She could have taken the usual road traversed by star kids—grow up and pursue acting. But Krishna Shroff was clear that it was not her calling. She considers herself the blacksheep of the family, who has defied the expectations people had from her as she was Jackie Shroff’s daughter and Tiger Shroff’s sister. But she would rather be her authentic self than give in to people’s expectations.

After finding her purpose by opening her own mixed martial art studio, she is now set to make her television debut with Khatron Ke Khiladi 14 (KKK 14). In conversation with mid-day, Krishna talks about her journey from an overweight and under-confident teenager to finding her own voice, and her family’s reaction to her decision of joining the show.

Edited excerpts from the interview.

Is this the first time that Khatron Ke Khiladi was offered to you?
No, this is the second time the makers came to me. Two years ago, when they first approached me, I wasn’t very confident or secure enough in myself to feel that I could put myself out there. Fast forward to [today], I’m in a different place in terms of how I feel about myself and from within. I’m ready to let the world know who I am.

How did you build your confidence in the two years?
It has to do with age and experiences. I’ve come into my own now. I’m secure with the businesses that I run. [KKK 14] is not something that I need; it’s something I want, and that’s what makes me comfortable going through with it. I’m looking forward to seeing how much more I can push myself, not just physically, but also mentally because it’s a game that [tests your] mental strength. Many contestants in the past have overcome many things with the power of the mind.

A Shroff, an entrepreneur, fitness enthusiast, actor—which role do you identify with most?
An entrepreneur. I’m blessed to wake up and do what I love every single day. Many don’t have that liberty or that pleasure. I love being my own boss and doing things on my own terms. I’m blessed with the platform I have because of my family and the name that they have in the industry. It’s given me the security to do what I feel passionate about. I’m happy with what I’ve been able to do away from the family legacy that I come from. [I am now trying to] create my own identity in the fitness world.

Was there ever any pressure to follow in your father and brother’s footsteps?
People think I’m absolutely crazy for not taking the opportunity [to act]. But there’s a world beyond it. The pressure definitely hit me when I was a teenager. At that age, you’re influenced easily by outside noise and opinions. I felt like that this is something I have to do because people are expecting me to do it. That’s when I got my bachelor’s degree in film production. I came back to India, assisted on a few of my brother’s movies. That is exactly when I realised this is not what I want to do. From there, I was not going to waste any more time giving in to what people expect from me. I found fitness about seven years ago, and it was the most liberating and empowering feeling. Two hours in the gym feel like therapy.

How did fitness help you?
No matter what was going on in my life, I was focused. Seeing how far I was able to push myself week after week had a direct impact on my mind. It gave me a newfound sense of confidence I didn’t necessarily have growing up because I was an overweight kid, who was sometimes thrown into the limelight when I’d go out with my father. People are cruel. Reading criticism at such a young age was a lot. I was able to channelise that in a positive way through fitness. People need to be a little more mindful. While I was able to take it in a positive way, a lot of people won’t and [probably] can’t.

What were the highs and lows of that journey?
There were many days where I didn’t feel like going to the gym or sticking to that diet. But I am so proud of [myself] for sticking with it because no amount of daddy’s fame or money can give this to you. It’s your hard work and it’s you versus you every single day. I was able to overcome that.

To participate in a show like KKK 14, where do you think your strengths lie?
I love challenges. I’ve purposely put myself in uncomfortable positions with my body to see how far I can push my mind to overcome certain things. I believe I’ll be ready for what’s thrown my way. I tend to thrive under pressure and my competitive nature comes out then.

What was your family’s reaction?
My brother got a good laugh out of it. He was like, ‘I can’t believe you’re doing this’. My parents were initially a little hesitant. They asked me if I surely wanted to do it, and I said yes. It wasn’t long until they were 100 per cent on board. I’ve always been the black sheep of the family. I’ve steered away from what everyone expected me to do.

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