When people saw photos of Miss World Bangladesh 2018 and Miss World contestant Jannatul Ferdous Oishee preparing fire fuel using cow dung, everyone lost their minds. That was four years ago. Oishee was shooting for 'Adam', her latest film, which was released during this year's Eid-ul-Fitr.
When the film finally hit theatres, people who knew her personally could not tell if the Oishee they witnessed in real life and the Oishee they watched on the screen were the same person.
People know Oishee as the young, simple girl from Pirojpur who represented Bangladesh in the Miss World beauty pageant. In the early stages of the competition, people back in Bangladesh bullied her for her simplicity.
But when she made it to the second head-to-head round, the same people compared her to the Bangladesh Cricket Team, saying "Oishee, you make us proud like our Tigers do."
"In fact, those who know me from before, were baffled to see me pull off a village girl's role so well. 'Your role in Adam was so convincing,' they told me," said Oishee in a recent interview with The Business Standard.
In just five years time, Oishee has acted in five movies, including the highly-rated Mission Extreme, and is currently in talks to sign up for more. All that is not including the amount of modeling she has been busy doing for multiple fashion brands and television commercials.
"Mission Extreme did not help much with acting in Adam; but it helped me greatly with the technical aspects. I already knew how to pose for the video camera and understand framing," she added.
Her character in Adam was based on a village girl in the 80s. Being only a young lady of 22, she never saw a girl her age from the 80s. However, she was born and raised in Matibhanga in Nazirpur upazila, Pirojpur, and therefore, one could expect she knew exactly what she did in Adam.
"The women I know from 80s are all grown aduIts. I observed their body language, how they move and talk, to reflect those in Adam," Oishee said.
While working in Adam, she received invaluable acting lessons from veteran actor Raisul Islam Asad. His humility and dedication to acting humbled her. This, to her, is her greatest take home from Adam.
"Among the other four films, I enjoyed Adam the most for its rawness," she added.
Transitioning from beauty pageant to acting
As a child, she always wanted to be an actress, but she did not know how or who to talk to about it.
"I was a regular student like any other. But I used to ask myself if my dream of becoming a film star will ever be real. At the same time, I wanted to represent Bangladesh to the world," Oishee said.
In the background, she always kept an eye on beauty pageant competition entries. Whenever she saw a girl being crowned winner, she imagined herself in the crown, sounding almost like a Cinderella story.
In 2018, she came to Dhaka to prepare for her ielts. While taking her ielts mocks, she got a call for an audition for Miss World Bangladesh. She registered during Eid-ul-Adha in 2018.
"Both my parents were supportive of this," she said. "I auditioned. The rest is history."
She was crowned Miss World Bangladesh with flying colours.
"After winning the Miss World Bangladesh beauty pageant, I finally got to represent my country to the world in the Miss World beauty pageant. It took place in China, 2018. I could not believe that I'd be taken positively there too. I was a simple girl from a small village town. I was young and I had never worn makeup before that," Oishee said.
While everyone was expecting to see an extremely glamorous girl at a pageant of that scale, Oishee went in with her simplicity and won hearts. Round after round she made her way up the competition.
The later stages of the competition got difficult for her and stress was building. Her journey at the Miss World beauty pageant ended when she got very close to the top.
However, she attributes this defeat as a wake-up call.
"I'd have become extremely complacent if I won the contest, thinking I can achieve anything I want effortlessly. But my defeat humbled me. I could not be the Oishee I am today if I didn't learn from my mistakes I made there," added she.