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Verve People
February 18, 2016

Gene Junction: Lisa Haydon

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena. Photograph by Rohan Shrestha. Make-up by Marielle Loubet, Calliste. Hair by Laurent Philippon, Calliste

Model and actor Lisa Haydon talks about being a true global gypsy

“Remaining connected with my roots is innate…. You are who you are…”

Elisabeth Marie Haydon, popularly known as Lisa Haydon, who captured the audience’s attention with her role in Queen, is a true global gypsy. Comfortable anywhere in the world, the Mumbai-based actor — born to a Tam-Bram father and Aussie mother — who is most comfortable in English, exudes a casual charm and suave stylishness. Her mixed genes — ‘sometimes an asset, sometimes a setback’ — have given the actor, who is currently working on Housefull 3 and Baadshaho, an easy confidence in front of the camera.

The cultural mix
“We travelled extensively as kids. My teachers were mostly American, European and African, but the kids I made friends with were all interracial. It was a very eclectic childhood. We eventually settled in India, but spent the summers in Australia. As my family grew (three brothers and four sisters), life became less mobile and India became home.”

Parental influence
“I’m an adult who still lives with her parents; I am family-obsessed and have old-fashioned values. When I ask my mother what I got from her side, she says ‘wild’. I really can’t break down what exactly each culture gave me, and to be honest, I fit in both countries, and don’t feel that I am only one nationality completely.”

First impressions
“In America they think I am British, South American or Mexican. In Britain, they think I am American. In Australia, they think I am Brazilian. In India, I do not know what they think I am.”

The role of grandparents
“My Indian grandmother is so traditional that she would never understand why I would cut my hair in layers or sunbathe. My Australian grandmother used to tell all us kids to close our eyes in the car and then she would quickly change her clothes. Of all the people in my family, I am most like her.”

Staying in touch
“I have many cousins who live out of India, and we have big family reunions in various parts of the world. Remaining connected with my diverse roots is innate to the way I was brought up. There is no struggle to do so. You are who you are, for you are defined by your background.”

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