We live in an era where Tamil movie actresses are subjected to merely looking pretty, and acting cute to play the perfect damsel in distress. Amala Paul, on the other hand, is busy shattering stereotypes, one at a time.

Here are 7 life lessons this actress has taught her fans:

1We all have to start somewhere

Source: India Today

Who remembers the movie Sindhu Samaveli? One of Amala Paul’s first movies, she plays a wife who ends up having an illicit affair with her father in law. The movie didn’t fare well in the box office, and Amala was the recipient of numerous curses and even death threats. It is sad that the Tamil masses cannot differentiate a role played in a movie to that of a real life person. Regardless, Sindhu Samaveli and her movie Mynaa, released the same year were incredible stepping stones for her.

2Love your body, and own it!

Source: Kollywood Today

The Tamil movie industry is overflowing with imported North Indian (and even Caucasian) actresses. All of whom are revered for their milky white skin, in spite of not being able to speak a word of Tamil. Amala, however, has stood her ground and is one of the very, very few actresses to speak Tamil and to own her dark skin.

3Screw society!

Source: TheNewsMinute

Celebrity divorces enthrall us solely for the reason that it humanizes them. Amala was romantically linked to director AL Vijay while working on the sets of Mynaa. In 2014, they tied the knot. However, their marriage ended two years later. Reports say that this was due to a disagreement between her and her in-laws, pertaining to Amala’s acting career. Knowing the stigma attached to being a divorcee in an Indian society, she chose to follow her heart. We adore her for showing the middle finger to society and staying true to herself!

4Never lose sight of your passion

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Through her separation and eventual divorce, Amala has been starring in various Tamil and Malayalam movies. Critically acclaimed Amma Kannaku was filmed during this tough period. Amala’s passion for acting never wavered, she carried the role of a mother returning to school with her adolescent daughter with such grace. The same year, she bagged the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor – South for her performance in the Malayalam drama film, Mili.

5Always stand up for yourself

Source: Cinema Express

Earlier this year, Amala reported an incident of sexual harassment against her. Amala alleged that a man had made sexual advances at her while she was at a rehearsal for a show. Amala immediately lodged a police report in the T Nagar police station in Chennai. The police have made an arrest in the case. This sent shock waves through the Tamil entertainment industry, as we rarely hear of actresses standing up for themselves in situations like these.

6Give and thou shalt receive

Source: Scroll India

Very recently, Amala has established a foundation to spread awareness about being an eye donor. Aptly named Amala Home, this foundation will also generate funds to conduct eye transplants for the needy. Practicing what she preaches, the actress herself has pledged to donate her eyes.

7Be brave and venture out of your comfort zone

Source: Colombo Tamil

Amala will be playing a young woman lost in the jungle in her upcoming movie, Atho Antha Paravai Pola. The story will be set in the western ghats and it will be a first of this kind for her. She is also set to play the part of a villain in an upcoming Telugu movie directed by Nizar Shafi. Most Indian actresses shy away from negative roles because it isn’t as glamourous as that of a heroine’s. Also, the Tamil audience of today generally like their women in movies portrayed as beautiful, docile, dumb creatures.

Kudos to Amala for being brave enough to dip her toes into the unknown!