woman | zardozi.
“Life here has been glamorous, but also full of struggle.” I thought saying, “I want to be an actor” was like saying, “I want to be a quarterback” (I am actually pretty ripped). After majoring in theatre (yes, you can major in theatre and still be pre-med), I bought a car, packed it up, said bye to Wheaton, Illinois and drove across the nation all by myself. A week later, my agents sent me out on a Nickelodeon pilot seeking minority female improvisers. I almost booked it and got to improvise with Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) at the audition. After some time, I booked my biggest job — a series regular on a pilot for ABC Family. But it did not get picked up. Life here has been glamorous, but also full of struggle. I have been a waitress and scrubbed floors, but all of that has made me the person I am today. Eventually I auditioned for Scrubs. After three auditions, I never heard back. Then three months later I got a call from my agent telling me I was going to work on the show the next week. It was crazy, fun, nerve-wracking, emotional and amazing all at once. I ended up shooting eight episodes playing Dr. Sunny Dey in the show’s final season. I was pre-med in college so working on that show was a dream come true. I became overwhelmed with fear and insecurity. I did not get many auditions after that, but over the years I tested for seven network shows. Word on the street is that George Clooney tested for eleven before he booked ER, so I still have hope.
I am the queen of second place. I have almost gotten a role so many times. What this tells me is that I am on the right path. That is what keeps me going. I have no doubt that it is going to happen. That being said, believe you me, it’s not always sunny in Sonal-delphia. I definitely have days without hope. I have days (sometimes weeks) where I think it is never going to happen. One day, a person will stop me on the street to take a photo with me and the next day I will be that person’s waitress. This business is just plain weird. I think it is very important to stay grounded with a good sense of perspective. Nobody ever said life was easy. Most of my friends are having babies and I’m still a struggling artist. Every so often, I do crave stability. But, to be honest, my unstable life has also been so fun. Of course, my parents just want me to get married. I understand their concern. To be honest, I am even a little concerned about it myself. I will get married one day. I am just looking for someone amazing that sees my amazing. And I cry. Believe me, I cry. A lot. So why don’t I just move back? What keeps me here? The dream is what keeps me going. The biggest thing I have come to realize is that the journey itself IS the destination. When I arrived here many years ago, I was young, fresh, wide-eyed and a virgin. Too much information? I may or may not still be a virgin. That is for you to never find out. Follow Sonal on Twitter: @sonalbshah