Crown The Brown: Katishcka Kiara
Crown The Brown Exclusive: Blood and Water Actress Katishcka Kiara Shares Life On The Big Screen. Durban born, Katishcka began her journey in the entertainment industry at 18. She studied a BA in Screen and Stage Acting at AFDA. She starred in many local projects and recently bagged her first international acting gig, Blood and Water on Netflix!
Katishcka has truly brought spark to our screens and has enabled more representation in the industry on an international level for South African Indians. We could not wait to learn more about this strikingly talented individual! Here is what Katishcka shared with us!
What is one word that would completely describe the world of Katishcka?
What inspired your love for acting and the arts in general?
My love for the arts began as a viewer and lover of great film, television and theatre. I was intrigued by performances that were able to connect with me — stories that created an opportunity to step into the shoes of another or stories that were so relatable that they made me feel less alone in my own life experiences and often helped me to emotionally heal in the process.
I still wished for more faces and stories like mine to be represented on screen though — more South African Indian stories and characters. Similarly, I knew that I had a unique story to tell through my work as an actor and that was also a huge motivation for me to want to pursue an acting career.
As a South African Indian female within the entertainment industry, what has been the most challenging part of being in the industry and how have you overcome those challenges?
I think that one of the main challenges that I faced was the lack of jobs available. Sometimes stories simply did not have South African Indian characters written into them. The Indian roles that were available were few and far between even though we quite a growing community of extremely talented Indian actresses who are ready to work! Luckily, this is changing quite rapidly.
Many local and international casting directors try not to limit roles to a specific race which gives every one more opportunities to audition. In the first ever audition that I did, I actually auditioned for a character that was not written to be Indian. There were no Indian characters in the project. I auditioned anyway an ended up getting the part thereby adding an Indian face to the production that would not have otherwise been there.
You’ve recently been casted in the new season of Blood and Water! Congratulations!! Tell us more about the moment you got the call. How did it feel and what was the first thing you did after receiving the call?
Thank you so much! Receiving the call was mind-blowing. I was still in shock up until I actually got to the set and started working and realized that it was all really happening! My brother was with me when I got the call. He was ecstatic. The first thing I did after receiving the call was video call my parents, who were both at work, to tell them the great news! It was truly a dream come true.
I’m a strong believer in manifestation and when I watched season one of ‘Blood & Water. I loved everything about the show and wished that I could be part of it. So it was surreal to actually join the cast less than a year later!
What do you think makes your character in blood and water significant to viewers within the South Asian community? Tell us more about your character in the show.
I play the character of Pauline who is a feisty, intelligent and self-assured teenager who joins forces with Reece to create a successful drug-dealing business. They make a lot of money by introducing a new drug to their high school market. Pauline is goal-driven and business-minded. What I love about the character is that she’s not just an academic achiever. She has an added edginess in her rebellious business ventures.
Indian characters are often written to be the super academic ones or the archetypal ‘nerd’ who doesn’t break the rules but Pauline character has been so well-written that she exists as a three-dimensional person who is not defined by race or cultural convention. I believe that plays a huge role in expanding the types of South Asian representation that exists in the media. In Pauline, many people will be able to see elements of themselves or people they know, that they can relate to. Just like I did!
Seeing you on the show really brings about such a proud sense of representation. As an actor of South Asian descent, why is representation so important in the industry and to you in general?
As I mentioned earlier, representation in the industry is one of the main reasons that I pursued an acting career. I wanted to see more faces and stories like mine on screen. Representation is important to me because I believe that it plays a vital role in making communities feel seen and heard and can also affect the way communities perceive their value within a society.
Minority communities like the South Asian one are often underrepresented or misrepresented which can often make us feel overlooked in the media and in the world at large. There is a rich goldmine of stories and creative innovation that is waiting to be explored within South Asian communities. It is our duty as creatives to represent that on local and international platforms.
What are some of your most memorable moments in the industry thus far?
‘Blood And Water’ would definitely be one of my most memorable moments so far! The entire process felt like divine intervention. From the day I first heard about the job, to getting on a last minute flight to Cape Town to audition and eventually booking the role, it felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be.
I’m so grateful that the journey begins here! I learnt so much as an actor by working with such a talented and supportive cast and crew! It was a privilege to get to represent my South African Indian community in the show.
As a POC in the entertainment industry, what are some things that you would change in entertainment in general?
I would encourage productions to have more roles that are available to people of all races — especially with lead roles. Additionally, more research could be done into specific POC communities so that when roles are written for us, they can be as accurate and multi-faceted as possible in order to truly represent our authenticity and diversity.
What advice would you give aspiring actors wanting to get into the industry?
If you have a dream to join this industry, do it! It is a great gift to be a storyteller and to express yourself creatively. It spreads a message that is bigger than you and will impact so many people. If this is truly your dream, take the leap.
Take yourself seriously and treat yourself as a brand. Train in whatever craft you are passionate about and market yourself as a business to create and get work. Most importantly, have fun and never stop believing in yourself and your dream.
Furthermore, Katishcka has truly brought a sense of home on the big screen, her phenomenal acting skills and passion for the big screen is truly inspirational to say the least! It is exciting to see a fresh new face of representation on the international screen and we know that this is only the beginning for this rising star, Katishcka Kiara!