Sheetal Sheth is an acclaimed actress/producer, author, cancer graduate, and activist. She is known for her provocative performances in a wide range of memorable roles on film and television. She has starred in over 20 feature films and many TV shows and has earned a loyal, international following. Sheetal has become a favorite in the independent film world, having won five best actress awards on the festival circuit. Sheth began her career at a time when few South Asians were making their living as actors. Despite being told she’d have to change her name to work, her successful career has trail-blazed paths for other women of color across media.
Sheetal has represented brands such as CHI hair care and Reebok. Sheth supports traditionally marginalized communities not only through her own pioneering work as an actor and author, but by also appearing at workshops and panels and speaking directly to issues facing those communities. She has delivered talks and keynotes at festivals and charity galas and has had op-eds published on CNN, The Daily Beast, and Thrive Global. She served in President Clinton’s AmeriCorps and is currently on the advisory board of Equality Now. Learn more here: www.sheetalsheth.com
Testimonial about Bravo Anjali!
“My kids and I love ‘Bravo Anjali!’ I wish I’d had a book like this when I was a kid. I never saw myself represented in the books I read as a brown girl learning and performing a classical Indian instrument. It’s full of small, sharply observed moments that caught at my heart for how they detail the myriad ways we make ourselves small and silent. I wanted to cheer for Anjali as she let her light shine in all its glory.” Anoushka Shankar- Sitarist, Composer
This is her interview…
*What is your book about?
Bravo Anjali! is the follow up to Always Anjali. In this installment, Anjali plays the tabla which is something that comes naturally to her. She loves the feel of the drum beneath her fingers and getting lost in the music. But when a boy in her class gives her a hard time for being better than him, she messes up on purpose. When her teacher announces a contest where the winner will get to perform with him at his next concert, Anjali is distraught. Winning the contest would be a dream for Anjali. But it seems like the better she gets, the meaner some of the kids are. In this follow up to the award winning Always Anjali, Anjali realizes that she should never let anyone make her feel bad for being good at something. An important story for all children to remember to ‘never dim their light.’
Why did you want to write this book?
I wrote Bravo Anjali during the height of the #MeToo movement. And then there was the Hillary/Trump election. I was disturbed at the level of misogyny and sexist vitriol I was seeing 24/7. The media didn’t help. I decided I wanted to tackle this, but in kidtalk. How can I bring this conversation to our kids? It’s abundantly clear we need to be having these conversations with our children. Young. It’s the only way we will see long lasting change. So in this book, Anjali plays the tabla, a traditionally male dominated instrument. And she’s the only girl in her class and she’s the best. The boys dont like it. And so the story begins…
What was the most difficult part about writing the book? The most rewarding?
The hardest part was figuring out how to take these ‘bigger themes’ and make them accessible for children. Every age deals with these issues but we don’t talk to kids about it as much. The most rewarding has been the response. The joy and excitement kids are having to have been ‘let in.’ To know they have a safe place to talk about so much that has been on their minds.
*What do you hope other people will take away from reading your book?
Our kids are not too young to talk about anything. Our children are getting gunned down in their own schools for goodness sake. To say they can’t talk about sexism, racism, bullying, etc is pure nonsense. I hope my books allow for conversations with our youngest so that we give them all language to deal with their big feelings.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Lean into everything that makes you, you. Your stories are worthy and necessary for the world.
How long did it take to write your book?
Over a year.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the beginning of your writing journey?
Finding the right team for every book takes time. At some point, it’s not about the writing as much as it is finding the person that ‘gets it’ and what your heart is trying to do.
What’s next for you?
More books! More movies! More stories and really more of everything I love!
*How can our readers get a copy of your book?
It is available anywhere books are sold. You can always request it from a local store if they don’t have it. If you want to support indie booksellers, get it here: https://mangoandmarigoldpress.com/products/bravo-anjali
It is also available on Bravo Anjali!