Days before she returns to the Cannes Film Festival, this time as a member of the main jury, Bollywood star Deepika Padukone has been named "House Ambassador" by storied French label Louis Vuitton. Padukone, one of the biggest stars in India, is the first from her country to be given the title, joining the likes of Hollywood stars Emma Stone, Alicia Vikander, Lea Seydoux and Sophie Turner.
Scroll through the gallery above to see Deepika Padukone's style evolution.
“When you’re 18 and have just started earning, you don’t even bother looking into a Louis Vuitton store when you walk past it because you know you’re never going to be able to afford it," Padukone tells Vogue India following the announcement. "There are some things that are aspirational and then there are some things that are just completely out of your orbit. My association with Louis Vuitton is the latter.
"I’m a very practical, pragmatic person in reality, but I keep having to pinch myself because I can’t believe this is real. And it speaks to the kind of diversity I hope to see in the future."
Padukone's association with Louis Vuitton began in 2020 as part of their pre-autumn campaign. She marks her new role by starring in a campaign to launch an updated version of Louis Vuitton's classic Dauphine bag, along with fellow ambassadors Stone and Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu.
"Padukone is the first Indian to be signed as a House Ambassador by Louis Vuitton. Following a strong collaborative relationship with the Maison, including an appearance in Nicolas Ghesquieere’s novel-inspired 2020 campaign, the award-winning actress begins an exciting new chapter of her journey with Louis Vuitton," the brand said.
"Against clean backdrops of white and gradient blue, the Dauphine is incarnated by three internationally acclaimed actresses, each independently embodying a characteristic of the femme Dauphine. Deepika Padukone captures her free-spirited nature, ready to seize the day, Dauphine in hand."
The actress, 36, is also the cover star of Vogue India's May issue, in which the magazine calls her "the most influential actor in the Indian film industry right now".
In the accompanying interview, she talks about her fears of being written off when she first started in the entertainment industry.
"Coming from a sports background meant I did not have a natural inroad into Bollywood. My South Indian accent was also frowned upon," Padukone, a former model and the daughter of Indian badminton star Prakash Padukone, tells the magazine.
The star, who is married to top actor Ranveer Singh, is one of the highest-paid actors in India. She's also a film producer and is known for speaking openly about her struggles with depression, launching The Live Love Laugh Foundation in 2015 to help to bring more awareness to mental health issues.
“Padukone has been touted as one of Indian cinema’s most loved and successful actresses to date, and her achievements have made her an icon of recent times," Louis Vuitton said.
"With more than 30 feature films to her credit, the actress has notably been named a member of the jury of this year’s 75th Cannes Film Festival. In 2018, Time Magazine named Ms Padukone as one of their '100 Most Influential People'. She was also recently awarded the Time 100 Impact Award for her contribution to the field of film and entertainment."
In March, Padukone was one of the recipients of the first Time 100 Impact Awards, which recognises those who have made a significant impact on their industries and the world at large. The event, held in Dubai, also honoured civil rights activist Amanda Nguyen; Nigerian singer, actress and philanthropist Omotola Jalade Ekeinde; French-Tunisian contemporary artist eL Seed; US model Tyra Banks; and Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the first woman to hold a ministerial position in the UAE.
"All the ups and downs I’ve been through in my career — the learnings, the mistakes, the successes — the award felt like a culmination of it," she told Vogue India of the honour. "All those memories of asking myself questions at the age of 18, like, 'How am I going to break into this industry? What is the journey going to be like? Who are the people I’m going to meet on this journey? Will I be successful? Will I enjoy my craft?' just came full circle when the award was placed in my hands."