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Avantika says she’s proud of her Indian heritage

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SOUTH Asian women taking centre stage in series such as Bridgerton and One Day was long overdue, Indian American actress Avantika, who plays Karen Shetty in the new iteration of the popular teen comedy, Mean Girls, has said.

This is not the first acting gig for the 19-year-old, born to an Indian family in California. Avantika made her debut with 2016’s Brahmotsavam, a film in her mother tongue, Telugu.

“It has been a long time coming, considering we (Indians) are a large population with so many incredibly beautiful and talented women. It was time that a community of 1.5 billion people was represented on the global (stage),” the actress said.

She is the latest to join Priyanka Chopra Jonas (Citadel), Simone Ashely (Bridgerton) and Ambika Mod (One Day), the south Asian actresses currently featuring in major international projects.

Crediting the women who paved the way for actors like her to come up, Avantika said she and her contemporaries hope to do the same for “future generation of south Asian women” so things are a bit easier for them.

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“It’s amazing that Indian women have kind of been able to shine their light in Hollywood… I feel honoured to be a part of this legacy,” she added.

Mean Girls, directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr, is billed as a new twist on Tina Fey’s 2004 film.

Avantika landed the role of the gullible Karen, played by Amanda Seyfried in the original movie, following an audition.

When she didn’t hear from the Mean Girls casting team for four months, she assumed she was not going to get the role.

Avantika said she was shooting for her upcoming film Tarot when she got the good news.

“It was an offer from Paramount and the team of Mean Girls. And, I have never done a callback, so I wasn’t really processing any of it. It never felt real until I showed up to rehearsals and Tina Fey was in the office next to me. I was like ‘Oh, it’s actually happening now’,” she said.

Receiving Seyfried’s blessing during the release of Mean Girls was the icing on the cake. “It was wonderful to kind of get her blessing and know that she was supportive of me.”

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