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Is Deepika Padukone — Bollywood's Fearless, Fashionable, Feminist Superstar — Set to Be Hollywood's Best New Import?

Is Deepika Padukone — Bollywood's Fearless, Fashionable, Feminist Superstar — Set to Be Hollywood's Best New Import?

By Janelle Okwodu

Though her name may not be as well known in America as Jennifer Lawrence's or Scarlett Johansson's, Deepika Padukone is among the most powerful actresses on the planet. As one of Bollywood’s highest-paid women, Padukone, who turns 30 today, has had a decade-spanning career in film that has seen her starring opposite legends like Amitabh Bachchan and breaking box-office records. And luckily for fashion fans, the former model — who initially rose to prominence appearing in ads for jewelry and cosmetics — also has an abiding love for fashion. Mixing ornate saris with cocktail dresses from Erdem and Gucci, Padukone’s personal style is both heavy on glamour and full-speed sophisticated (and don't discount the occasional minimalist moment: Who doesn’t have a jeans and Céline T-shirt day every now and then?).

But the buzz around Padukone expands beyond her wardrobe: When she isn't participating in the standard celebrity multihyphenate activities — modeling, acting, launching her own clothing line — she is contributing regular columns to one of New Delhi’s leading newspapers and mobilizing her fans around charitable causes. An outspoken activist for feminism in India, Padukone and filmmaker Homi Adajania partnered with Vogue India to release "My Choice," a short film dedicated to promoting women's equality. The black-and-white clip features 99 women from all walks of life — from famous authors and models to the otherwise anonymous—and broaches such topics as body image, sexual freedom, family planning, and gender bias. The movie caused an online maelstrom last year, which Padukone cited as part of the inspiration to share her story of suffering from depression and launching her own nonprofit soon after: The Live Love Laugh Foundation, which addresses mental health issues in India.

After the recent release of her latest film, "Tamasha," Padukone is set to score her next box-office high — and naturally, Hollywood has come calling. Though she has been tempted by blockbusters before (Padukone was rumored to have been offered a part in the Fast and Furious franchise), she has been reluctant to make the jump from Bollywood to Tinseltown.

This year, however, the star has coyly mentioned that she's ready to explore opportunities in the States, and recent Hollywood press outlets have announced that she has joined the cast of Vin Diesel's upcoming action film, "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage." Given that she's taken to posting outfits of the day on social media, updating her more than five million followers with her latest looks for premieres, press conferences, and parties, this is all very good news for U.S.-based fashion fanatics.

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Eros International