On a warm Wednesday, the heat is being augmented by a fresh waft of sensuality suffusing the surroundings. Dazzling centre stage, a woman in an off-shoulder orange gown is smiling moonbeams. Even as salivating shutterbugs, finding it tough to keep their dribble in check turn click-crazy, Sunny Leone eyes the scribe-tribe smilingly, flashing mega-wattage oomph with practised facility.
Leone is holding court with the media within the elegant confines of a five-star hotel in suburban Mumbai, over a development that has gotten her all chirpy. New York-based start-up escapex hand-picked her to be the first Bollywood star to launch her own branded mobile app on November 30, 2016.
“I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am at being selected as the first one from Bollywood by escapex,” gushes Leone, launching into her spiel with gusto. “The app is something that I have wanted for a very long time and now it’s finally here! It is catered to my super fans where they can see everything that is happening in my world in one app. I can’t wait to share so many things with my fans in one place. I’ve waited every single day for this one!”
Leone’s abiding admirers are in for a whale of a time. “The ‘Sunny Leone app’ will let fans access her social media handles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. “They can interact with me directly through the in-app social feed,” says Leone. “In a way this will provide an unparalleled experience for my fans who will be able to enjoy exclusive and unique content that I put out. I am a product of the social media and would not be who I am without it.”
The ‘Sunny Leone app’ will provide unique features such as push notifications, superstar posts and contests. An estimated 30 million people – that’s what her social media audience is pegged at – can now hope to have a closer connection with their ‘Baby Doll’ on her branded app.
It’s a Win-Win situation for Leone, since an artiste-owned app garners the star a greater slice of advertisement revenue too. The patented features of the app, will transform how fans interact with her and more importantly, afford Leone a chance to identify with her fawning acolytes, aptly termed “Super Fans.”
“Earlier on, I’d have many people come and tell me that I’m your biggest fan,” states Leone, “But now, I’d know for sure if you are one.”
Leone – who figures amongst ‘BBC’s 100 Most Influential Women Of 2016’ isn’t talking through her starry hat. “Fans can comment on a post and we have a fan-tracking per post that takes place,” she says, “That will help me to know how big a fan you are and whether you rank among the ‘Top 20’ or the ‘Top 50’. The more time you spend on my app, the higher your ranking goes. The only noise that you will get on my app is the noise that I make and you can access it through all the social media platforms. The best part is the freedom that my branded app gives me. I can post something crazy and share it with my fans.”
Leone, however, asserts that she didn’t sign of the escapex dotted line, without putting down specifications that she wanted them to adhere to. “I was sure that I didn’t want any internal branding happening on the app and was also sure that the e-commerce aspect was properly taken care of, “ she says, “I was also sure that I wanted all my social media handles to be accessed at one go on the app. If I didn’t have followers, I wouldn’t be where I am.”
When a media member demanded to know whom Leone “followed,” her response was pat, as if she’d cannily pre-empted this one. “Ranveer Singh,” grins Leone, “He’s so lively, crazy and he’s always up to something.” Guess, a certain Singh app-solutely approves…