Priya Mahendra is an actor based in Short Hills, New Jersey. She seeks to be part of narratives that explore, and to play characters that navigate love, equality, humanity, hope, freedom, courage, belonging, legacy, curiosity and compassion. Her latest work, The Princess Possibility Project, brings to life the hopes, constraints, dreams and desires of seven princesses (Anastasia, Ariel, Cinderella, Mulan, Belle, Jasmine and Rapunzel) through their “I Want” songs. The intention of the video series is to raise awareness that universally known and loved characters can be portrayed in a consciously inclusive way, a topic Priya is passionate about. When not working on an artistic endeavor, Priya enjoys meditation, hiking, mindset work and spending time with her family. Her father, mother and brother have all had a positive impact on her life, teaching her the importance of hard work, staying curious and leading with joy. Read on to learn more about Priya and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Priya Mahendra
Heritage: South Asian
Hometown: Short Hills, NJ
Current City: Short Hills, NJ
The Princess Possibility Project
Did you always want to be in the arts, or did you have another path before you got here?
Yes and no! I grew up doing Indian singing and dance and loved being in the school musicals. In college, I studied the business side of Entertainment, and the dream back then was to be an agent. After working at ICM Partners for a bit, I followed my heart over to the performing side. So, while I got a much later start than most, I am so grateful for the path I took.
Do you have any side projects you’d like to highlight?
Yes! The Princess Possibility Project. This is a video series I made during quarantine that brings to life the hopes, constraints, dreams and desires of seven princesses through their “I Want” songs. I explored Anastasia, Ariel, Cinderella, Belle, Mulan, Rapunzel, and Jasmine. The intention is to raise awareness that universally known and loved characters can be portrayed in a consciously inclusive way. You can check it out on my website.
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?
My dad (engineer/finance) is patient, full of integrity, hardworking, and kind. He’s helped me learn the importance of pursuing my dreams by staying true to myself and my values. My mom (architect/yoga teacher) is super wise, an avid reader, down to earth and warm, and always looking to learn more about life. She’s helped me to stay curious, pursue excellence, choose faith in myself and my dreams, and to have some fun along the way!
I’ve also learned a lot from my brother (finance/entrepreneur), who is the smartest and coolest person I know. During quarantine specifically, he’s helped me to learn the importance of balance, leading with joy and doing what I love, and training like an athlete (mind and body).
Do you have any self-care practices you do to stay focused and sane?
Meditation, hiking/being outside, mindset work, spending time with my family, reading, wine.
As a storyteller, how do you pick the stories you want to work on and what goes into putting a story together, whether on stage, page, or film?
I seek to be a part of narratives that explore and play characters who navigate through the ideas of love, belonging, equality, humanity, hope, legacy, freedom, curiosity, compassion and courage. I am passionate about playing characters in existing narratives and expanding the way they have previously been portrayed. I am obsessed with narratives that are anachronistic and stylize a certain time period through the lens of the modern moment (a la Hamilton, Great Comet, Spring Awakening, SIX, etc.).
If you could name one point in time when everything changed for you, what was it?
Hands down, meeting Jen Waldman. She’s my North Star, teacher, coach, champion, mentor, and friend.
To find out more about Priya,please visit her at:
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