#ThrowbackThursday: 10 Questions with Degrassi’s Melinda Shankar

My time working on thewaaxmuseum.net allowed me to interview some pretty incredible people for TMI Thursdays. So every week I plan to bring one out of the archives for you for #throwbackThursday.

At just 22 years old Canadian actor and fashionista Melinda Shankar has accomplished quite a bit; Known best for her role as the sassy “Alli” on Degrassi: The Next Generation, and her own YTV series “Being Indie” as Indie, Melinda has established herself in the industry. She took some time to talk with our very own Nikki Sin about fashion, family, and acting.

1. You seem to post a lot of tweets about your mother and how close you two are (which is both adorable and great to see a young person doing so). Did your mother inspire your love of acting?

So sweet of you to notice, my mom is the most important person in my life. She is a housewife who has dedicated her life to taking care of my family. I’ve never met such a giving, selfless person and I want to give her the world in return. Hence why our photos are just a hint of all the fun and laughs that we share on an everyday basis. My mom’s mom was an actress in Guyana, (Where my parents are from) and my great grandfather was a director for theatre. My grandfather was a jack of all trades including working in the music industry for fun. I was blessed with having an intro to the entertainment industry through hearing stories from my mom about my family tree. Through that, I have my mom to thank for inspiring me to want to continue the acting bug.

2. Fashion seems to be a big thing for you, how different is your personal style to that of your character on Degrassi?

Fashion is a huge part of my life as I entered into the industry as a child model. I have a huge input on Alli’s wardrobe because I love putting outfits together and styling characters. My personal style is a little more mature as I am 4 years older than Alli. I’d describe my personal style as versatile. My outfits range in style but are dependant on the event it’s for. On an everyday basis i’d say feminine chic. From having worked with elite stylists from childhood, i’ve learnt a lot more about fashion and have since decided to open an image consulting agency in the new year.

3. Can you tell us anything about you we may not know about you? 

I love to cook! Whenever I go to my family home, they look forward to me being their chef. I’m especially obsessed with creating Thai dishes. My friends come over on a regular basis for dinner.

4. You appeared in “Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars”, were you a fan of the original Harriet the Spy film before this role?

To be honest I saw the original after being cast as Janie, so that I could study the character and hopefully stay true to what people know and love. And also to see where fit to put my own spin to it.

5. Of any musical artist/group out there, which would you like to hear cover the infamous Degrassi theme song the most?

The Jackson 5 would be incredible! Fun and upbeat, very suiting for our genre.

6. How important is cultural pride to you? In your case you’re Canadian-Guyanese.

Cultural pride is very important to me. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to play Guyanese in a film called “The festival of light” which we filmed in both New York and Guyana. Getting to discover the country for myself and getting to finally put a real image to the ones I had imagined through my parents stories’ were amazing. The people there were insanely proud and supportive of my career which made me feel great that I was able to shine light on a country so meaningful to me and my ancestors.

7. Degrassi has recently been added to the MTV family, how does that feel?

I’m so excited that Degrassi is now on MTV, I first came onto the show when it was on CTV, then MuchMusic and now changing again. It’s really cool on a personal note to be able to experience teach network and cater to different demographics from one series.

8. I know set life can get tedious sometimes, is there any one thing that makes those long days tolerable for you? Maybe a certain food or inside joke you have with a cast-mate?

My cast members are also my real life best friends so work hardly feels tedious. We laugh non stop and have the most fun, always. We’re like a family since we work together all day every week day, hang out after set, on the weekends, and most of them stay at my place in the city throughout the work week. The best part about them is they know when to be professional and work and when it’s okay to hang out and be silly. The fun positive energy really breaks the stress of even the busiest and hardest work days.

9. You’ve had your fair share of romance on Degrassi over the years, how do you react/deal with on screen kissing/ is it strange for your family to see?
On screen kissing really doesn’t faze me anymore since I’ve been lucky enough to kiss all the cute boys throughout my time on the series. We’re all so close that it’s more silly then anything. My first on screen kiss was nerve wracking, but now it feels like just another action to do in the scene.

10. Whats next for you?

Miss Conception is my new company and I’ll be investing the rest of my time into developing the business and having our launch. I’m heading to Jamaica at the end of this month to the fashion component blogging for Ocean Magazine fashion shows and events being hosted there.

And according to Shanknar’s instagram she is currently taking some time off of acting as of now.

Stay tuned for fresh interviews on #TMITuesday! And if you know someone who would like to be featured tweet me @thenikkisin
Featured photo by Lane Doresey

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