The Star Behind The Name, Carishma Basday!
Professional actress, dancer, presenter and model Carishma Basday is surely a role model for many young South African girls. She has this endless motivation and zest for life that keeps us all wondering how she does it all! Carishma is such an inspiration to so many South Asian woman in South Africa as she works towards breaking barriers in the entertainment industry. How does she manage to do it all? Carishma gave us some insight into her everyday life! This is what she had to say.
If you had to describe yourself, how would you describe Carishma Basday? Give us a little background behind the star that is Carishma Basday!
I’m incredibly curious I love learning new things and constantly growing and evolving. I am a person of extremes. I shy away from routine I hate anything that makes me feel stuck. My mind never stops. I am one of those people that constantly has a million tabs open at once (meditation has been my saving grace). Extremely passionate. I am an old soul, I enjoy the simpler things in life. I am completely in love with life with all its ups and downs, its an honour to walk this earth.
Professional actress, dancer and model! Surely not an easy task to handle. When did you first find your passion for these three exceptional talents and what motivated you to be part of the entertainment industry?
My mom enrolled me in Ballet classes when I was about 4 years old. That’s where my love for performing began. I then went on to take modern dance and jazz classes and then speech and drama lessons, and my passion grew from there. I was blessed to have incredible teachers along the way who really encouraged my passion and urged me to follow my love for performing. That led me to do a degree in performing arts. Majoring in acting/directing, dance/choreography and media/journalism. I then moved to Cape Town to study acting in film for a year at Act Cape Town. During that year I signed with my agent, went to my first audition the next day and booked the job and I’ve never looked back.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
I really love engaging with people and the fact that I constantly get to learn and grow and evolve. Love that no two jobs are the same and that through each character I get to step into someone else’s shoes and learn and grow through that experience. Also, I love that I get to use my imagination and inspire people through telling stories and exploring different narratives.
You are seen as a role model to many South African Indians out there including myself. In a previous interview, you stated that you would like to “blaze a trail for Indian women”, would you explain this amazing concept to us and why you think it is so important to showcase South Asian talent in the industry?
I think is hugely important to showcase South Asian talent, especially in South Africa. Where we make up a large percentage of the population. I see so many brand trying to be proactive and represent women of colour which is amazing. But I still don’t see anyone that looks like me in the mix, and that doesn’t sit well with me.
When I was growing up I had no one who looked like me to look up to in movies or magazines. There was no one doing anything even remotely close to what I wanted to do. Women of colour not just Indian women were sorely under represented in the media.
Things are slowly changing and I want to be a part of that change in a big way. I want to show Indian girls, actually all girls that you can be whatever you want to be. If you can dream it you can do it. If you are struggling with that right now I’m going to be here as a constant reminder that it is possible. After all I was just a small town girl who dared to dream big.
As a South Asian woman, it is no surprise that we find ourselves constantly misjudged and not being truly represented as South Asian talent. How do you choose to represent yourself as a South Asian actress?
I choose to represent myself as authentically as possible. The colour of my skin or my culture is a part of me but it’s not all I am. I love my culture and heritage and I love embracing that and showing it to the world, but my culture also comes with certain stereotypes and boundaries which I love to break because I hate being put into a box and I don’t think anyone should as I strongly believe our power lies within our uniqueness.
Being a female in the entertainment industry, as well as a female of colour and seen as a “minority”, what are the challenges that you face in the industry and in society that is prevalent today?
There are many issues regarding representation of women of colour, the lack thereof to misrepresentation. As an actress there is just not enough roles being created for us especially as an Indian women. If there role isn’t for a stereotypical/traditional Indian women then we are completely overlooked. The industry has come a long way. It still has a way to go when it comes to thinking outside of colour and race.
I still think that the Indian community shy away from supporting Indian women who choose to break away from the norm. It’s acceptable and admired when Bollywood actresses are shown to be daring by wearing sexier clothes or choosing to do a provocative movie/scene/campaign. But when a local women does it I’m not sure its met with the same enthusiasm.
And not everything needs to be about being provocative or breaking boundaries. But I think the general feelings about steeping out of the norm holds us Indian women back from completely stepping into our divine feminine power.
What would you say is your biggest achievement thus far as a professional actress, a dancer and a model?
I have been blessed to have so many wonderful career highlights. Being cast in Niocla Hanekoms trilogy when I first started out in this industry was a huge achievement. I hold Nicola in the highest regard. She is by far one of the most talented humans I know as an actor, writer and director.
She cast me in roles that broke a million boundaries and challenged me beyond. It’s the type of work I want to do for the rest of my life as it had the power to make a profound impact.
Getting cast at the lead in my new feature film was incredible. For me it was a huge achievement as an Indian woman. A woman of colour to be cast as the lead. Its rare that women in this industry get to take the lead and not just support a man in a leading role.
It was also huge to be cast as an Indian woman who plays a surfer. Talk about breaking boundaries and challenging yourself!
Known for being quite the animal lover as well, you have quite a full house with such amazing pets! What would you say is the best part of having pets and what’s your daily “doggy mom” schedule like?
My fur babies are one of my biggest blessings and greatest joys! Before I decided I wanted to become an actress, I wanted to be a vet. So much so that I used to volunteer at our local veterinary clinic.
My “doggy mom” schedule varies from day to day as I do work crazy hours. I have two giant babies, my long haired German Shepherd Maverick and my Swiss Shepherd Leila and then my tiny baby Pomeranian Delphi.
They are all very active breeds so they require daily walks/runs which is always the best part of my day, I love being out in nature with them. Its tough as my husband works away at times so I often joke that I know what its like to be a single mom.
Some days they eat breakfast at 4am because that’s when I have to leave for work! But nothings beats coming home after a long day to happy faces and wagging tails and unconditional love.
You are also recognized as a fitness guru to many, how do you motivate fitness into your busy schedule and as I have witnessed, you are exceptionally well-trained in Yoga! When did you start doing yoga and what are your favourite fitness tips for our readers?
I love being active and maintaining a strong healthy body. For me its always been about being strong rather than loosing or maintaining weight. I want to be physically prepared for anything that comes my way.
Usually I do not have a lot of time to workout so I love short intense high intensity workouts. I am addicted to EMS training at Bodytec, in just 20 mins I feel like I have been working out for an hour!
Having to work out first thing in the morning before I have time to think about anything else, even on days when I really don’t feel like it I find if I wake up and just get it done I feel 100% better 100% of the time.
My yoga teacher training was done in India about 6 years ago. It completely changed my life. My practice has helped to ground and centre me in a million different ways it has also made me stronger than I have ever been physically, mentally and emotionally.
It’s also helped me to be gentler and kinder to myself, to honour my journey and my truth. The best advice I could give anyone is just find things you love to do. You don’t have to be following a strict programme. Just make sure you enjoy it. That’s going to be the biggest motivator you will ever have. Exercise should be fun, a celebration of your body not a punishment.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years in the industry? What would you most likely want to achieve and why?
I definitely want to be writing and create roles for Indian people and telling stories that mean something to me. Hopefully inspiring others through that.
I want to keep booking the bigger roles or the roles that really challenge me. I am also passionate about health and wellness and I want to use that through a show or series to help other women on their wellness journeys.
Being a Mela presenter, what do you enjoy the most about having guests on your show. I am sure you learn something new from them every day, how has the show impacted your life and career?
I love meeting new people and learning from them and through their experiences. Love that no two days are the same on set, its exciting and keeps me on my toes.
Mela has helped me grow so much, the life of a presenter is in now way as glamorous as it seems its incredibly hard work but all those challenges are a great catalyst for growth.
It has also provided an incredible networking platform for my career, it has allowed me an incredible insight to the world of TV and I’m that’s going to be of great use for future endeavours.
Do you think that Mela covers all the spectrums of South Asian prevalence? What would you hope that Mela will achieve within our South African Indian society?
I think Mela provides a much need platform to showcase the South African Indian diaspora that might otherwise be overlooked. I think sometimes our community can overlook all the brilliant success that it has produced and Mela helps us to realize that and acknowledge all the wonderful treasures that we hold within our community.
As a South African Desi Woman, being in the most demanding industry yet and striving for South Asian acknowledgment, what advice can you give other aspiring South Asian entertainers?
I always say this but its true, this industry is ruthless if you want to succeed to have to truly love the craft. It’s the only thing that will keep you going through the many tough times. Dare to dream big, be fearlessly authentic, don’t shy away from criticism. It’s an opportunity to grow. If you are never criticized you may not be doing much that makes a difference.
Rapid Fire Round 1
Coffee or tea?
Cats or dogs?
Bollywood or Hollywood?
Contemporary Jazz or Ballet?
Depends on my mood
Shah Rukh Khan or Ranbir Kapoor?
Probally Sha Rukh Khan but if im honest Im more of a John Abraham kinda girl!
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Rapid Fire Round 2
Would you prefer a day in or a day out?
What is one thing you would put on your “bucket list”?
Sail through the Polynesian Islands with my husband.
Who do you admire the most and why?
My husband, I am in constant awe of him, his approach to life is exhilarating to me. This quote sums it up “what we find in a soulmate is not someone to tame but something to run wild with”
What is your favourite summer activity?
Beach days with my pups and taking advantage of balmy nights by sipping wine on my deck with my man and talking until the early hours of the morning.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? French Polynesia
If you could talk to the president, what would you talk about?
I have absolutely no idea!!! I’m not really into politics but I would probably use the time to talk about how we can better the laws regarding animal welfare
This changes weekly but right now its Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
What advice did you receive that was extremely rewarding and meaningful?
When life is sweet say thank you and celebrate, when life is bitter say thank you and grow.
Carishma Basday surely has a life worth meaning! As a South Asian woman, it is refreshing to see someone working towards breaking those barriers. We surely need more role models like South African star, Carishma Basday! With her busy schedule, she aims to always inspire others and I am sure that I am not the only one feeling the continuous inspiration that she exudes on a daily basis! Be sure to follow Carishma Basday on instagram : @carishmabasday. Trust me, the content is worth it!