‘Spiritual’ Bollywood actress Deana Uppal takes time out to feed Ilford’s homeless

Deana Uppal, fourth from right, with SEVA volunteers in High Road, Ilford

Deana Uppal, fourth from right, with SEVA volunteers in High Road, Ilford - Credit: Archant

A Bollywood star took time out between shoots to help feed the homeless in a town centre.

Actress and model Deana Uppal, 27

Actress and model Deana Uppal, 27 - Credit: Archant

Model, actress and former Big Brother contestant Deana Uppal, 27, joined the Sikh Empowerment Voluntary Association (SEVA) on its weekly homeless feed in High Road, Ilford, last week.

The former Miss India UK pageant queen from Middlesbrough, who now lives in Mumbai, India, said she met up with volunteers after seeing their work on social media.

“I saw that they had been feeding the homeless and I wanted to help out for a long time but I’d been travelling,” she said.

“It was surprising to see how many homeless people turned up. There was about 40 people.

Deana Uppal helping SEVA volunteers in High Road, Ilford

Deana Uppal helping SEVA volunteers in High Road, Ilford - Credit: Archant

“But it was a great experience – it was really nice to join the volunteers.”

Deana, a practicing Sikh, who helped serve food cooked by volunteers, said taking part in seva – selfless service – was an important part of her faith.

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“I’m quite a religious and spiritual person and seva is one of things I love about Sikhism,” said the actress, who appeared in reality TV show Big Brother in 2012.

“I got into it [seva] as a child and now I love going to the gurdwara over in India too.”

She said her faith helps her keep calm while balancing a stressful schedule.

“Everything bout Sikhism is really peaceful, it calms me down and keeps me grounded,” said Deana, whose latest film Born to be King was released on Friday.

“I’m very careful not let myself get big-headed.”

Deana was full of praise for the younger and older volunteers alike.

“There were a lot of kids that came and they were really excited about it,” she said.

“It’s great to see that they’re helping people at such a young age – they were working very hard, it’s amazing.”

“The volunteers deserve a lot of respect.”

SEVA organiser Jagdeep Singh Sohal, 32, from Emerson Park, said: “We are grateful to Deana for reaching out to us and taking time out of her busy schedule to get involved.”

To find out more about the group visit seva.uk.net

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