We had the good fortune of connecting with Chhaya Nene and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chhaya, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think we owe it to ourselves to take risks in our lives. It makes our lives exciting, allows us to live freely and with passion, and it gives you something to look forward to. I’ve always lived my life taking calculated risks. I knew at an early age what I wanted to do. I’ve lived my life listening to my heart and knowing when it was time to leap. It’s scary and sometimes things don’t work out.  However, if I didn’t take risks, I wouldn’t have seen 11 countries in 6 weeks with a group of guys I didn’t know, but who became my good friends. I wouldn’t have gone undercover and reported on crime rings, I wouldn’t have covered the local election in India, and I wouldn’t be in California chasing my dreams.

Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?

In terms of my art:
Art for me is a mix of a lot of things. I am a Director, Actress, Producer, Coach (I have my own self-tape station), Journalist, painter, and novice piano player. I am always willing to try new things and I don’t mind multi-tasking. People say you should pick one thing to excel in, but I am a firm believer that getting your feet wet in all things teaches you a lot. We are all multi-hyphenates. We need to be good at a multitude of things. I like to try things: I leap and trust that the net will catch me.
In terms of what sets me apart:
I am stubborn (pronounced tenacious) and I am not going anywhere.
My inner voice is my guide. It tells me when it’s time to move to a new job or when it’s time to try something new entirely. That guide has led me to where I am today.
The journey/challenges:
It has NOT been easy, I have struggled, had five jobs at once, had all my family on one side of the country, been on food stamps, succeeded, gotten in my head and doubted myself, and then picked myself back up. I am not embarrassed of any part of my journey. It has allowed me to develop and work on mental toughness.
As an artist, we need to develop that toughness and find the things/people that ground us when it seems the world is falling apart.
Best advice:
1) Find the people who have your back and know who you are.
2) Make sure you are not financially stressed. That means tracking your finances and living within your means. Have backups to your backups so you are free to do the thing you want to do without having to worry about money. This is huge. When money is your motivation, it affects everything you do.  You’ll carry an air of desperation and people respond to that. When you’re set, you’ve got the confidence and people definitely respond to that.
3) Trust yourself. This is as big as having your finances set. Know that you have good instincts and even when you’re lost, they’ll guide you back.
4) Give yourself a break
Don’t get caught up in having to be perfect. Leave your house every day. Get up and get out. Go for a walk. Change your environment. Do something for you for at least 15 minutes. It’ll restore you.
My brand/story:
My brand/story is about kindness. Loving yourself and others.
I also want to stress: a huge part of my brand is when I do a job, my whole soul goes into it. If it has my name on it, you know it’ll have quality.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ooh! I have refined this list so many times. Let’s say we are pre-covid so locations are all fair game.

Monday: I would start the week in San Diego, get up early and head down from LA. If the Zoo is your thing, go early. The animals are up early and sleep in the afternoon. See the surrounding Balboa Park, it’s absolutely gorgeous! Then stop at La Jolla and see the sea lions before you head back up. If you’re hungry, grab a bite at ‘The Coffee Cup.’

Tuesday: If it’s the second Tuesday of the month, the LA Arboretum is free! It has a TON of peacocks roaming the grounds and it’s stunning. When you’re done, if you’re in a hiking mood, swing over to Eaton Canyon for a hike to see a waterfall. Here is my step-by-step guide for that: https://youtu.be/1d9C85TzP2U I would spend the rest of the day getting lost in Pasadena and see Wrigley Gardens/Arlington Garden and maybe grab a bite at Urth Caffe. Dinner should be at Sunny’s Sushi Hut. It’s a delicious hole in the wall with great Sushi and it’s affordable.

Wednesday: I would head to Downtown LA and see the different districts: flower/pinata maybe see Santee Alley. Go see Staples Center. Next head to the California Science Center, grab happy hour at La Barca, and then head to the Tamix truck that is on Hoover St headed towards downtown. They have SUCH delicious food. I would then head to the arts district, walk around, hit up the local bars, and have dinner at Wurstkuche. The fries are incredible!

Thursday: I would start the day grabbing a bite at Porto’s in Burbank, tour Magnolia Park, and then try a studio tour! If theme parks are your thing, go visit Universal. I would have dinner at Salsa and Beer in North Hollywood. Get there early, the lines can take ages!

Friday: Go visit Long Beach! Have breakfast at The Coffee Shop, grab cronuts at Simone’s, and see 2nd street. If you want more of an adventure, I would book a ferry to Catalina. Catalina is gorgeous and is worth a day trip out. If you come back, I would eat dinner at Midici in Sherman Oaks. Look for manager Jesse, he’s amazing!

Saturday/Sunday: Go visit Hearst Castle and visit the seals on the beach. It’s absolutely stunning! I would continue the drive up to Big Sur and soak in the views before spending Saturday and Sunday in San Francisco. Grab food in the Mission where you can get a Mission style burrito. There’s a million things to see in SF, you’ll have a ton of options.

Monday: On your drive back from SF,  stop in Gilroy and enjoy all the garlic! Stop in San Luis Obispo for a beautiful town, and then come to LA where you visit Griffith Observatory (the Observatory interior is closed on Mondays) before driving to Santa Monica and see the pier. Then head to Venice where you can catch local artwork and the canals before catching your flight.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family and friends are the most incredible foundation I have. I include my teachers and mentors in this group. Whenever I am happy, they have cheered me on. And when I’ve been crushed, they’ve cried with me and picked me up. I love them and owe them my successes. Thank you. You each know who you are and how much I love you. This shout-out also goes to every person out there wondering if they are good enough or can do it: YES YOU CAN. YOU ARE INCREDIBLE AND DESERVE ALL THE HAPPINESS. Just do it.

Website: www.csnene.com
Instagram: @chhayanene
Twitter: @chhayanene
Facebook: Chhaya Nene Actress
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYPAK7B_I0H7whXdSbm7wKw?view_as=subscriber

Image Credits
For headshot: Tandem Photo

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