By Anvita Reddy
Actors of South Asian descent have made strides in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. From blockbusters like Mindy Kaling’s “Oceans 8” and Priyanka Chopra‘s “Baywatch” to multiple bingeable TV shows like “The Good Place,” “The Magicians,” and “Silicon Valley,” we are finally starting to leave our mark.
In recent years, South Asians are making their presence felt in bigger, meaningful ways on reality TV, cementing the fact that we can totally dominate all fields in pop culture. Check out these seven South Asian reality TV stars who have graced our guilty pleasures:
Padma Lakshmi, “Top Chef”
Padma Lakshmi has been the host and judge of “Top Chef” since 2006, including becoming an executive producer of the show. She was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program in 2009. Prior to this, she also hosted two cooking shows on the Food Network called “Padma’s Passport” and “Planet Food.”
Mohit Sehgal, “The Bachelorette”
Mohit Sehgal had a very short but memorable stint on Rachel Lindsay’s season of “The Bachelorette.” Although he went home on the first night, he was the first Indian-American to be cast on the show.
Marikh Mathias, “The Bachelor”
Marikh Mathias made it quite far in Arie’s season of “The Bachelor.” She got sent home on week five which is about half of the season’s run. She is famously known by her advocacy against “glamshaming,” which is judging someone or passing comments about someone because they like to look good, dress up well, or pile on the makeup.
Nina Davuluri, “Made in America”
Miss America 2.0 is finally here 🙌🏾 Since my time serving as #MissAmerica and beyond, I’ve been fortunate to experience many proud moments in my career & recognition for my advocacy work (👉🏽 for a few). My swimsuit score had nothing to do with any of them. Today, the @MissAmerica organization moves into an era where we focus on inclusivity & empowerment by emphasizing what truly matters: substance within. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this evolution. Ladies involved in #MAO—what is your proudest accomplishment? Comment below & share some substance inspo! #ByeByeBikini #CirclesOfUnity — #MissAmericaStrong #MissAmerica2014 #MissAmerica2.0 #RetiringTheSwimsuit #NewEra #Competition #AtlanticCity #TransformationTuesday #Service #Style #Scholarship #Success #Substance
Nina Davuluri made history when she became the first Indian-American woman to win the Miss America crown in 2014. She went on to produce and host the first Indian-American reality TV show on Zee Americas, “Made in America. “Contestants on the show, who are also South Asian, embark on a journey where they are empowered and learn skills necessary for their desired futures.
Tania Mehra, “Second Wives Club”
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Mehra was one of the main cast members of E! Entertainment’s “Second Wives Club” during its one season run. The show depicts the lives of six women who are all with men who have been married before. Tania is with now-husband Dean Bornstein and they have two beautiful children.
Asifa Mirza, “Shahs of Sunset”
Asifa Mirza joined the cast of Bravo’s “Shahs of Sunset” during season four and was featured on the show in season five, as well. It follows a group of friends living in Beverly Hills, LA, who are juggling their burgeoning careers while balancing family and traditions. During the show, she was in a relationship with her possible fiancé (who was notably also her ex-husband.)
Tan France, “Queer Eye”
Tan France is most beloved for his French Tuck and fashion advice on Netflix’s reboot of “Queer Eye”. He is not only making strides in representation on reality TV but also as an LGBTQ icon. In fact, there is a South Asian contestant on “Queer Eye” season 2, Neal Reddy. The two bond over their South Asian-ness, giving us serious FOMO about not being in the same room as them.
“From being an ex-premed student to creating content for HerCampus and Spoon University, Anvita Reddy is breaking the South Asian norms and pursuing her passions. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Communications and Media and she is the Social Media Coordinator at MannMukti. She can also be found binge watching all things Bollywood and Hollywood. As an avid beauty and fashion junkie, she is often researching skincare on PubMed or at Sephora swatching her heart out. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter.”