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UMM Spotlight: Ayesha Shiva

By: Brian Baker



Bollywood starlet Ayesha Shiva now knows you can be in two places at once. After shooting episodes of The L Word and Stargate Atlantis, the two shows ended up airing at the same time on different channels. “I had a few phone calls, ‘Did I just see you on two different shows?” she said, with a laugh. Not just sharing airtime with herself, the well-travelled Vancouverite has been flying from the Pacific Coast to India. But trips to Southeast Asia haven’t been the only reasonwhy her air miles have piled up.
She was a student at a British school just outside London and has travelled all around Europe.
“My parents were like, ‘Get out. Go away!” she joked. “So I was very lucky to have the opportunity to go away to boarding school, see the U.K., and travel Europe”.
Recently, she’s back from Bollywood after six months where she was featured in an ad campaign in addition to wowing the set of a music video.
“A girlfriend of mine couldn’t make it and asked me to fill in for just a small scene,” she recalls. “After seeing me on camera the director was like, ‘Who’s that?’ and offered me a larger part with more camera time. It just goes to show you never know when you are going to get that opportunity to shine”.
Though her family’s ancestry is Indian, she had never been there until her first modelling gig.
“The first time I was in India it was a huge culture shock but I love it there and even though things work a little differently as far as the entertainment industry, it has been a great learning experience for me,” she said. Even though the likes of Amitabh  Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan surely played on the television set in her Vancouver home, Shiva admits she didn’t swoon over their melodies. “I grew up sort of listening to the songs and seeing these movies,” she said. “I was never really interested.”
“I was born (in Canada) and you’re kind of embarrassed of it,” she added. “But then after learning more about Bollywood culture you’re like, wow this is really cool.”
It’s all about the music, and with a hearty background in guitar, dance and theatre, Mumbai will be calling her back this spring. When asked if she prefers the Pacific Coast to the Indian Ocean, Shiva says it’s all about travelling both seas to broaden her horizons.


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