Nikita Chaudhry is an actress, activist and educator based in LA. Her fine arts school setting provided her with the inspiration and desire to become a professional performer, which led to her education at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her credits span from television, film, and theatre (under directors like Lilly Singh)! She values collaboration with fellow creatives (particularly in such an isolating industry), and loves that art can resonate so deeply with audiences and make them feel seen. Chaudhry serves as a board member for South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a “national movement strategy and advocacy organization committed to racial justice through structural change.” She advises young artists to pave their own way, and to understand that everyone’s journey is different -- it’s up to the artist to “imagine and build a life, purpose, and work that [they] love.” Read on to learn more about Nikita Chaudhry and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Nikita Chaudhry
Heritage: South Asian/Indian-American
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Current City: Los Angeles, CA
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Create your own path. No one person’s journey is the same; use your creativity to imagine and build a life, purpose, and work that you love.
How did you get your start?
I was very lucky to have access to a comprehensive arts education at my school, so from dance classes, to voice lessons, to plays and musicals, to summer programs, I ended up gravitating towards the stage in my formative years. Because I fell in love with it all, I applied to and auditioned for several schools to study acting, amongst other things, and ended up attending NYU Tisch School of the Arts, which then prepared me to pursue a professional career.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
My favorite moments in my career are always when I get to collaborate with friends, people I love or look up to, or those with whom I have worked with before. Community is really important to me, so being able to foster and develop that while working in what can otherwise feel like an isolating industry is transformational. A moment that particularly stands out is the first time I performed an original spoken-word poem in front of a diverse 500+ person audience. It was not only well received, but many came up after stating that they felt seen. That moment was deeply affirming and igniting. It encouraged me to continue to tell my story and create my own work; and reminded me of how art can truly make a difference in one’s life.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
The biggest challenge in my career thus far has been working within a very hierarchical structure of the entertainment industry, while also trying to abolish hierarchy and supremacy as an activist. It’s frustrating that so much of “what it takes” to be successful as an artist requires a great deal of privilege. It’s another reason why inclusive community, equitable collaboration and collective rebuilding are so pivotal.
What are some interesting facts about yourself?
When I was in middle school, I fought to be allowed to have an independent study in dance as part of my curriculum. Typically, only those in high school were allowed to do this, but I was always set on designing my own education to include as much as possible, and get the most out of artistic opportunities. I’m also just a fighter, and enjoy challenging others and being challenged. That personality trait, along with my dance background, is likely what led me to boxing/kickboxing and teaching fitness, alongside my performance career.
Do you have any organizations or non profits you work with you’d like to highlight?
I’m currently on the board of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). I try to support, learn from, collaborate with, and share as many grassroots and community organizations as I can -- especially by uplifting them digitally/through social media as that is how so much information disseminates now. I’d recommend following or reaching out for more highlights and ways to get involved.
If you come from parents who aren’t in the arts, what parts of them do you see in yourself that have helped you succeed in the business?
While they’re both physicians, my parents are very theatrical and have incredible senses of humor. In college, one of my acting professors met my parents and said to me “oh, you make sense now.” They command the rooms they walk into, and spread light and positivity everywhere they go. I connect with the fact that they’re always in for a good laugh, and are both the first to arrive on and last to leave the dance floor. Most importantly, their stories inspire me and I feel called to share them.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Trust that you’ll be okay -- you are even stronger than you think. Don’t compare or worry about anyone else’s path; focus on yours and do you. Prioritize taking care of yourself. What if it all turns out even better than you could have imagined?
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
I’m very bold, empathetic, resilient and silly. I think those attributes are particularly helpful in all facets of my career and life.
Do you have any self care practices you do to stay focused and sane? What was your self care routine before the pandemic and how has that (as well as your views of self care) changed throughout the pandemic?
I love taking long walks, especially with a cup of coffee. Anytime I can get myself in nature and/or to the beach, it really helps me breathe easier. I had to develop more ways of self-care during the pandemic -- so much so that now they’re structured into my daily and weekly schedules. Also the acts of journaling/writing/creating just for me… and most importantly, I can’t stress this one enough: THERAPY.
To find out more about Nikita, please visit her at:
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