Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut, infamous for her brazen honesty, has once again spoken out against discrimination faced by women in society.
“As women we shouldn’t hope to get our due — we need to get up and get it ourselves,” the 28-year old said, while speaking at the Women in the World Summit in London on Friday.
Kangana, who has previously been vocal about the unfair treatment women get in conservative societies like India, also opened up about the struggles she had to go through to reach where she is now.
“Perhaps the only expectation [from a girl] is that you grow up as a presentable young woman and get a decent spouse,” Kangana said. She grew up in a small town in India, but her mindset was very different from an early age.
“I was a pain, not the kind of child an Indian parent would like to have,” she admitted. Instead of fitting in to the culture that views girls as liabilities, she wanted to prove her worth and be her own hero, and so she ran away from home on a journey to discover herself.
Without any financial or emotional support from her family, Kangana made her way to Mumbai to start her career as an actor. But things didn’t come easy to her. “I have struggled for the last 10 years,” she confessed.
“It was no fairytale. I was nothing like I am today – I couldn’t speak a word of English. In England, people might be understanding of that, but in Bombay if you don’t speak English, people would ask ‘How does she expect to work in Hindi films?’” she added with a laugh, recalling the times when she slept on pavements because she couldn’t afford a place to stay.
However, despite the difficulties, she managed to make it big because she believed in herself and that is the message she wants to deliver to all women. Addressing the notion that actresses succeed in Bollywood because of their looks rather than their talent, she said, “Bollywood films do objectify women.”
She urged women to never lose their sense of self, and urged the society to get rid of the negativities associated with ‘feminine’ emotions.
“The darkest and deepest corners of the human soul have always been feminine. They offer the only way to penetrate the darkness—not anger or aggressive masculine emotions,” she elaborated.
This article originally appeared on The New York Times.