Indian-American actress Avantika Vandanapu is just 16-years-old and she has already begun conquering the world with her craft. At such a young age she is going places, working in Hollywood projects, and was last seen in the Disney movie SPIN which also stars Abhay Deol. With a long list of awards and Avantika is also the first South Asian to lead a Disney Movie. I was recently in conversation with her and the young girl has totally left me impressed.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
At a very early age of 5, you realized your artistic calling. What was it that drew you to acting at such a young age?
I grew up being a dancer (Kuchipudi, Kathak and Ballet) since the age of 5 and I always felt drawn to the movement and expressional aspects of dancing. I was selected for ZeeTV’s Dance India Dance when I was 10 and the competition was being held in Mumbai. After experiencing the hub of Bollywood, I fell in love with the film industry. Once I came back to the United States, I seriously pursued an acting career. Taking drama classes at school, doing open-call auditions I found online, and watching legendary actors in movies – are just some of the things that convinced me that acting was my dream for life.
I hear you have been home-schooled. Any specific reason behind that?
Acting as a profession needs a lot of travel and it would also mean very irregular hours of work, working at places where there is no wifi for any school work. Therefore it was getting very difficult for me to pursue my studies at regular schooling. Therefore I enrolled in online homeschooling from California where there is flexibility with attendance and submission of work.
You have worked Down South, done American Theatre, represented some big brands, and also acted in Hollywood. Are you happy with the way your journey has unfolded?
I am quite happy with the way my journey has unfolded! I am excited to see the paths that are to come in both Bollywood and Hollywood. I’ve been able to experience several different aspects of the entertainment industry in a relatively short span of time – and I feel very blessed to be part of the journey.
Can you tell us about your experience of working on Spin? A Disney movie is like a dream come true, was it the same for you?
I absolutely loved working on SPIN. The team at Disney Channel was phenomenal. For a movie that was shot in COVID, I feel like our team had just as much fun, as we would have without a pandemic! I’m glad I left with beautiful memories because this project means so much to me. To be the first South Asian to lead a Disney Channel movie is insane. And as a South Asian person who grew up with Disney Channel, but didn’t have a movie like SPIN to watch, it means a lot.
You have won so many awards, does the victory flatter you? Has it ever made you feel overconfident?
I truly appreciate all the awards and recognition. I have definitely felt amazing about being acknowledged, but at the same time, being amongst such talented, intelligent artists in Los Angeles is very humbling. I also compare and critique myself more often than I probably should, so it’ll take a bit of time before I actually give all of the awards some credit.
What’s next on your plate? Can you tell us a little more about it?
I have just finished shooting for a Netflix Movie called ‘Senior Year‘ with comedy actress Rebel Wilson. And I have recently purchased the rights of a New York Times Best Selling Novel for producing into a film. I am currently in the initial stages of pitching the idea of the movie to the producers and the production companies. In the future, I would like to be a part of empowering movies that shed light on important issues in our society. It’s very crucial to me to play roles in films that can truly make a difference!
I am sure, Avantika is going to keep making us proud in the future too. More power to you girl!