We had the good fortune of connecting with Jasmine Sharma and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jasmine, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Look, if I had literally any other hard skills, I would go use them. But I like stories, and I like building communities with those who care about cooking and sharing and amplifying said stories.
I like saying the line the way a writer heard it, or hearing the line the way I imagined it in my lil noggin. When all those words and moments and people get in a room together and make an audience of strangers laugh, catch their breath, then breathe out at the same time, it feels like a new kind of skillset showing off to me. I like that.
Also, I believe in the power of influence. I am imagining a more equitable world in which historically excluded people are reflected in the media and artistry they built and continue building. Theatre feels like the way I can contribute to where we’re collectively heading.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I aim to focus my work around the intersection of race, femininity, and Americanness. My greatest goal is to contribute to making the spaces I get to be in not only diverse and inclusive, but equitable. I aim to make art with a point – a purpose – that expands the definition of American theatre.
I believe in audience alienation, and that it is healthy for perspective expansion. I want to make art that acknowledges the past, invests in the present, and realizes a future worth chasing.
All white casts and creative teams are violence.
I believe in specificity and community building. Home only starts to feel like home if welcomed inside.
I believe in speaking with kindness, in creating with kindness, in seeing a person before their craft.
I believe in making them laugh if you’re going to make them listen – as long as we’re punching up.
I believe in strong femme leads. I believe in strong femme directors. I believe in strong femme leadership.
I believe in 5, 10, 20 years I will cringe at what I think I know now in the same way I cringe about myself years ago and what I thought I knew then. I want to be able to change when that happens.
I believe it needs a plot.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First stop, a breakfast burrito from Full Stop. Whatever their green sauce is, it is yummy. Full Service Coffee Co., 4450 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004
Second stop, thrifting. Society of St. Vincent de Paul Los Angeles Thrift Store is where we got our couch, and I keep going back for teacups and pants.
Third stop, back home, because it is too hot and I need a nap. But when I wake up, it’s probably time for rehearsal, so I’m staying in my room for a little longer.
I emerge from my cave for dinner, and taking you to Dan Sung Sa. There are 100 things on the menu in absolutely no order. We’re getting a pot of soju and hoping we order well.
3317 W 6th St Los Angeles, CA 90020
Finally, we end the day at the promised land. I moved to LA to be close to Yogurtland. That’s not true, but it’s not false, you know? Anyway, we’re going, and we’re getting pistachio frozen yogurt with yogurt chips.
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?
Okay, I got a couple:
ChiChi Anyanwu – I spent 4 years at my PWI looking for mentorship and instead spent the majority of time calling out harm. My senior year -with graduation around the corner- I was panicked about showcasing myself when I didn’t know if I was a marketable actor. Working with Chichi and the CHI Talent Management Team made me realize that being a person is more important than being marketable, so when I show up as myself, good things can happen. I am indebted. She can have my first and second borns.
Lavina Jadhwani – Talk about leading by doing! Lavina is one of the first people who comes to mind when I think about accountability in action. Not only does she keep her theatre community safe, but she advocates for the wee South Asians who are just entering it. The first time I’ve ever been in an all Desi room? Jadhwani’s SHAKUNTALA. An experience I will never forget.
KMR – Taking a risk on me <3
24 Hr Nationals – Connecting me to all the collaborators my age that I can’t wait to work with next!
Ian McClaren Justin Barbin