She was born Karen Malhotra but is proud of her "alter ego" -- that of world-famous porn star Sunny Leone. In India to participate in Bigg Boss 5, the Indo-Canadian says she is not just upbeat about spicing up the controversial reality show, but also about entertaining her Indian fans for the first time.
"I've been to India a few times. I was here in February and again came in May 2008... so I have been visiting the country on and off. But this is my first time here as an entertainer and I'm looking forward to a positive feedback from all my lovely fans," Leone told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
The 30-year-old, who landed in Mumbai Thursday night, will enter the Bigg Boss 5 house on Saturday night. But her entry will be shown on Colors channel Monday. Surprising, as it may seem, Leone claims she has been following this season of the show ever since it started.
"I've been seeing this show, episode by episode since Oct 2! It's really exciting, so I am more excited about meeting everybody in the house. While watching the show, it was a little hard to picture myself in there, but I think I will settle in well once I am there," she said.
Born to Punjabi parents in Ontario, the bisexual girl worked at a bakery before entering the pornography scene. She changed her name for safety.
"Sunny was one of my favourite nicknames. So I changed my name to it for safety reasons, for the fear of what I do. Not that I am scared, but this is just my alter ego and I love my alter ego," she said.
Leone was named Penthouse Pet of the Year in 2003 and she also signed a contract with adult video production company Vivid Entertainment. After featuring in several videos and adult films, she was named among 12 top porn stars in 2010 by Maxim magazine.
No wonder she is hoping to cause fireworks in Bigg Boss 5!
"I think the very fact that I am showing up on a show like this will make for a jaw-dropping moment for many people inside and outside the house. But I guess it would be interesting to see who knows me and who doesn't in the Bigg Boss house.
"It would be fun to see how the guys react... because when most guys see me, they don't know what to do with themselves," she said nonchalantly.
Nevertheless, she admits: "I am as intimidated about their reactions as anybody would be."
Leone's family moved to the US when she was 13, but the curvaceous beauty can "speak and understand" a bit of Hindi and Punjabi in her 'pardesi' accent.
"Mujhe aati hai thodi bahut Hindi aur Punjabi! (I know a bit of Hindi and Punjabi)," she said, in her jetlagged, tired voice.
While in Bigg Boss 5, Leone wants to do what she loves doing in India -- "eating Indian food".
She also hopes to try her hand at cooking. But even as many await to see what an internationally-known porn star has to offer Indian family audiences, one wonders what all Leone would do to spice up the already spicy show.
A thriving career as a porn star has not stopped Sunny Leone, born to Punjabi parents hailing from New Delhi, from getting married. Born in Sarnia, Ontario, in Canada, Sunny moved with her family to California as a teenager. She studied to be a nurse and tried modelling but didn`t succeed because of her height, only 5 ft 4 inches.
Her life changed when an exotic dancer friend introduced her to nude modelling. Her exotic looks brought her the Penthouse title and later a contract with Vivid Entertainment, a quality erotic film production company which has crossed over into mainstream entertainment.
Sunny`s parents, who migrated from New Delhi 28 years ago, have some idea of what she does for a living, `but not entirely`, she says. She has not been to India since she was a little girl but is planning a trip now to meet her extended family.
Sunny lives in Sacramento and in Hawaii.