Vidya Balan says she considers Shabana Azmi as her “strongest inspiration” but herself prefers to be dubbed as a humanist rather than an activist. The National Award winner has been instrumental in campaigning for child nutrition and education and women empowerment. She has been appointed by the Indian government as the brand ambassador in the drive to improve sanitary conditions in the country. “My work is an extension of my beliefs. I don’t think I am an activist at all. I am an actor first and I try using that to leverage attention to some of the causes I am associated with. I think I am a humanist,” says Vidya.