Crown The Brown Exclusive: Rushi Kota
Crown The Brown Exclusive on Never Have I Ever Star Rushi Kota. Grey’s Anatomy B-Team, The Divorce Party, The One I Wrote For You Star Rushi Kota has officially become the ultimate Man Crush for all Never Have I Ever Fans! Rushi is known for his character, Prashant on the new Netflix series Never Have I Ever (NHIE).
He has become the guy worthy of any arranged marriage and hearts are flustered all around for this amazing young man. Not only is he handsome but he is one fun loving, intellectually stimulating and talented individual! We wanted to know more about his life as an actor and in general. Here is what Rushi Kota shared with us!
What are 3 things people don’t know about Rushi Kota?
1. I love, love, love my dog so much so that I got a tattoo of his face… on my body.
2. I bought a new car last year, and I really wish I didn’t because it takes $50 to fill up the tank, and I have to fill up my tank quite often. So, I have a lot of guilt about not being more climate conscious. I have high hopes for the future of electric cars… I should have bought an electric car… but the range on those vehicles are not that great yet … range anxiety is real. (Range anxiety: worry on the part of a person driving an electric car that the battery will run out of power before the destination or a suitable charging point is reached.)
3. I like going to EDM festivals and losing myself in the music. If everyone tries it at least once, the world would be a less angry place.
You have had a passion for theatre and acting since a young age, tell us more about your journey. When did your love for acting start?
I mean, I dabbled in off off off off community theater when I was younger but I didn’t really understand acting and so was quite terrible at it. But in college I had a summer internship where I met a dude who was an actor in New York, he was working a temp job at the same company. He gave me a lot of advice on how to get started, head shots, websites, schools, improv schools, etc…
I then got a modeling agent and started dabbling in that world. I didn’t take it seriously until after I graduated college when my mother pushed me into it.
From 2009 to 2011, I pounded the pavement, had success in the tiny indie market but realized that if I really want to do this for real, then I needed proper training as I had zero idea about how to act. Applied to MFA programs and the rest is history.
Not many know this but you actually attended Moscow Art Theater School at Harvard University and graduated with a MFA in acting.
You also have a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management Technology. What was the experience like as a student and what did you enjoy the most being in theatre?
Correct, I have a Bachelors in Science in IMT and an Masters in Fine Arts in Acting from MXAT (pronounced “MaHat’ with hard H) at Harvard. The MFA was a two and half year program where my class of eighteen allowed us do a three month residency at MXAT which is founded by the great Stanislavski.
The program as a whole was extremely challenging… as it should be. Pushing me physcially, mentally, emotionally, training my body and mind, in all aspects of acting. And my time in Russia was intense to say the least. The Russians know how to act and… drink vodka. It’s in their blood.
Theater and the arts are heavily funded and revered by the govt. It’s part of their culture, like going to church, a total family experience. Hands down some of the best theater in the world. I came out more versatile for sure.
You are known for your character in Grey’s Anatomy and the recent Netflix series, Never Have I Ever. What did you learn in terms of your own character development over the years from one show to another?
That there are many sides to all of us and many sides to me. That’s acting. Experiencing and living and reliving the human condition. My character on Grey’s was a very divisive individual, it was fun to play someone that many people didn’t agree with and then switching gears and rewriting the narrative on how Asian men are portrayed as love interests in NHIE.
On the technical side, I learned how to bring to scale my choices to fit the screen as my choices usually tend to be grander, so learning to fit my performance in a tiny box took some understanding.
The character Prashant in Never Have I Ever captured the hearts of many. What has the experience been like since the series aired?
I see that! B.A.N.A.N.A.S. Haha. I knew it was going to be good because its Mindy’s project, but I had no idea it was going to be all like #1 around the world within a day that it got released! The power of Netflix. The experience has been humbling! It feels good that so many people are relating to these characters.
Representation truly does matter and the people have spoken. Just makes me think, where was that when I was growing up? I’m happy to be part of the change. I’m still taking it one day at a time, who knows what tomorrow is going to bring. Right now, I’m just ready to get back to “real life”, if there is such a thing anymore.
Many have enjoyed the show and learned a lot about the Indian community and living in a westernized society from the show. Why do you think it was so important to bring forth representation in mainstream media?
America is a melting pot, at this point an already melted pot in my opinion. 1st gen immigrants, and generations before and after, grow up confused not being able to fit in with their respective cultures or the culture they are trying to assimilate into.
It’s a very traumatic experience that I certainly endured. Its important to understand there are many shades of grey that we traverse through. Representation is necessary so that we can better understand each other and be more culturally responsible.
What are some of the most memorable moments you had on set?
I just remember being so happy and so grateful to being on set, and then the icing on the cake came when the cast and crew were so damn welcoming and friendly to work with. Richa who plays Kamala in NHIE was so nice and showed me around, waited for me to have lunch with her. Maitreyi had all the jokes to crack.
The most memorable moment was when we were on the Universal Studio lot, Devi/Nalini/Kamala’s house was actually on Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives.
Of course it was a very busy place and I remember security being ordered to stop the tourist trams from operating every 5 minutes because they were soooo loud, just so we could get in a single take.
What are some of the challenges you have experienced as an actor in the industry?
You know the usual… Not tall enough, not short enough, too handsome, too ethnic, not good enough, hair too short, look is too edgy, look to old, look too young… blah blah blah. Look everyone goes through these things, that’s Hollywood, you’re hot one week and you couldn’t pay someone to give you a job the next.
The competition is enormous, especially now with the amount of streaming services producing content… and yes the supply to demand to # of jobs available ratio has a gross disparity for people of color, but I still have to go out there and prove myself every single day and be the best man for the job, period.
You have also recently gotten married! Congratulations. Many of your fans wanted to know about your beautiful love story! How did you meet your wife?
Thank you! Let’s see, we met in high school, my buddy actually got her number for me because I was too scared too. We’ve been through a lot and grew up to together, always supported each other through our careers and pushed each other to be more in life.
She’s pretty bad ass, she’s a cancer research scientist and making an actual difference in the world while I just dick around on social media. We took our time and got married on our 15 year anniversary. It was a day before America went into full lockdown. Stressful AF but we pulled through.
What future projects can we expect from you?
Totes, I have a couple of movies coming out, one is called “Useless Humans” it’s a dark alien comedy. I actually really like my character in this movie. I play Louis, a stressed out husband with twins who’s looking for an escape from his life, so he sneaks away to celebrate a weekend with his best friends and of course it doesn’t go according to plan. Should be dropping in July 2020.
A thriller anthology called “Phobias” by Defiant Studios, its written and directed by six directors. I have a smaller role in this one but I got to work with some cool cats and do stuff that scared the crap out of me.
QUESTIONS FROM OUR READERS
Why did you or they let you leave Grey’s Anatomy? You were a good representation!
Thank you. It’s complicated, as it always is. I thought my character had a good arc and it closed out his story exactly where and how it needed to. Plus it was great to be on a really popular show and work with the OG’s like Ellen, Justin, Chandra and James.
What advice do you have for others wanting to tell their parents of their significant others?
Lol I don’t know, tell them… ? The world and the times that we live in are vastly different from when our parents grew up. You have a choice and a space to be whoever you feel in your heart to be.
People are going to talk no matter what, whether it’s good or bad. Just do what the granola bar says, “Be Kind” and do what makes you happy.
What are your thoughts on arranged marriages?
It’s funny, I was actually just talking to my wife about this last night. I haven’t really thought about arranged marriages so in-depth till just about this week. Now that I look back on it, my entire family of aunts and uncles and cousins and brother have all been arranged married.
My mother was the only one it didn’t really work out for and she was brave enough to leave, but for the most part people in arranged marriages seem happy… I think. I don’t think that would’ve ever worked out for me but then again if I hadn’t met my person, who knows?
What do you love most about being able to showcase representation in the industry?
That Asian men can be seen as the love interest and not just the nerdy IT techie in the corner pounding away at his keyboard or the stereotypical cabbie trying to be the sidekick to the anti-hero. Don’t get me wrong, there are people like that out there and they need representation too but that’s not what all Asian men can be.
As an actor, what changes would you like to see in the industry?
That actors of color can play more or less any one and not just something related to their specific ethnicity. Representation is very important but I do want to see an actor take risks and not be dragged through the internet mud for making that decision.
It’s acting, we are playing make believe, if you don’t agree with something, don’t worry about it, there were will 10 other movies that you will agree with.
What are your top 3 favourite Bollywood films or favourite film in general?
I really really enjoyed Gully Boy, Andhadhun and Delhi Belly. American/International Movies/TV are Tropic Thunder, Parasite, and a French show called “Call My Agent” on Netflix.
Do you have any hobbies or hidden talents?
I can make really loud pop with my tongue that can call to attention a range of people and animals.
I’m really into fermenting vegetables right now because I want my gut to thrive with positive goodness. So far during the quarantine I made batches of veggies, kimchi and Tepache. Try it, see what happens.
Rushi Kota is certainly one actor with a purpose! He firmly believes in authentic representation in mainstream media and has won the hearts of many with his love for the big screen! We cannot wait to see more of him on screen! Be sure to follow him on social media @rushikota .
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