Life of Sunny Leone (2017)
Sunny Leone (ex-pornstar, Instagram account @sunnyleone) is a well-known Canadian of Indian origin. Her birth name is Karenjit Kaur Vohra, which was later changed to her current stage name. She was born to a Punjabifamily in Ontario, Canada. Although very little is known about her parents, her father and mom were both devout Sikhs, who have both passed away. The family later relocated to Lake Forest in California in order to be closer to her grandparents. Fearing her safety, her parents took admission into a Catholic school. However, it was during her teenage years that she came to the conclusion that she was bisexual.
Prior to her acting career, she studied towards a degree in pediatric nursing. She displayed the need to be financially independent at the early age of 15. In order to pay towards her studies, she took jobs as in a bakery, a car maintenance franchise as well as a tax firm. She describes her teenage self as a tomboy who was very athletic and strong-minded.
She is currently a familiar face in many Bollywood movies, but her start in the entertainment industry has a much darker origin. A college friend suggested that her strikingly good looks would guarantee her success in the modeling profession. However, her decision behind her entry into the adult entertainment industry remains a close guarded secret.
What we do know is that she entered the world of porn at the young age of 19 and posed for various mainstream publications such as Penthouse and Hustler. Her stage name was a suggestion from Bob Guccione, the then owner of Penthouse Magazine who suggested she e change her stage name. At the height of her success, she landed the title “Pet of the Year” at Penthouse.
After conquering the print media, she moved on to bigger and better things. She was head-hunted by Vivid Entertainment who were please by her looks during her run at Hustler and Penthouse. She was offered a three-year contract, which she accepted. The terms of her contracted stated that she would only appear in lesbian roles.
Three years later, she decided to star in heterosexual movies exclusively with her then fiancé Matt Erikson
After nine years in the business, she launched her own adult film production house called Sunlust Films. She wisely used this as an opportunity to break into new roles such as producer, writer, and director. She successfully directed 42 films.
The “next big thing’ in her sight was to make herself a household name on the internet. She successfully partnered with many websites and companies. This led to a large-scale distribution of her material. An interesting piece of information was determined from analysis of the online traffic through her many websites. 80 percent of viewers were based in India. This startling titbit would later decide a significant change in her chosen lifestyle.
After almost ten years in the adult industry, Sunny announced her retirement. She vowed never to act in an adult content film again stating that “that part of her life was now over” The move was expected since it was rumored that Sunny had set her sights on Bollywood. She participated in the Indian version of Big Brother but hid her porn star status. Her entry into the notorious reality show was a stroke of genius, she was able to introduce herself to the public as a ‘nice and bubbly’ personality, a far cry from her sexy adult film star persona. It was during the filming of the reality show that she would meet Pooja Bhatt, an Indian actress but more importantly the eldest daughter of Mahesh Bhatt a well-known Bollywood producer. So charming was her performance that, in a much-publicised episode Mahesh entered the house and offered Sunny a starring role in his highly anticipated erotic thriller Jism 2, which she later accepted. Thus, began her successful but fraught with controversy, career in Bollywood.
She has starred in quite a number of roles since her debut in 2013. Most of them are considered B-grade movies with an average turnover. The exception being Ragini MMS 2 produced by Ekta Kapoor.
She has also had a cameo appearance in many mainstream movies including Raees, alongside Bollywood heart-throb Shah Rukh Khan. She was met with harsh criticism from the Indian public, who accused her of bringing unfavorable social elements into the country.
It may surprise you to know that Sunny is also an accomplished writer who has published a collection of idyllic love stories.
The books success was attributed to the fact that the female characters were portrayed as equals to their male counterparts. It was well received by many critics. Another point of merit is that she is the only adult entertainment star to have a verified Apple App which featured non-nude content. However, it was removed a few months later due to various outcries from the public.
The 35-year-old actress is a strong advocate of healthy living. She has been featured in numerous fitness publications and is also the face of Fantasy Fitness, a manufacturer of fitness clothing and apparel. Despite her busy schedule she makes time for long grueling hours of training and maintains an amazing figure through a strict regimen of vegetables and healthy food.
Apart from her achievements in the world of film, Sunny is also a noted activist for animal rights.
She has collaborated with Peta in a series of provocative advertisements, which promote animal rights. She advocates that people should never buy dogs but rather rescue them. In this regard, she received PETA’s ‘person of the year’ award for her work in publicising the plight of stray and homeless animals as well as her numerous campaigns against cruelty to animals.
She has also been a longstanding supporter of the fight against Cancer and even ran a half marathon in support of the cause.More recently she started a new initiative, a documentary which aims to bring wide spread awareness about breast cancer. The critically acclaimed documentary has received a great response from the public.
Never one to rest on her laurels, Sunny has climbed her way to success in yet another field. She achieved this when she launched a new line of fragrances ‘Lust’ by Sunny with plans to venture out into the sale of lingerie and custom jewellery. It was a proud moment for her as she oversaw the launch right from conception, manufacture, and sales.
Her personal life seems surprisingly uncomplicated despite always being in the public eye. Sunny was engaged for many years to Matt Erikson, Vice President of Playboy Enterprises. After their split, she briefly dated stand-up comedian Russel Peters.
She has been married since 2011 to Daniel Weber, a fellow porn star who she met through a mutual friend in LA.
The two were married in a traditional Sikh wedding in Gurdwara and a Jewish wedding in California.They currently co-own a production company which still produces adult content in America. David manages her the creative aspect of her career and even screens any scripts which comes Sunny’s way, while she deals with the financial aspects of the business. Theirs is a marriage which respects the equality of both partners.
Recently the couple have taken yet another untraditional decision by adopting a 21-month-old girl instead of starting a family in a conventional manner. The baby named Nisha Kaur Weber was adopted from the Latur region in India. The happy couple had started the adoption process 2 years ago but where only given the go-ahead by the Indian government in July 2017. Sunny has openly admitted that adopting an older child comes with a lot of hurdles, but everything can be overcome with love. The news was an unexpected surprise to the pair, as Sunny’s schedule for the year was already set. She had to travel abroad for filming and business-related issues while David remained at home with Nisha, her traveling documents were not prepared yet.
Despite embracing her bisexuality at a young age, she continues to stay true to her ethnic and religious roots. She believes that humans can feel the presence of God at all times and that religion is less about customs and more about reaching out and helping our fellow humans. She continues to accept her Sikh beliefs except its tough stance on sexuality.
One of her most profound quotes about herself is that she is able to ‘take a quarter and turn it into a dollar’ it effectively surmises her success in every aspect of her life.
She has a unique knack to reinvent her public persona while adhering to her core values. She remains the most searched for person online in India and was even voted as one of the most influential women of the year in BBC top 100 women. Whatever your views about her decisions, one must admire her for empowering herself by embracing every part of her personality unabashedly. Her success both public and personal certainly does require our respect.