Actress Lisa Ray — the beautiful survivor on GQ

It’s not to say that watching Lisa Ray smooth her sheer-stockinged thighs over one another as she leans into the curve of a vintage sofa isn’t alluring. It’s not to say that when she looks past the camera lens for a moment, lips in full pout and hair corkscrewing over her shoulders, something doesn’t start insisting it’s being imprisoned against its will. I’d be off my rusty rocking-horse to fill the world with such lies.

What should be said here is that, despite being the closest thing India’s ever had to a pin-up girl — she still gets called out for that Gladrags cover she did over 20 years ago — and having been formed by uniting the holy sacraments of miscegenation — Polish, Punjabi — and deracination — raised in Toronto, moved to Bombay in the Nineties and now has one foot here and one in Hong Kong — she’s actually a fun, easy person to talk to.

And if you didn’t know, you’d never guess she’d had cancer. But far from a charity case, Lisa says she’s “grateful, because a lot of people never experience that crisis that shocks you into a clear way of seeing, letting go of all the stuff that’s not a part of you and that you don’t need.” Far from any reticence, “I’m sort of an open book,” she laughs, talking about the manuscript of her forthcoming memoir, which will detail, among other things, her ongoing tussle with multiple myeloma. “This type of cancer is incurable,” she says, “people don’t realize I go once a month for blood tests and I’m still on some pretty heavy medication.”