Most of the time, when I sit down with a guest in the studio to record an episode of Five Things, I’ve only met the other person once or twice before, if that. I ask questions and learn about their life stories in real time, as they tell me about the objects they want to discuss. But in this week’s episode, the guest was one of my oldest (read: we’ve known each other for a long time) friends.
Reshma Shetty and I met nearly 20 years ago in Lexington, Kentucky, when she had just moved to town for graduate school in music and I was working at the university. Later, we both lived in New York City, right around the corner from each other. I helped her practice her lines when she had an audition for a TV show that turned out to be her first big gig: the role of Divya Katdare on USA Network’s Royal Pains.
That show has now ended after 8 seasons, and Reshma had her first child a couple of years ago, so life is looking different for her these days. It was fun getting the opportunity to talk with my longtime pal — for everyone to hear.
Listen to our conversation in the player above.
On how she spent her childhood in England waiting to move to the U.S.:
“My parents applied for a green card for 11 years. They waited 11 years to get it. I mean, you go look at studies, the immigrant cycles for Indians — especially medical, engineering-bound — the first stop was England because it was the easiest visa to get. And then the next stop was America. And to get from England to America, it took them 11 years. Even with sponsorship, even with skills that one could add to the infrastructure of America.”
On the racial element in casting for film and television:
“It’s something that needs to be talked about, and it’s something that is much deeper than I think anybody really talks about. It’s very subconscious. We all have it, we all have an idea of who we think the heroine and the hero should be in shows, and who the co-star should be. And it’s very hard for our psyches to be able to look at an Indian woman as a lead. There are always typecasts that are involved. I’ve played two doctors already on TV. Doctor roles are always sent to me, other roles are not. Tough cop roles don’t come my way so often.”
After she had a miscarriage during her first pregnancy:
“I have not had easy fertility options, let’s say. So it was a battle, and this [pregnancy] was a success. So when it was taken away, it was definitely one of those moments — but then again, right after, I kind of went, ‘Alright, how do I make this happen? What do I do now?’ And I have a beautiful baby now, so it’s all good. It was just very — I hate things not being in my power and that was so not in my power.”