We had the good fortune of connecting with Divya Sethi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Divya, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Personally, I’ve never been one to shy away from risks. I think risk taking is crucial in leading a fulfilled life. Because every time we take a risk, whether it has a positive or negative outcome, we grow as individuals. I don’t believe we ever fail when we take a risk. We only fail when we stop taking risks. Wow.. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word risk so much haha. But that being said, risks have molded me into the person I am today. Every risk I’ve taken has slowly built up my confidence and self-awareness, and resulted in my ability to take even more calculated risks over time. At the age of 18, I came to New York City to pursue an acting career. I knew it wouldn’t be easy especially as a woman of color, but I knew if I didn’t try, I would always wonder. Honestly at the time I’m not sure I fully understood how risky this was. I didn’t consider how often I would get passed up on roles that were perfect for me, only to find out they went with my non ethnic counterpart. I didn’t realize how much I would have to invest in myself, with no guarantee of getting anything in return. But Hollywood was growing and I was trying to grow with it. Over time I realized that there will always be uncertainty, but in order to thrive I must embrace the uncertain moments and focus on the things that are in my control like my preparation, work ethic, and attitude. If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this journey, it’s that the constant thought of “what if?” is far scarier than the uncertainty that comes with risk.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been acting my whole life, mostly using my skills to get my brother in trouble. But it wasn’t until I graduated from high school that I realized I could make a profession out of this. I came straight to New York City and started building a foundation for myself. I spent the first two years in school training in theatre. That led me to my first manager and a series of painfully laughable auditions. I remember my very first audition post school was a commercial for some hair removal brand. I was asked to walk into frame, fall back on a chair with a big smile, and kick my hairless legs up into the air. Easy enough, right? Wrong. Very wrong. I was so nervous I could barely retain any of these directions. My first take I walked into frame and just sat on the chair. I think I tried to smile but my mouth wouldn’t stop twitching from nerves. The casting director then repeated the directions and asked me to try again. Knowing that this wasn’t going well I knew I needed to nail it this time. So I walked into frame with the biggest smile, sat down on the chair, and kicked my legs up as high as they would go.. All of a sudden, the chair started tipping backwards. Before I knew it, I was staring up at the ceiling. Theatre school laid all the groundwork on how to “act”, but failed to mention that working as an actor is a distant dream unless I master the audition. In all honesty, it took many many failed attempts before I began seeing any success. But with every failed attempt, I got better, smarter and stronger. I think it’s important to accept that failure is a part of success. And that we can’t succeed without having first failed. I’ve been fortunate enough to book numerous commercials and print campaigns, and have had roles on Bull, Billions, & Girls5Eva. I still have ways to go but I’m grateful for this journey and for what I get to do every single day.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’d start with brunch at either Joan’s on 3rd, Toast, Urthh Café, or The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker. Hiking in Malibu is one of my absolute favorite things to do so we’d probably go there next. Afterwards we’d hang out at the beach, hop on a lime scooter and race down Santa Monica, and walk the promenade. Definitely need to get some ice cream at Salt and Straw a minimum of once per day. We’d watch the sunset at Point Dume and then grab dinner in K-Town. End the night by grabbing drinks WeHo. If we’re feeling extra wild, we’ll grab some late-night cookies at Diddy Riese.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Ah where to begin.. The first two people that pop into my mind would be my mom and dad. I was blessed with the most supportive, loving, and encouraging parents. They never dissuaded me from pursuing my dreams and have celebrated every little success I’ve had along the way. They constantly remind me that I can achieve anything I set my mind to and to never give up. It’s because of them that I have an unwavering sense of self confidence and the ability to face adversity with a positive attitude. I also need to recognize my best friend/boyfriend. God knows how he puts up with all my daily shenanigans. But every day he cheers me on, reminds me of my capabilities, and inspires me to work harder. He’s danced with me through all my highs and held my hand through all the lows. He makes this journey of life so unbelievably fun, and I would not be where I am today without him by my side.
Other: IMDb- IMDb.me/DivyaSethi