American dancer and actor Lauren Gottlieb revealed why she left Mumbai at the peak of her fame. Lauren, who starred in the 2013 film ABCD: Anybody Can Dance and participated in the sixth season of the popular reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Ja, said that there were multitude of reasons why she decided to leave and take a break. She explained to Maniesh Paul on his podcast that she just wasn’t happy anymore, despite her stardom, saying that she ‘just kept spiralling’. Lauren also said that the paparazzi culture, especially around airports annoyed her as well.
Lauren said, “I was growing in fame, but the more I was spiralling. I knew it was the biggest risk to let it all go, but I had so much faith in myself that I knew if I work on myself and feel mentally healthy again, I’ll come back.” Lauren explained that she was just pushing hard to get things done and that she would be miserable every time she returned from the US to India, and would have to remind herself that she had a contract to fulfil. “The depression time was when I was in India. I was great on set, I knew that. I am the kind of person who wants to be a part of everything, if I was booked on a movie, they would call me back for a sequel. I was always so focused. But there were so many things on set that were out of my control. I had to let all of that go. I knew I needed to leave, because I wanted acting school and I needed therapy.”
She said that things were too different between India and the US, ‘which weighed on her’. “Instead of having that weigh on me, I just shut everything down.” Lauren made it clear that she’s not in competition with anyone, and she’s happy for others who came in her place and did well. “I chose to leave. It took everything from me. I was spiralling so far down with the cultural barrier and the language barrier, and the Indian way of coming up and asking for ‘ek photo, ek photo’, and that’s never one photo.”
She also explained why she chooses to wear baseball caps even at the airport now, to avoid eye contact with paps, else they would come and take photos of her. “I would just keep staring at the ground and that became my comfort zone. That’s not a way to live.” She reiterated that there wasn’t just one thing that was a catalyst, but several reasons, and that’s why she needed to step away for a while. “There were some relationships that were starting to break and it made no sense, because they were with people who brought me here.”
She also said that as she was American, she ‘preferred the hard and honest truth’, and she didn’t quite get that in India, as people were giving her several fabricated versions at work and she would find out that the truth was something else entirely. “My brain was doing the mental gymnastics and that’s just not who I am.”