Humanity surged forward through the twin inventions of writing and money, almost at the same point in history, amongst multiple civilizations across the world. Writing freed up humanity to overcome the limited processing capabilities of the human mind and transfer knowledge and transactional data over time. Initially, writing was used for boring but important things like tax collection and the transaction of goods.
Once photography and motion cameras became commercially mainstream, the media industry was born, encompassing print media, radio and television. As economic and political systems kept evolving in the western markets, so did the media industry, as it acted as the bridge between important information that needed to be communicated to citizens in addition to entertaining content. As television’s development sped up, spurred by developments in electronics and material science, making the device more and more affordable, personalities began to transform society, in the form of role models, entertainers, anchors, journalists, athletes, actors, actresses, all intent on making a name for themselves in the media industry.
Indian media has been evolving in tandem with the thoughts and feelings of the country’s vast, diverse audience. So have their personalities. So has Krystyna Devina Lason. She is the lead actress in the Kannada television series, Bili Hendthi (The Foreign Wife), a show that has been well received, perfectly reflecting the evolving cosmopolitan nature of Indian audiences.
Tell us about yourself, what do you like most about your field of work?
I am of mixed origin, half Indian and half Polish. I’ve lived in India, growing up and went to school in Mumbai where my family is based. I started to model as well as intern with leading media houses in Mumbai at age 16 to gain work experience before university. I worked with Elite models, Time out Mumbai magazine, 9X news and CNBC TV 18.
At age 19 I moved to London to study media and went on to work with top TV and media companies. I then studied journalism in Harvard university. A few years later I moved back to India and continued to work in the Indian media industry as anchor and producer with CNBC TV18, WION and Times Group. I covered a variety of subjects from news, business, lifestyle, travel and virtual reality.
Since I’ve been working in front of the camera since age 16, anchoring, modelling and acting comes naturally to me. In 2017 I got offered a role to be the lead actress in a major Kannada TV series which I accepted and started shooting for in March 2018.
What I love about working in media is that no two days of work are the same. One is constantly challenged and tested and has the chance to show versatility in one’s skill. As a journalist you meet interesting and inspiring people from all walks of life and explore their stories. As an actor, you also need to understand the mindset of your character and express that in the best way possible. I love the creative journey that you go on in order to achieve this.
Your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before choosing this field?
I started working at the age of 16 in Mumbai. I joined Elite modeling agency and worked on several modeling and acting assignments with them for brands across the country and abroad.
When I was 17 I wanted to gain some work experience before going to university in London. Amongst other media giants like Time Out Mumbai magazine and 9X news, I worked with CNBC TV 18 on their award winning show, Tech Toyz. Here I was the youngest person to produce and anchor one segment of the weekly show about the latest news in the Tech world.
After this work experience, I got admission to the University of the Arts London, in their media school, London College of Communications. I studied Media and Cultural studies and continued to do modeling and theatre work on the side in London. To deepen my knowledge of media studies I did a short course at Harvard University on broadcast journalism. Soon after I was offered to work with NBC news on a special project to cover the London Olympics.
After few years I moved back to India and worked as a lead anchor at CNBC TV 18 in the branded content department and managed several key accounts for the biggest companies in India. Here I created special shows for them to showcase their companies on the leading business news channel in the country.
After working in the media field for so many years, I became interested in learning about new technologies for content creation. I wanted to learn about Virtual Reality, the cameras and techniques used for this latest cutting edge form of content creation. So I went back to London to train and work with leading VR company 360Events. I was one of the first people in the Indian market to do so and by December 2017 I got an offer from WION- the new English news channel launched by Zee Media to move to Delhi to head VR content creation for them. I set up the entire base of VR department at WION while also anchoring live news bulletins on a daily basis during the morning prime time slot.
How did you land up doing what you do now?
Being in the media for several years I was well known amongst channel heads, producers, etc. Through industry referrals I was contacted by a prominent Mumbai based producer to star in his upcoming show on Star Suvarna- Bili Hendthi (meaning the foreign wife). It’s a Kannada serial based on a foreign girl in India. I was flown to Bangalore for auditions and to meet the channel heads and got the role immediately, despite not speaking the language.
This is a one of a kind concept, the only Indian mega series that features a foreign girl in India, married into an orthodox family who struggles to accept her wholeheartedly. Today we are touching 450 episodes which is a great landmark. The show is aired Monday- Saturday at 5.30pm on Star Suvarna and released on Hotstar daily.
If not the current profession, what would you have been?
My passion has always been working in the media and so I would be working on more diverse concepts in journalism. I have always wanted to create a travel series which I will be focusing on. I am also an avid advocate of animal welfare and would love to contribute to this space more in my lifetime. I follow several spiritual practices and philosophies and would explore working in the space of motivational speaking and helping others fulfill their highest potential.
What motivates you to keep going?
Being in an industry which is entirely in the public eye is not easy. Ones success as well as failures are highly visible to all and possibility of rejection is also high. But the excitement of new opportunities and making a difference in your industry is priceless.
I also love listening to motivational speakers, gurus, philosophers and writers. Opening my mind to new ideas all the time and taking positive influence from the world around me. I feel no matter what industry one works in it is all about positive thinking and gratitude that will give you the satisfaction you are looking for. Seeing people work hard and come up on their own without depending on others is very motivating for me.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
On days when I’m shooting for my show I wake up around 6.30am and begin the day with a little meditation or other spiritual practices. I reach the set anywhere between 8-9am and head straight for hair and makeup. Some days we shoot very intensively where other than short breaks for meals we are shooting constantly and wind up around 9pm. Being the lead of the show, even if we are not shooting throughout the day, I am still in majority of scenes and thus am shooting for 12 hours. After such long days at work I usually go straight home and unwind with my family and two cats.
On days I don’t shoot I fill my time with exercising, meeting friends, reading and learning spiritual healing practices. I have till date dabbled in tarot card reading, animal telepathy, akashic record understanding and Buddhism amongst other practices. Travelling is my passion and am always planning the next trip to go on!
Any regrets till now? If yes, will you like to share it with our readers?
I don’t believe in regrets or losing.. either I win or I learn. I have been blessed with several amazing opportunities coming to me in my life, but sometimes have not acted on them out of fear or other reservations. I’ve learned the importance of being determined and making the most of every opportunity instead of being passive and missing out on something that could be life changing.
If you were given a choice of meeting any person you want, who will be that person?
In my quest for spiritual practices I have recently started following the teaching of Sadhguru which I find extremely inspiring. I would love to meet him in person and have a one on one conversation with him.
When it comes to the industry I’m working in at the moment which is Kannada entertainment, I respect the work of actor Yash very much and would like to hear his advise for this industry as a veteran.
What is the biggest misconception that you think people have about you?
People assume that if you look a certain way then life is easy for you – you don’t face challenges in work or personal life the way others do. This is not true at all, I have worked hard to reach where I have in my career and earn financial stability with no external help whatsoever. I have faced cases of racism as well where people assume that being a foreigner means that you will be of certain mentality that does not match the Indian one. The fact is I’ve lived in India most of my life and can respect and connect deeply with Indian values and way of thinking. I believe life is about having an open mind and being aware that everyone is equal and thus being biased or prejudiced is very shallow.
Any message that you want to send to your readers?
Always be grateful for what the universe has given you. Don’t let negative people bring you down. Do your best and always do something that is challenging and inspiring for you, something you are proud of. You won’t always get the money or fame or appreciation that you hoped for. But don’t lose hope and think creatively about how you can make a tough situation better. For me humility is key regardless of fame or fortune and believe that one attracts what one puts out in the universe.