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Meet Krishna Smitha

Today we’d like to introduce you to Krishna Smitha.

Krishna, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I got started in this business a bit later than most. I graduated from college with a degree in Neuroscience, med school bound and realized I didn’t want that. Maybe I was scared, maybe I was tired of it and I just wanted something different, maybe it was something bigger leading me to the edge. Maybe a little bit of all of those things.

I ended up going to an acting school in New York, getting my first job in Tollywood, coming back to my hometown of Dallas to work in regional theatre, before finally ending up in Los Angeles, working in film, tv, and theatre.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There have definitely been challenges in pursuing this career. But the further along I go, the more I’m realizing that they’ve been gifts, forcing me out onto the ledge, pushing me into growing more than I could have possibly envisioned on my own.

Coming from a household of an immigrant Indian family, it was tough having that first conversation about changing my entire career trajectory- almost immediately after finishing school for something completely different. Eek! It was so tough, in fact, that I lied to my family for almost a year, keeping up the ruse that I was still pursuing medicine, while instead secretly working and taking acting classes. I remember genuinely believing that I just couldn’t tell the truth that I was physically incapable.

And then one day I did it. It was impossible to keep the lie going. They were getting suspicious, and I just didn’t have the energy or will to keep it up. I told my family everything. And… it was painful. Painful how everything I had feared came true- the disappointment, the anger, the shame, the guilt. BUT it was freeing in the most amazing way. My parents ended up being the most supportive people in my life. I realized how much I had underestimated them, how little I really understood them. We play out our small, narrow perceptions of what we expect from the people and world around us constantly in our heads, thinking we “know.” We don’t.

I’ve struggled with guilt, the need for validation, feeling like an outsider, not feeling good enough, smart enough, blah blah blah enough- all the usual stuff that we all go through- as people of color, as women, as humans. I’ve been told I was too “dark” whatever that means. I’ve felt unsafe as a woman in certain situations. I’ve gotten big opportunities and completely blown them with self-sabotage. And I have learned that every time I feel fear, overwhelm, frustration, despair- every time I am struggling- it’s an opportunity to let go. Let go of old stories, old beliefs, old habits. And I gotta say each time I do, I feel bigger, badder, and more capable of stepping into my dream career.

Quite frankly, I don’t know that the version of me without the struggles would have made it this far.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am an actress-producer. I work mostly in television, though you’ll also find me in theatre around town too. I most recently co-produced a short-form series called ‘iLove’ with a kickass team of people I love. Making things you are proud of with people you love and respect- what more can an artist want?

I don’t really subscribe to the typical ideas of what we’re “supposed to do,” all those ideas we’re sold in this town and industry. I’m just focusing on the work- on myself and creating things- and trusting that the path will present itself.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success as doing what I love with people I love. That applies to career and personal life.

Also, if I can be truly comfortable in my own skin anywhere any time- just completely accepting of my authentic self (whatever that means), I think no matter how anything turns out, it counts as a success. Sometimes I’m great at this, sometimes I waver, I people please, I am scared to let people see me. And so each day is a new chance to try again. How did I show up in the world today?- If I can honestly say ‘As my true self and I love that.’- that’s my marker for success.

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Image Credit:
Headshot by Anthony Mongiello

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