The dearth of Desi representation in American Cinema, TV, Arts and Literature was quite the norm back in the day. Desi kids growing up would search for that role model who looked like them. Fast forward to the 2000’s we have Desi women making remarkable contributions in their fields, bringing pride and fame to our home countries and making up for role models to our future generations.
Norah is the daughter of well-known Indian musician Ravi Shankar. This uniquely talented and elegantly beautiful musician has won Grammy awards nine times and was recognized as the 60th-best-selling music artist of the 2000–2009 decade by Billboard’s magazine. Her album ‘Come Away with me’ was widely accepted and created record selling of more than 20 million copies along with getting certified as a diamond album.
Lahiri is an Indian-American author of Bengali origin, who is recognized as the first Asian to win the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. She was honored with this achievement for her debut story collection ‘Interpreter of Maladies’ in the year 2000. Her first novel ‘The Namesake’ turned out to be one of the bestselling novels and was also named the ‘New York Magazine Book of the Year’. She discusses the lives of Indian Americans, specifically Bengalis, in most of her fictions.
Tamanna Roashan is not only is she the leading South Asian makeup artist in the United States, but she is a renowned educator and the biggest supporter of her many students.Roashan combined her love of beauty and education to create multiple brands as a serial entrepreneur. She founded DYF Academy, a prestigious and intimate training program for aspiring makeup artists, created a fashion line in collaboration with Lashkaraa and co-founded Dress Your Place, a destination for glamorous home design. As a makeup mogul, mother, daughter and wife, Roashan proves to women everywhere that, with the right work ethic and support system, we really can have it all.
Rachel Roy is an Indian-American fashion designer more popular to the fashion world as the ‘person who dressed Mrs. Obama’. Rachel is of Bengali and Dutch descent who started her fashion career when she was just 14. Her list of clients includes many prominent names such as Kate Hudson, Jennifer Garner, Iman, Lucy Liu, Sharon Stone, and Penelope Cruz. When Rachel began her career there weren’t many Asian female fashion designers which made Rachel unique and her impact greatly helped other South Asian women to establish themselves in this industry. Rachel was honored with the Bollywood industry award for her contribution to American fashion in the year 2006. She also got the rare opportunity to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show!
Padma Lakshmi is a well-known internationally accepted personality who has proved her talent in diverse fields, being an actress, model, television host and author of cookbooks. Padma struggled with endometriosis (a female health disorder) for decades and took her problems before the public with courage, to support other people and serve as an inspiration for increased disease research, education, and awareness. This made her achieve the ‘healthy give and take award’ for the year 2011. ‘Easy Exotic’, her first cookbook was named as the Best First Book in the year 1999 at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards conducted at Versailles. She was also nominated for Emmy Award as “Outstanding Host on a Reality-Competition”, in 2006. Padma Lakshmi belongs to an Iyengar Brahmin family based in Chennai, she did her schooling and higher education in the U.S and completed graduation in Theatre Arts from Clark University in Massachusetts.
Mira Nair is an Indian-American filmmaker based in New York City. Her production company, Mirabai Films, specializes in films for international audiences on Indian society, whether in the economic, social or cultural spheres. One of my favorite movies: The Namesake
PC is the first South Asian to headline an American network drama series. Priyanka Chopra is an actress, best known in the US for her role as Alex Parrish on the ABC show “Quantico,” which aired from 2015 to 2018. Before starring on an American TV show, she was already a big deal in her home country of India. She is a major star in Bollywood and won the Miss World crown at the age of 18. Over the past few years, Priyanka Chopra Jonas has established herself as an A-list star in Hollywood. The actress has been named in Time’s 100 Most Influential People issue alongside the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Kiran Desai is the daughter of famous writer Anita Desai who happens to be the youngest woman to win the Man Booker Prize at the age of 35 for her novel ‘Inheritance of Loss’. Her easy and soothing writing style has won the hearts of millions of readers and she has been successful in earning a place in the world of literature.