I was recently told in a meeting with potential new representation, that they have no idea what to do with me because "they don't see me selling tooth paste to Middle America". Now I know that commercials is not necessarily part of my game plan in terms of my acting career, but this comment still had me very confused and to be completely honest, it had me annoyed as all fudge...
Which got me to thinking about why in the heck, in 2017 that's even a thought and more than that why wouldn't you give people the benefit of the doubt? Why wouldn't you call people to more? Why wouldn't you want to push boundaries and create a different view of the world? One that clearly exists.
I don't talk about this often because I truly feel that people have moved on or at this point should have moved on from trying to stick people in boxes, right? And also I believe that your work should speak for itself, that the stories you tell with your character is way more important than what you look like. I fully understand and respect that certain stories that are to be told, need to have specific ethnicities and voices attached to them to be told authentically.
I am East Indian South African. I grew up in a world that was very different to the one, that I live in now here in LA. I was born into apartheid South Africa, where you were forced to be put in a box of people who looked like you on the outside, giving no regard to who you were on the inside or what dreams you had. So it became normal to me to always feel like I needed to break out, that I was different and like someone was always trying to stick in me in places I didn't belong.
I will say that my parents are my heroes and they brought my sister and I up in a way that taught us that we were never any different, that we could do anything, achieve any dream with hard work and that you love everyone. You didn't see color, you just saw an opportunity to love and serve.
When I was seven, Nelson Mandela was released from prison and things slowly began to change, I was suddenly allowed to dream these different dreams and work towards them. It was in no way easy, it never is for anyone anywhere in the world to whole heartily pursue their destiny.
I'm so grateful that I grew up with the intention of breaking out of boxes and peoples expectations.
My lesson in all this is that, there is no honor in not having faith in people and how they see the world. There is always hope that we are changing and moving forward together.