In our Spring 2011 issue, we feature actress Anisha Nagarajan, who plays the shy call center worker Madhuri in NBC’s comedy Outsourced. Here, more of our interview with her.
Audrey Magazine: Your character Madhuri on NBC’s Outsourced is shrouded in mystery, but slowly unraveling her true self. Tell us a little more about her.
Anisha Nagarajan: She’s got a lot more to her than meets the eye. She comes across as this very shy sort of wallflower, but she … can, at times, hold her own when it comes to retaliating when people say things to her about being a wallflower. It’s going be fun to see how people react to the surprises that she’s going to show everyone. I’m enjoying discovering her through the writing and through everybody else’s impression of her. It’s interesting to see where she’s going to go and what’s going to happen.
AM: In an Outsourced episode titled “Temporary Monsanity,” your character spoke out about how parents are sometimes wrong as you triumphed into landing a call center position rather than a factory worker job. Growing up, did your parents always support your career?
AN: It’s really interesting because I showed an interest for the arts from the time I was really young maybe 3 or 4. My parents noticed I had an inclination towards the arts, and so they started putting me in classes. So I would almost say the reason why I am doing what I’m doing today is because they were so supportive of the fact that I was inclined towards the arts.
AM: And you went to boarding school in India for one year — can you tell us more about that?
AN: I did. When I was about 15 to 16, that year I attended St. Mary’s School in Bhuna. It was kind of like Todd [the American expat] in our show, it was kind of a fish out of water experience for myself being your kind of American-born Confused Desi going to India and getting submerged in the culture and coming back and no longer feeling like I was an ABCD because I actually lived there. It was a life-changing experience, and I think just the values and the things that I learned about my culture while I was there and making lifelong friends who I still actually keep in touch with today, it was a very, very wonderful experience.
AM: How do you think the show has affected the Asian American community?
AN: I think the show is great exposure for Indian actors, actresses and writers. A third of our writing staff is of Indian descent. It’s giving a lot of Indian artists opportunities and ways to shine. I think that is fantastic for us. I think watching the show, you’re going to get some insight into our culture in a more accessible way because you’re seeing it though the eyes of Todd, and it’s been a lot of fun and I love the cast and group of people that I get to work with every day.
AM: Even though I live near Little India town in Artesia, Calif., the show’s definitely given me more insight into Indian culture.
AN: Wow, I love Artesia! I go eat there all the time. One place that my husband and I go to often is called Surati Farsan [Mart]. I think it’s owned by Gujaratis who serve your typical Bombay street food. That’s my favorite kind when I go to India. No matter what they tell me, I’ll still eat the stuff off the streets because it tastes so good.
AM: What kind of music are you currently listening to?
AN: I really like indie pop, I’ve been listening to Ingrid Michaelson and Regina Spektor. Florence and the Machine – I love her. I’ve been listening to Cosmic Love on repeat because it’s so great and she’s wonderful.
AM: Any projects in the works?
AN: Well, I’ve kind of been a Broadway actor thus far before booking Outsourced. I want to continue doing more Broadway shows as well as continuing my career in film and television, since it’s my first foray. And it’s a blast, so I want to keep doing it. I have never really lived in L.A. for such a long stretch and had a fantastic job that I love doing. And so I would really love to keep living here and do the bicoastal thing where I live in New York for the off-season and come back here and do whatever — film, television, anything I can get my hands on really, but I kind of want to straddle both if possible. That’s my goal.
AM: Team Tonya or Team Asha?
AN: I don’t know! I think I would have to say Team Madhuri. No, I think it’s probably going to end up being Team Asha, but who knows. It’s such the early stages of both relationships. I love Tonya’s character, she’s so feisty and fun, so it could be either. I’m waiting to find out myself.
– Katrina Guevara
What team are you on? Root for them on Outsourced tonight, and every Thursday at 10:30 pm on NBC.
What do you think of the show? Funny? Not? Good for Asian America? Not?