PADI® is thrilled to announce an exceptional duo of PADI AmbassaDivers™: award-winning Indian actress Sonakshi Sinha and her dive buddy Indian actor and businessman Zaheer Iqbal. In 2022, Sinha was named the PETA Indian of the Year for using her platform to advocate for the ethical treatment of animals and has been named to Forbes India’s Celebrity 100 list multiple times as well as starred in multiple blockbuster films. Both Sinha and Iqbal are PADI Advanced Open Water Divers who are committed to inspiring others to join them in seeking adventure and saving the ocean.
“A PADI AmbassaDiver is someone passionate about using their force for good to encourage others to protect our shared blue planet,” says Julie Andersen, Sr. Director of Brand for PADI Worldwide. “We could not have found more respected and authentic partners as Ms. Sinha and Mr. Iqbal, both long-time ocean lovers who are dedicated to advancing our shared mission of creating positive ocean change. They are shining examples of how to protect what you love – and inspire others to do the same.”
Sinha’s love of water and snorkeling propelled her to earn her PADI Open Water Diver certification three years ago. The famous Hindi film actress, self-proclaimed environmentalist, and entrepreneur now unwinds by escaping into nature and disconnecting from her phone. She holds countless film nominations and awards for her work in front of the camera, is an animal lover who advocates for animal adoption and recently launched her own beauty brand Soezi™ press-on nails. During her downtime, she loves to scuba dive in Asia, the Seychelles, the Red Sea, the Great Barrier Reef, and locally in India’s Andaman Islands – where she recently earned her PADI Advanced Open Water certification with her partner Iqbal.
“It was love at first dive, and my love for the ocean has only gotten deeper with time,” says Sinha. “Ever since my first dive, I’ve been on a quest to become a better diver and explore more depths. It’s amazing becoming a PADI AmbassaDiver because it’s for something I love so deeply. I will do my best to encourage more people to dive and get to know the ocean better!”
Sinha and Iqbal share a mutual love for the ocean. When he is not acting or dancing in Bollywood films, he loves exploring new places with friends and family above and beneath the surface – with scuba diving being amongst his favorite hobbies.
“Diving into great depths is an exhilarating experience,” says Iqbal. “It unveils a world of beauty, mystery, and a sense of incredible calmness – as well as a realization of what ‘vast’ truly means. It’s peaceful observing nature below the surface and I am honored to become a PADI AmbassaDiver. I now have the opportunity to dive into a realm of endless wonder and I hope that more people take the opportunity to dive and learn more about the beautiful world beneath the surface.”
With a combined 30 million social media followers and both having recently starred in the Hindi comedy film DoubleXL, this Indian powerhouse couple joins an elite group of other advocates from around the globe who are working with PADI to encourage others to experience the beautiful world underwater as scuba divers and join them in helping to create positive ocean change for our shared blue planet. With their shared passion for scuba diving around the world, Sinha and Iqbal will continue to share their love for the ocean with fans, showcasing how scuba diving is an important part of their life that allows them to connect and return to nature to reset.
“PADI created the AmbassaDiver program to support extraordinary divers who dedicate their lives to illuminating the path that leads from curiosity, exploration, and discovery to understanding, stewardship and action. Ms. Sinha and Mr. Iqbal play a very important role in ocean conservation, lighting the way for others to become divers themselves and mobilizing communities worldwide to seek adventure and save the ocean with them,” continues Andersen.