Born Katiya Mirza, this icon from the roaring 70s and 80s had more to offer than just her sensuous appeal. At the peak of the 70s and 80s where anything went, Katy Mirza sounded the sirens with her bewitching persona and looks that were perfect for magazine covers. As she entered the world of lust, desire, and glamour, we take a look at the bygone glories of a life that was not spoken enough about.
Mirza was born in Aden, Yemen, into a humble Indian household to parents who were both income-tax officers at that time. As economic struggle brought the family to the thriving UK in the late 60s, Mirza began to realise her dream in the creative world as an aspiring graphic designer.
To make ends meet, she also doubled as a receptionist at the London Hilton hotel in 1972 when a Playboy Club employee spotted her as a potential ‘bunny’. After an audition and a brief meeting with the late Hugh Hefner, Katy was inducted into the lifestyle and entertainment world as a Playboy Bunny.
A Playboy Bunny needed to undergo rigorous training that covered everything from cocktail tasting to conduct with customers before being awarded the position. Mirza’s charm drove her to varied destinations from then on. She soon began to frequent the centrefolds and the covers of the magazine which were earlier reserved for beauty pageant winners or established actresses.
In a rite-of-passage for every Indian celebrity paving her path in the entertainment industry, a clamour of attention and film offers from her homeland brought Katy to Mumbai’s shores by the 80s. Her short-lived stint with Playboy had turned a lot of eyes which ultimately led her to pocket a couple of Bollywood films in the years that followed.
Mirza’s 7-year stint with Bollywood was made up of more misses than hits. This handful of A and B grade films included Kissa Kursi Ka, a controversial political satire that was shelved for closely resembling the life of Rajiv Gandhi. It was only following this that Katy realised she was seated in an aeroplane that was unwilling to leave the runway.
A short time later, she found herself back in London focusing on modelling and ad-film projects. Unbeknownst to many, Katy’s brave, illustrious life slowly wound down in the decades that followed.
The retired actress and model continued to live a comparatively quiet life in London till 2017 when news of her passing did not gain the attention that it deserved. She was survived by her only son Firoz.
“The one thing that stands out to me till today was how warm and caring my mother was despite the good and the bad situations and she would always tell me that anything is possible/achievable if you put your mind to it; and she was a prime example and role model in this regard excelling in a number of fields from acting, modelling, art & Interior Design.” chimes in Firoz Mirza who opens up to Homegrown about the illustrious life that his mother lived
We often talk about glorious lives that have left an imprint in the history pages and Mirza’s life was nothing short of that. As an independent woman changing course to rewrite her own story one too many times, this playboy bunny’s life is a biopic on its own.
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