I am always ready for a challenge: Gul Panag

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Actor Gul Panag is beautiful and intelligent, that’s why she won the Miss India title. But her good looks are not ‘parlour-made’. They are a reflection of her beautiful, confident and adventurous inner self. The free-spirited and wise Gul reveals the secret to her beauty: her well-rounded personality.
Interview with Gul Panag

How is Gul, the person?
Gul Panag: I am fun, spirited, fearless and always ready for a challenge.
So where do books fit in? We know that you are an avid reader.
Gul Panag: Books are an integral part of my life. There is no end to the influence they’ve had so far and continue to have on me. I think reading truly broadens one’s horizons.
You have a degree in mathematics and you are an actor. Where do they connect?
Gul Panag: [Laughs] Not sure if they connect, but I thoroughly enjoy both.
You have changed 14 schools in your schooling. How did it feel?
Gul Panag: Fantastic! The experience has made me flexible, understanding, adaptive, tolerant, accommodative and, above all, adventurous. It gave me the chance to meet and interact with people of different cultures, from whom I learnt a lot.
You have won several competitions in your life, the biggest being the coveted Miss India. How important is winning to you? How do you deal with failure?
Gul Panag: Competitions are all about wanting to win; else you wouldn’t be in them. Winning gives you great confidence and boosts your self-esteem, while failure is an opportunity to look inwards, introspect and improve.
Then, what is success?
Gul Panag: Success is relative. In life, success is more about giving things your best shot than winning. For me, career-wise, the journey from the Miss India pageant to television to films has been about utilising my abilities to the best and acquiring skills along the way. But above all, it has been about putting my best foot forward, always. If you are able to do that, you are successful, irrespective of the outcome.
A Miss India is considered to be the perfect combination of beauty and brains. What is your idea of beauty? Is it just skin deep or does it go beyond the physical?
Gul Panag: Unfortunately, there are preconceived notions of beauty that govern such things. But, for me, beauty has always been about something that emanates from within.
Since we feel emotions from within, do they affect our skin too?
Gul Panag:Not just our skin, but our health and longevity too are totally dependent on how we feel. I have always felt wonderful and attractive when happy and the reverse when low. So, make it a point be positive and happy through everything.
Gul Panag’s favourites 

Favourite book 
George Orwell’s 1984 

Favourite food

Favourite attire
A nice fitted dress 

Favourite person
Too many!! 

God is …
Inside us and not in a temple or church 

Health is …
In your hands
First successWinning a 200m heat in school 
First failureNot coming 1st in class V 

Happiest moment till now
Every day has so many moments. I do not live in the past 

Motto in life
I am an incorrigible optimist. For me, every day is a new challenge, something more to be done—something new to be achieved 
For more of Gul Panag, grab the Dec 2009 copy of Complete Wellbeing magazine today!

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