A Family of Best Friends
Actress and model, Jyotsna Yogi and her family share with us the inside scoop of their family dynamics, how they spend their Dashains together, how she makes time for her family despite of her schedule and many more aspects of her personal life.
If you regularly use Facebook, YouTube or Instagram, then chances are high that you already know who Jyotsna Yogi is. The fresh new face in the Nepalese fashion and glamor industry, Ms. Yogi has already captured the nation’s attention in a relatively short amount of time. Apart from her massive social media presence, she is also the face of Samsung for Nepal and the goodwill ambassador for Project Humane Nepal, an educational organization that is dedicated to raising awareness about animal welfare issues.
How would you describe your relationship with your family?
Jyotsna: There are four of us at home; seven if you count our dogs Fucche, Nau, and Bhunti. We are like best friends having sleepovers under the same roof every day. I share everything from news about my work to even aspects of my love life with them. There’s nothing hidden among us. No one member is closer than the other. When it comes to making any decisions, I always make it a point to consult my family first. It’s only if everyone agrees that I follow up on them.
Is there any specific thing you love about Dashain?
Jyotsna: We’re all on holidays during Dashain, and we like to celebrate it as such. We make a lot of delicious dishes together and by “we,” I mean my mom cooks them and we hover around her. We help her with whatever she needs. Once the dishes are prepared, we sit, eat, talk and laugh the time away.
Josan: Sometimes I go trekking with my friends. I don’t go every year but it’s the only time of the year that we get the opportunity. Other times, I just stay home and spend time with my family.
How religious is the Yogi family?
Jyotsna: We have never been an extremely religious family. We still follow all of the cultural and traditional processes though. We don’t practice any extreme fasting or anything of that sort. Maiyaa used to do it when we were younger but she doesn't have to anymore.
How involved is everyone in the religious rituals?
Jyotsna: Maiyaa does all the pooja in the family. I haven’t conducted one myself yet. Maybe I will in the future. I help her with whatever she needs and I make myself available whenever she needs me for anything.
Josan: I am also as equally involved as my sister when it comes to poojas.
Sharmila: I do all the initial preparations for our poojas and my children help me out. Both Jyotsna and Josan are very faithful.
Any special Dashain related memories you'd like to share with us?
Jyotsna: I don’t play cards, so every Dashain I and my eight first cousins meet and play Uno. The house tends to be chaotic around Dashain, but it’s the good type of chaos. Talking about Dashain related memories, me and Josan literally have the same handwriting. During school, if we got a month-long holiday, I would always finish my homework in the first ten days because then, I’d get the remaining 20 days all to myself to enjoy. Josan on the other hand, who is 4 years younger than me, used to say that he’d finish his homework on the last week. But every year, he would get sick and I’d have to do his homework for him. I never liked it, mostly because I had already done it when I was his age but I would do it anyway. This almost happened until he reached his Bachelor’s.
Sharmila: Every Dashain is very memorable for us. Spending quality time with the family always makes me very happy.
Has Jyotsna’s line of work affected the family dynamics in any way?
Jyotsna: My work commitments haven't really affected my relationship with my family in any way. It’s just that I see them less often nowadays. We try to get around it by calling each other whenever we can find time. It’s still the same when we’re around each other.
Sharmila: I also don’t think that much has changed. When she first told us that she wanted to get into this industry, people used to ask me and my husband whether it was okay for us to allow her to do it. We weren’t very aware of what she was getting into. But we have always supported her decisions and as long as she is happy, will continue to do so. Her relatives still call us to this day, to tell us how much they liked her movies and music videos.
How did the family react to Jyotsna’s new found fame?
Jyotsna: I don’t consider myself a celebrity. It’s not like I’m popular worldwide. But I do get recognized every now and then, especially by youngsters who have watched my music videos. My parents are proud of what I do and my brother has been supportive from day one. My parents were a little hesitant and skeptical at first, and for valid reasons. During the initial stages of my career, the Nepalese fashion and glamour industry wasn’t as established as it is today. The first shoot was the only time that I didn’t listen to them. But once I showed them the output of the project, they realized that they had nothing to worry about. Now they are very supportive, and most importantly, happy with what I do. They don’t shy away from giving me their honest opinions and reviews and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Josan: I was actually the first person in our family to push her to get into the modeling field. I was the one who convinced our father to let her pursue her interests. Even when Jyotsna was feeling skeptical, I was the one who encouraged her to keep moving forward. So I am happy with what she has achieved.
Sharmila: Like she said, when she first told us that she wanted to pursue modeling, I and her father were hesitant because we were under the assumption that the entire modeling field was very shady. But when she showed us the final products, we were very impressed, and now, we are fully supportive of her decisions.
How do you make up for lost time because of your work?
Jyotsna: I mostly do freelance work. Sometimes, I need to work for 24 hours every day. It’s easy to lose sense of time when you've been working for so long. Other times, I don’t have to do anything for up to three weeks. It’s during this time that I turn into an introvert, don't go anywhere and just stay home with my family. It feels like a mini vacation where I relax and catch up on everything that I’ve missed before eventually go back to work again.
When did you know that you wanted to get into modeling and acting?
Jyotsna: Ever since I was little, I used to love watching big pageant shows like Miss World and Miss Universe. My uncles used to tell me that I needed to win such competitions when I grow up. I never took it seriously but I have to admit that I found the prospect very interesting. I suppose the first time I got serious about modeling was while I was doing my Master’s, when my friend asked me to give it a try. It was interesting for me because I wanted to get away from the monotonous lifestyle that I was living. I loved the first experience, or should I say the first taste of it. With the support from my family, I slowly started learning the ins and outs of the field. Now, I'm a full-time model and actor and am committed to the field.
Was there ever a sibling rivalry between you and your brother? Who is usually the peace maker between the two?
Jyotsna: As with any sibling relationship, we do fight every now and then. But with us, at least, it never lasts for too long. After a while, either he or I need to share something with one another and the initial argument just disappears as if it never existed in the first place. We never hold grudges against each other.
Josan: We have a normal sibling rivalry. We have always been very competitive with each other. In rare cases when we have a big argument, either she or I step forward to establish a truce. I suppose it depends on the situation. Although I must admit that it's usually I who has to make it up to her. We are currently very competitive in this mobile game called PUBG Mobile.
Do the two of you have any similarities and differences? If so, what are they?
Jyotsna and later Josan: Apart from our identical handwriting, one of the things about us, which I find very interesting, is just how similar our thoughts are. 98% of the times, we turn out to be thinking the exact same thoughts. Another thing is that we both have an equal amount of good and bad characteristics/ aspects within us. We are also big foodies and love to try new cuisines. Of course, being in this field, I have to look good and take great consideration toward my style and image, but when I'm not working, I tend to wear whatever is in front of me. Josan is exactly the same way. We both prioritize comfort over style.
When it comes to differences, Josan is obviously taller than me and in terms of understanding people, more mature as well. Despite being four years younger than me, he is the one who is more socially established. Jyotsna, on the other hand, reads more and has always been more academically gifted.
What was it like raising the two?
Sharmila: Jyotsna spoke her first word when she was nine months old, and it was "Maiyaa." Words can't describe how happy I was when I heard it for the first time. She has always been a good daughter. Josan doesn't talk as much with other people but with his sister, he speaks a lot. This has always been the case. Some nights, I wake up to check up on the two, and even though I could hear them talk, by the time I reach their room and turn on the lights, they would pretend like they're asleep.
Do you have any message for the readers?
Jyotsna: To the readers, I'd like to advise you to spend as much time as you can with your family. Be close to them because they are the ones who will always be with you. They are the ones who will stick around no matter how you are or what you do. Don’t ever hide things from them. Be their best friend. Help them whenever you think they could use some. Be nice to them and always give them respect. Don’t do anything to hurt them. And lastly, be a dog lover.