Actor, anchor and adventurer – Kubbra Sait is a woman of many talents. But more than that, what she truly is, is a feisty free spirit, a gale of spunky energy and childlike wonder that’s such a rarity in an increasingly bleak world. Kubbra won the India’s Best Female Emcee Award and has hosted prestigious events in more than 30 countries. We stole this jetsetter from her whirlwind schedule to catch up on her journey so far, life learnings and how she makes being constantly on the go look so good.
Kubbra grew up in Bangalore, then moved to Dubai, before coming to Mumbai. After spending a lot of time stuck in the corporate wheel, she moved to Bombay in 2010. What has her experience with the City of Dreams been like? Kubbra says, “It’s been a journey of trial and error. But when I came to Bombay, I decided I am not going to struggle. I was adamant. I didn’t want to have a sob story – where I was starving or didn’t have a place to stay.” How did that turn out? “I decided to give myself six months to live my best possible life with the money I had saved. If in six months, it doesn’t work out, I would go somewhere else and do something else. But I wanted to give it a wholehearted six months. And thankfully, I didn’t have to go anywhere else. Seven years later, I am still here!”
No success story comes without its set of uphill climbs. We ask Kubbra what mountains did she have to scale. And she confesses, “As a child, I was very scared and timid. I was bullied a lot, by my teachers! They’d mock my name, the colour of my eyes. And it was a huge blow to my self-esteem. Then my mother started this whole journey of building me back as a person. It took a lot of therapy, training and learning to recover and rebuild myself”. Kubbra started out hating her name enough to change it forever, but ended up making her name her biggest strength. “I understood the beautiful history behind my name. It’s a title. Prophet Mohammed’s wife, Khadija was loved by the villagers so much that they called her Khadija al-Kubra meaning, Khadija the Great. And I wish I could go back and tell my younger self and my teachers this. But I have come a long way since then.”
Kubbra’s exuberant confidence is one of her defining qualities, whether she’s on stage or off it. Where does it come from? “Right now, I’m talking to you. When I am on stage, I am still talking to you AND a hundred, thousand, million other people. But the basic idea is the same – to have a conversation, to maintain a connection. But, it takes years and years of practice to find your own unique voice and get comfortable in your skin.”
Speaking of being comfortable in your skin, how does she stay healthy with a crazy globetrotting lifestyle, intensified by the onslaught of makeup, lights and Mumbai’s pollution? “Unfortunately, I don’t have a proper skincare routine, especially when I am travelling. Because I prefer traveling light”, she laughs before adding, “But I definitely make it a point to visit a dermatologist at least once a month”. Kubbra’s skincare choices are a lot of trial, error and experimentation, “As you grow, you realise that your skin looks better with some products and not so much with others. And that’s how I keep going through beauty and skincare products. Although, I stick to my Kiehl’s Deep Cleansing Toner. Recently, while I was traveling, I found a face wash from this brand called Philosophy. It’s so, so good!” What are her skincare and beauty essentials? “I never leave the house without SPF. And I always carry a lip balm and a blush in my purse. I’m obsessed with having rosy cheeks!”, she admits.
Kubbra’s travels influence her skincare choices, “I was at the airport yesterday, and I didn’t have a moisturiser. So, I picked the Forest Essentials 24 Karat Moisturiser. If it doesn’t work on my face, I’m going to use it on my feet!”, she grins. So, are there no rules to her skincare game? “In Bombay, I’ve learnt the importance of drinking water throughout the day. I also make sure I get enough sleep and eat light and healthy food. When I come home from a show or shoot, I take off my makeup using a Bobbi Brown cleansing oil. And on days when I feel like pampering myself, I go for Kama Ayurveda face masks”.
How does she pick and choose her products? “My first rule is NO Animal Tested products. Then I also look at the contents of the product. Also, the person across the counter who’s selling me the product. Sometimes they’re so knowledgeable! But, the only person I blindly trust for skincare recommendations is my dermatologist”, replies Kubbra.
We’re curious about how Kubbra destresses, and her answer is just mind-blowing, “I love bungee jumping. Just screaming your lungs out as you go down, emptying your system to make space for newer things, is extremely therapeutic".
It’s the beauty of women like Ellen Degeneres and Tabu that have moved Kubra immensely. She explains, “I want to grow old like them – keep it simple yet graceful. These women teach us to be who we are, which is the simplest thing to do!”. However, her constant source of inspiration rests much closer home. Kubbra tells us, “My mother! She’s 55 and has such great age-defying skin!”
Through everything in life, Kubbra has remained a fighter. So, what would her advice to young girls be? “There are bullies everywhere – in your school, workplace, home, out on the street. It is important to maintain a consciousness about yourself – about who you are. When you know your truth, no one can hurt you.”