the clothes I wear or the scripts I choose. I’m stubborn like that, I like to live life on my terms.
The transformation seems to have landed you a handful of films… Oh yeah! Currently, I’m shooting for Subramaniam For Sale with Sai Dharam Tej. I have another film with Gopichand lined up and also a film with Manchu Manoj. Thankfully, the fourth film with Vishnu Manchu will still take some time. It feels great when people like your work. And I surely take pride in that; it not only makes me happy but encourages me to do more good work.
Of all your costars, who do you count among your friends? I have loads of friends in Tollywood — Rakul Preet Singh, Sundeep Kishan, Raashi Khanna and Tej. But I don’t really believe in the ‘best friend’ concept. I get along well with Rakul because we shared the same manager and we got to spend a lot of time with each other. But that apart, I do not mix my professional and personal lives. I’m a very private person. Even when I’m in Hyderabad shooting, after I am done with work, I head to the gym. After the workout, I am pretty much dead and I just hit the bed. On social media as well, although I do share my pictures and speak up when I feel about something strongly, I ensure I stay within limits. I rarely attend parties, unless unavoidable. I am not a very outgoing person, I guess.
So many friends; so is there a special someone as well? Well, till two-and-a-half years ago, I was in a serious relationship, but right now, I’m single. I don’t have time for a relationship; it’s just not something I want right now. That said, I am a diehard romantic. I’ve fallen in love so many times (laughs). Being in love is such an amazing feeling, so why would anybody avoid it? And I can’t bring myself to deny it or lie about it! I still remember, my first crush — he was a neighbour in Chennai. I was in class IV then. It was so dramatic. It was ‘puppy love’, and the best thing was he used to treat me like just another boy. So we would jump from one balcony to the other, hold hands and walk — it was so cute. We were friends for almost six years, till he moved abroad. Years later, he landed at my doorstep one day to meet me. I was so mad at him for not being in touch that I asked him to go to hell. Since then, I’ve not been in touch with him, but he’s one person I’ll never forget. After that, I had lot of crushes in school and college (laughs).