You started off your career successfully at a young age starring in reality TV shows, winning Miss India UK and acting. What have you enjoyed the most?
Every point of my career has been a journey and learning experience. The TV reality shows really made me mature fast and understand the harsh realities of the industry, but at the same time that time was an amazing once in a life time experience. Winning Miss India UK helped my self confidence on stage and off, it also provided me that chance to travel and meet interesting people from different countries. Acting was something new I was getting into at that point and also enjoyed.
You have now progressed into directing and producing. How did this happen?
I have always had an interest in directing and production behind the screen, so I made the decision to study filmmaking at London Film Academy. After the course I began directing various music videos and working on set for various films. I feel the directing and producing side of work utilities my potential more and this way I have more control in the creative section of how the project will be.
You have recently directed, produced and hosted a documentary - India’s Forgotten People. Tell us more about this
Whilst travelling in Rajasthan, India, I came across a nomadic tribal community that were living in a unique way. I discovered that the community are unknown to most people and because they do not have identification cards, they don’t receive any government help. I knew straight away that this could be the first subject to my first documentary. I recruited a small local team and began researching the subject and then shooting. We shot in different areas of Rajasthan for 1.5 years capturing the lives of this community. It was one of the most challenging projects I have ever worked on but the most rewarding. The documentary is now being shown on various channels worldwide
You have set up a charitable trust - DKU Kindness Diaries. What are your plans for this?
For a long time I have wanted to set up my own charitable trust, but I wanted to wait for the correct time in my life to do so. The charity got launched last January and is based in Jaipur, India. We have been supporting many poverty struck families and also supporting families that I came across whilst shooting the documentary. In the near future we plan to open schools and provide education for the below poverty line children.
Along side all the work we have spoke about we understand you are also running various businesses. How do you manage your time do to everything?
I feel balancing time between work and personal is very important. I make sure each day I give a set amount off time to everything Im working on. However I also feel its very important to schedule time for activity to help keep your mind at peace such as gym, hobbies and spending time with loved ones. I find meditation helps keep me calm and focussed. Once time is balanced correctly, I find I can work more efficiently.
How did you manage to maintain your fitness in the lockdown?
I actually feel my fittest because of lockdown. I began running outdoor daily, skipping and working out by body weight exercises, which I now prefer rather then going to the gym. Also being at home for so long meant I was only eating home cooked food. I hope to continue this as much as possible as life gets back to normality.
What advice would you give to younger girls wanting to follow in your footsteps?
I would say to always follow your passions with hard work and dedication. I feel particularly for females its very important to be independent and create your own success. I also feel its very important to be realistic and always evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes it is needed to change paths in life as experience can change us and that’s ok. I changed my career path from TV work to filmmaking and business. I am so happy that I made that change.
What is next for Deana Uppal?
I plan to continue making more documentaries - the next one the shooting will begin in 2021. I will continue to run the charity and expand the work and projects we are working on and off course just to be happy and enjoy the journey of life!
Talent Deana Uppal @Deana.uppal
Fashion Designers Raishma @raishmacouture and Nina Naustdal @ninanaustdal
Makeup Katy Jane @the_makeupservice
Hair Kieron Fowles @kjfowles
Jewellery The Jewel Jar @thejeweljar
Shoes Aruna Seth @arunaseth
Management Streamline PR @streamline_pr
Fashion Producer Lara Accison @laraaccftv
Creative Direction and Styling Anisha Vasani @anishavasanicreates
Location The Prince Akatoki London hotel @theprinceakatokilondon