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Prior to acting, I was a competitive ballet dancer and martial artist.” Aside from training, Shankar recalls racing home as a child to watch her favourite TV shows and dreaming of starring in a sitcom someday. It was actually the only TV show that I’d come right home from school and watch.” Despite her passion for television, Shankar noticed one thing about many children’s shows that troubled her.
“There was one called , and I remember wanting a show just like her,” she says. “All of them identified to my sense of comedy,” she says.
“My great-grandfather founded the first theatre production in Guyana, where my parents are from,” she says.
“He would create plays and travel throughout South America performing them.
“I made it without dying on Degrassi or ending up in a wheelchair! “There was no craziness that happened — I graduated.
My parents had just taken me to see a production of the Lion King on stage in Toronto.
Luckily, Shankar had a “rare breed of parents.” With a long family history steeped in performing arts, they took Shankar’s acting goals seriously, affirming that it was possible and encouraged her to pursue her dream. Although Shankar self-identified as “really green,” she auditioned for the part and got it.
Twice weekly, her father would drive his daughter five hours from Ottawa to Toronto, to attend 10-minute auditions. “One time, the reader couldn’t make it at an audition, so my dad had to read with me. “I looked like him, that was the main thing,” she says.
“Alli is one of my favourite characters that I’ve ever played,” she says. And then I’m like, ‘I have a black belt and I’ve been practising karate for over 20 years.’ So I’d like to break that misconception.” With a trip to Thailand on the horizon to study Muay Thai boxing, “incredible memories” behind her and a promising career ahead, Shankar has high hopes — and is grateful about one thing in particular.
“So I think it was just always in my blood to perform.” This 23-year-old actress is best known for playing the rebellious Alli Bhandari on , Shankar lived in Ottawa with her family and put all her energy into martial arts and ballet.
“My dad owned a karate school in Ottawa,” she says.
Matt said there was just one other character that they were looking to fill now and it was the character of Bree. People, friends of friends just brought each other on to the show.
They described what they wanted the character to be like and I was like “oh, I know a girl like that! I think I’m a more loyal friend so far than Gabriel has shown. I think a lot of it has to do with how quickly Matt and Sara (Tamasoukas) can write a new season, and then as well …