Long story short - she wasn't left behind with her dad's corner shop!
Where and when did your acting career start? Did you attend a drama school? Tell us the story!
It all started when I was 11 years old when I started attending a stage school where I learnt drama, and different dance styles like jazz, tap and ballet. My first role was playing a munchkin in a Wizard of Oz theatre production in London. I was quite shy so I only managed to gain confidence when I started doing drama in GCSE's. My first audition was in school when I was 16 years old for a feature film. I was shortlisted down to 5 people from the entire school. When I got to 6th Form, I use to miss class and go to auditions, don't worry I always caught up with my work. As for drama school I wanted to go after I did my HNC in Performing Arts, but then I was selected to go to India and take part in a Bollywood film, after that I just enjoyed doing workshops instead and learn different techniques. I went to Los Angeles and worked alongside great acting coaches, which really helped my acting ability for screen work!
Did you follow the traditional educational route of College & Uni? If so, what did you study? Was this to further your acting career?
I went to college where I did Performing Arts, but after I went India and saw the real deal at a young age I didn't want to go back into studying. Hence why short courses worked better for me to continue learning and at the same time working in the industry.
Picking media careers isn’t on the top of the favourite list in the South Asian community, how do you deal with the pressure of not following traditionally approved careers for example ‘teaching, ‘medicine’ or ‘law’?
Yeah, that's hard. I still have family telling me to find a more 'stable' career. But I believe you have to aim for what you're passionate about. I rather give my dreams a 100% and fail and know I gave it my all, than not to truly try at all. Luckily, my mums always supported me so I strive to work harder each day for her. She believes more in my dreams than me at times and that's why you got to keep pushing. Sometimes the vision needs to be much larger than doing it for yourself, but instead who you can and inspire with your story.
Staying motivated as an actress is tough, even the most famous of celebrities have the biggest de-motivational periods. How do you stay motivated?
I have a mood board in my room. It has pictures of inspirational people, beautiful holiday destinations, the goals I want achieve, the changes I want to make, so whenever I feel down, I look at it and remind myself why I'm doing this. Acting is probably the most competitive field to go down, and you receive more rejection than anyone. But you just need that one break, and that all comes down to perseverance and talent. I believe when the times right it will happen, hence why I'm surprised I still manage to wake up and chase after my dreams. I'm not doing it for the financial benefits, even though I'm sure that will be wonderful, but to be known as a great actress, work on amazing productions with amazing people, learn and develop my skills, gain more knowledge and hopefully on the way, travel the world.
Tell us some things you do to prepare yourself for a role? Do you talk to yourself in front of a mirror? Do you practise your lines or re-phrase them as you perform?
I try not to learn lines. I know that sounds weird but when you start learning the lines you forget what's more important which is 'character'. I try and understand the character first. How she will speak, how will she sit, her story. Then I will learn the scene, for example, what is happening, why its happening and then go from there. I doubt a director or producer will look at an audition and be like wow, she knew every single line, instead they will mostly be looking at how truthful your performance is. I do like to record myself though, and then watch it back, I believe that always helps with realising what expressions look truthful and what look a bit overacted.
Have you ever drowned yourself so deep into a character that you’ve become the character itself? Like a Heath Ledger / Jerad Leto ‘The Joker’ style? (Not that deep, but you get what we mean!)
Oh gosh! I've not had that opportunity yet! I think a character far from what I can relate to would be so fun to play with. Luckily I've always had characters I can connect with easily, whether that's through comedy or heartache as we all experience these emotions. I wonder if I'd ever get to in the future? Who knows!
Who are your biggest inspirations? In life and in your career?
Oh God, I have loads. I think my mum will always be number one, she's always worked super hard and her work ethic is something I've always respected. She's taught me no job is big or small, hence why I was always happy at the start of my career to be an extra in film/television and through that I made connections to work on bigger productions. She has always kept me humble and grounded which I believe is important in this industry. Celebrity wise, I really like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres, Dwayne Johnson and Shah Rukh Khan. I love people with a story, someone who didn't give up, no matter what happened. They inspire me so much!
Now let’s talk about Corner Shop Show! You play the role of ‘Maleeka’, can you tell us a bit about the character without giving any spoilers? What’s she like as a person?
She's very different to Malik. She has her life sorted, great job, money, car, she's like the princess of the family. And her and Malik do not get along. Malik's been left in charge although she tries to boss him around but they have really funny moments together which siblings will be able to connect with and sad ones. But I won't say any more as you'll have to see what happens between them both. It's a roller coaster!
What did you do to prepare for this role?
I literally sat and watched every single episode, interviews, spin offs, bloopers, anything with the word Corner Shop Show I watched within a few days. I had watched the episodes prior to this, but when I was selected to play Maleeka, I knew I had to study each characters as before I watched it more for entertainment purposes. So, I really had to understand Malik in order to understand Maleeka and that helped me prepare her back story and why she is the way she is.
Corner Shop Show has a big cult fanbase, with thousands of young people & families watching around the world. How does it feel to be part of the ‘Corner Shop Crew’?
It feels awesome! Like I can't explain it. And to be an important character like Maleeka, words couldn't describe the feeling when I was selected for that role. I have friends and family who are so excited to watch it, and that's the best thing about The Corner Shop Show, that anyone can view it anywhere and I can't wait for everyone to see what the new season brings! It's exciting!
What’s it like working on a Corner Shop set? Is it any different from film sets you’ve been on in the past?
Yeah, it's much more chilled. I think it's because everyone is around the same age so we are all able to get along (luckily) and still have a laugh along the way. Islah is great at directing, I was pretty nervous doing my first scene, but he was patient and I love the energy everyone has on set. Robert Hoang the DOP pays a lot of attention to the lighting and framing. Everyone is so passionate about the smallest detail and trust me when the episodes release you will see every little detail Islah put his hard work in to. I admire that creative edge about him
In your own few words, what can we expect for Maleeka’s future in the coming episodes?
Ahh, you'll see comedy, especially between Malik and Maleeka and 2 other new characters to come. But you'll also see some real moments, this season is emotionally crazy, there will definitely be scenes that may even make you cry, I'll stop there because you need to wait and see why what will happen!
Lastly, without sounding too cheesy, what advice would you give to someone out there who’s reading and wants to chase a dream like yours?
Don't give up! And don't listen to people. If you have a dream, you need to work towards it, better yourself daily and honestly, put the time and effort in and if you keep persevering you will reach there one day!
karishma debut's in corner shop show - season 2 oN july 30th 2017!
watch this vlog of karishma on set with the corner shop crew below!
you can follow karishma on her social media below