Today we’d like to introduce you to Sanjana Iyer .
Sanjana , please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in India – Mumbai, to be specific. It was the film industry hub of India so I was exposed at a very early age to performing arts in all its forms.
All I really know is that I never loved anything quite as much as I loved being on stage and having an audience watch me do what I love. I sang, I danced, I acted in plays and it truly made me feel alive.
For a long time I thought of this passion as a hobby and tried very deliberately not to make it my sole purpose. It worked temporarily as I dabbled with other creative outlets; but eventually caught up with me.
When I was 17 I left everything and everyone I knew and was familiar with and enrolled in university for fashion. Yes I loved it and yes I met some incredible people along the way. But it became staggeringly obvious to me by sophomore year that I could never do this for the rest of my life. In fact, there was only one thing I wanted to do that would motivate me to get out of bed every morning. And that was the stage. That was film. That was being an artist.
So I took a chance and applied to Stella Adler, which was the only school I really felt drawn to. Somehow, I got accepted into their conservatory program. And here I am now!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve definitely had my fair share of obstacles. But they were more internal than external.
The general sense of cynicism when it comes to this industry started to convince me that I’d have a harder time than I wanted to have. I allowed everyone else’s opinions and experiences influence what I expected to experience.
But along the way I really found my faith, my spirituality and an unconditional confidence in what I had to bring to the table.
After that, I felt unstoppable. What everyone else convinced me would be difficult started to become very easy. It was all about what I expected and once I changed that, everything became joyous, even the “struggles”!
What else should we know about you and your work? What sets you apart from others?
I am an actress and a model. But I definitely identify with the former more than the latter.
There’s nothing that stimulates me as much as having an audience I can tell a story to. I’ve worked in theatre for a few years after graduation but slowly made my way into film.
What sets me apart from others, I think, is what I bring to the table as an artist. I keep my acting extremely raw, natural and true to me even if I’m playing another character. I don’t perform; I like to be as truthful as possible.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I recently just wrapped up filming a project that I am extremely proud of. It’s a feature film titled John Jacob Schmidt, and one of the most amazing scripts I have ever read in my life. I can’t wait to see where it goes!
I also featured in a music video for a band I absolutely love, called ARIZONA, and the reception it has received on YouTube and all other platforms has been truly humbling!
- Instagram: @sanjiyer