#15 – Mindset of a Student Netflix Star w/ Sahana Srinivasan

Sahana Srinivasan is an Indian American actress, writer, and filmmaker. In 2017, she traded in her book bag for lights, camera, and action to become the host of “Brainchild,” Netflix’s new hit science education series directed by Pharrell Williams. Most recently she’s started rocking stand-up comedy, and she is drastically changing the face of STEM & STEAM while representing Indian culture in the mainstream.

Brainchild is Sahana’s current project, which explores topics that kids don’t necessarily learn in school and makes science fun and accessible to kids. Brainchild has covered topics such as dreams, motivation, and social media and teachers have even used it in their classrooms to get students excited about science in the real world. “I think it’s important to have a good communicator for this stuff, especially for kids…they understand more than you think,” Sahana says.

Sahana started taking acting lessons at Cathryn Sullivan’s Acting for Film. From there, she got an agent and began auditioning for projects, eventually landing Brainchild, her first silver screen debut. She has also been a supporting actor on the film Space Warriors, as well as worked in a sketch comedy pilot.

One of Brainchild’s unique points is that it features a diverse cast, in an industry that hasn’t always had the best record in diversity. Sahana says she was inspired by seeing a woman of color in the live-action education segments in the PBS show Cyberchase. She also says that film incorporates a lot of science, particularly in careers like sound engineering and others which incorporate a lot of technology and engineering into film production.

Since she was little, Sahana’s parents encouraged her to participate in the performing arts. She says, “That’s not the stereotype we’re used to hearing…pretty much most of my Indian friends are doing some kind of creative thing, or art…they all like singing or dance for sure.”

Regarding parents wanting their kids to go into more ‘stable’ traditional careers, she says, “For me, having supportive parents, I didn’t realize…that was a narrative that wasn’t super common, or as much as I thought it was…Think of how many names are in the credits of a movie…how many opportunities there are for you to have a job in this field. I think parents don’t see that oftentimes.”

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