Ani Losang Dolma [Kohinoor] Speaks Out
Model Kohinoor Singh sent shockwaves and raised eyebrows when she turned into a monk last month. After playing in over 25 music videos and modelling for almost 10 years, Deepa Singh born on 25 Oct. 1979, better known as the model Kohinoor and now renamed Ani Losang Dolma, spoke to Kashish about how things haven't really changed all that much.
W: What did your parents say when you became a model?
Ani: Are you crazy? Do you know what this means?
W: What did your parents say when you became an Ani?
Ani: Are you crazy? Do you know what this means? [laughs]. But they are very supportive of the things I do and they are happy for me now. I guess the initial anxiety is always there for parents.
W: You said your guru came to your house and changed a lot of things. You basically had to leave your past behind.
Ani: Yes but I am no really supposed to get into the details of that.
W: What does your room look like now?
Ani: Empty. There are a few religious pictures and items, my bed and a space for meditation.
W: So what does one have to do to become an Ani?
Ani: Its quite simple really. Once you are prepared, you go and tell them you want to be an Ani. They test you, make you wait, basically check your patience. But yeah, any one can become a monk. We are taught that there is no good, no bad…everything is the truth.
W: And what happens if you want to give up being an Ani?
Ani: Nothing. I won't be an Ani anymore. All I have to do is tell my guru that I want to continue with the world outside.
W: Why Buddhism?
Ani: It's simple and true. It teaches you to be yourself… but then again it boils down to what "self" really is. It will take a life time for me to really understand why Buddhism. It's a short question, but the answer will be quite long.
W: What are the chances of you wanting to come back?
Ani: I haven't really gone anywhere to come back.
W: You have been modelling for so many years and you have been an Ani for almost a month. How do you feel so far?
Ani: When you look at it from the outside it looks like there's a huge difference but for me this is how I have felt for a long time and now I'm just physically practising it. I had been spending a lot of time with myself at home for almost a year now. I was never big on parties and the whole glamour thing, it just tagged along since I was a model.
W: A lot of people are saying that this is just a publicity stunt.
Ani: Yeah... I know. But it's nothing like that. I mean I didn't even tell anyone about it for a whole month but people found out and startin writing about it. I was already popular model so I don't think I had to shave my head and wear a robe for publicity. If it was about fame then I could have done a lot more I think… but I left that all. In fact publicity is one of the things I gave up. When a person is born, s/he doesn't relly know what /he will grow up to become. You just learn things along the way and become who you become. But no, not an Ani for publicity.
W: Why did you change your name from Deepa Singh to Kohinoor Singh?
Ani: Well I was always Deepa Singh as a student in school and with friends. But for work, I was Kohinoor. It wasn't really a big deal. But I just thought of having a different name because I was still in school when I started modelling. Now my mom calls me Chanakya and my dad calls me Buddha [laughs]… but my guru calls me Losang Dolma.
W: What was Kohinoor's life like?
Ani: I hardly went out much. When I came back home, it was just myself. Life was pretty simple. No parties and no hanging out. But when I travelled I shopped a lot [laughs].
W: Any interesting incidents as Kohinoor or Ani?
Ani: There was a funny one. I was walking past this place where some kids were playing basketball. So the ball rolled over towards me and this kid said, "dai, could you throw that here." [laughs]. He thought I was a boy. And when I was modelling I did a lot of videos for Nabin Bhattarai so people imagined we were dating. I would get phone calls from his fans asking me to leave him, some even threatened me. [laughs]. And Nabin would get calls from his fans urging him to leave me. It was quite funny.
W: What's the last good movie you watched?
Ani: Black [Hindi]… and quite a few of them in English, including War of the Worlds.
W: Have you been tuning in the Nepali music scene?
Ani: I like music as a whole, all kinds. I did hear that song by The Uglyz and Nirnaya is an old friend so its good to see him doing so well.
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