[HS Exclusive] Acting is my passion, but being an entrepreneur comes naturally: Sunny Leone
Sunny Leone has always lived by her own rules and charted her own path–in entertainment and entrepreneurship.
She has her own production company, a cosmetics line–StarStruck by Sunny Leone, and launched lingerie brand Infamous by StarStruck in 2020.
On May 13, her birthday, Sunny launched ‘I Dream of Sunny’ in collaboration with HeyHey!, an online platform powering experiential engagement between celebs, influencers, and creators globally via new-age tech.
With this, the actress is all set to venture into the exciting and intriguing realm of gamification.
‘I Dream of Sunny’ is a product that combines NFTs, Artificial Intelligence (AI), fan verse, gaming, lucky draw, winning combination, and other similar terms—all rolled into one.
To be a part of this, users need to purchase NFT cards first, made available on the ‘I Dream of Sunny’ website.
Buying these utility NFTs gives access to the actress’ private discord server. There are four different NFT card variants in the categories, which are Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Joker that assist in playing the game, and each card comes with bonus features, which will give access to Sunny directly.
In an exclusive interview with HerStory, Sunny talks about the new product offering, entering the world of NFTs, being an entrepreneur, and more.
Edited excerpts from the conversation:
HerStory (HS): Tell us about your partnership with Hey! Hey Global and what it will bring?
Sunny Leone (SL): The partnership between Suncity, Daniel, HeyHey! and I is basically strategic and technological. HeyHey! has come on board and basically built the minting engine, the backend, and is running the entire gaming of the NFT game process with us. They had a relationship with Rosebud, who did the AI for the artwork.
HS: Why did you decide to enter the world of NFT?
SL: We have been in the NFT world for quite some time. We had a small launch a year ago. For this one we chose to put all our efforts, knowledge, and create a great team for it. It’s not something new. I feel it’s a great way to connect to the audience. Also, the new diverse audience likes to use crypto and NFTs. We thought that it’s another great avenue to explore and we think we are creating a really good product for people.
HS: How do users of I Dream of Sunny fan verse benefit from unique experiences?
SL: This is a unique experience where once the utilities --- silver, gold, and platinum, are purchased, you start playing a game which is similar to playing cards. We choose the winners each week. Every Monday we announce the week’s game open and every Friday the winner is chosen. It’s based on the concept of a lucky draw or a lottery. Through this, they get access to the discord, Zoom calls with me, shout outs on Instagram and Twitter and join my Instagram lives. The platinum card holders get the chance to go sky diving with me. There are many utilities and perks for people. Utilities combined with these NFTs is what the ultimate fan verse is all about.
HS: What does being a tech entrepreneur mean for you?
SL: It means a couple of things. It’s combining the available technologies into something unique, which is what we have done. We have combined four or five available technologies and combined them into something unique. It also means creating something which hasn’t been done before, something completely new and that’s what ‘I Dream of Sunny’ is all about. The process, start to finish and what you get out of it, has never been done before.
HS: Tell us more about the entrepreneurial aspect of your life? Do you find it as fulfilling as your acting career? Do you have any more plans in this direction?
SL: Acting is my passion. But being an entrepreneur along with my husband comes naturally to us. When we find an opportunity, we evaluate it for some time and then we dive in and give it our all. We see if we can leverage it and grow it, then we go ahead and we do that, but we are very selective.
HS: How did life change for you during the pandemic - professionally and personally?
SL: The pandemic has impacted all of us. In fact, it’s been the toughest on health workers who were out there saving lives. I made the most of it by spending time with my husband and children. When I would step out for work, I would take all precautions. It looks like we are entering a phase where the pandemic might not impact our lives as much as it did in the past two years.
HS: What are you working on right now?
SL: I am currently shooting for a multi lingual film opposite Vishnu Manchu and I also have a multilingual film called Quotation Gang. I also have Tamil film Shero and Oh My Ghost in the pipeline.
HS: In an interview with us in 2018, you had said, “The essence of being a woman is just figuring yourself and the things you like and want out of life, and then making them happen.” Is this guiding philosophy in life?
SL: The essence of being a woman remains the same for me. Even today I do my best in whatever I choose to do. Whether it’s doing films across different industries in the country, being a mother or even an entrepreneur. I have a wonderful partner in Daniel who supports me and also helps me in all that I do.
HS: Looking back, what are you most proud of? And despite the hypocrisy and judgements, what keeps Sunny Leone going?
SL: I think the belief in myself. Despite the odds and the judgemental attitude of others, I have never doubted my abilities and my conviction in myself has always stood me in good stead.
HS: Working mothers are no longer exceptions in Bollywood with many women proving they can manage both with ease. You are one too… How do you deal with the constant attention your kids are subjected to?
SL: It comes with the territory of being a public figure. I am not gung ho about the constant attention and scrutiny and I do best to ensure that they have a normal upbringing.
Edited by Megha Reddy