Jump to content

Sheetal Sheth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sheetal Sheth
Sheetal Sheth
Sheth in January 2012
Alma materNYU Tisch School of the Arts
Occupation(s)Actress, author, producer
Years active1999–present
Neil Mody
(m. 2013)

Sheetal Sheth (/ˈʃθəl ˈʃɛθ/ ) is an American actress, author, producer, and activist of Indian descent.

As an actress, she is known for starring opposite Albert Brooks in Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World. She debuted in the film ABCD and has appeared in the films American Chai, I Can't Think Straight, and The World Unseen.

Sheth was the first Indian American to appear in Maxim magazine.[2] She has published op-eds in CNN, The Daily Beast, and Thrive Global. She is also the author of a series of picture books, beginning with the book Always Anjali.[3]

Early life and education


Sheth was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and is a first-generation Gujarati Indian American. Her parents came to the United States from Gujarat, India in 1972.[4]

Although academics were her priority, Sheth also studied multicultural dance[5] and was involved in basketball.[6] Her parents were devout Jains, but they enrolled Sheth in the local Catholic school,[4] which she attended until age 12 when her family moved to Trenton.[2]

Sheth attended Liberty High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where she was involved in student government, serving on the student advisory board. She received the student government award for her contribution to the school,[7] and was one of two students invited to speak at her commencement.[8] While in high school, Sheth discovered her passion for acting and was accepted to the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.[4]

At Tisch, Sheth studied classic literature, and some of her favorite works included Antigone and The Crucible.[9] She also trained in method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. She spent a summer abroad in Amsterdam as part of the intensive International Theatre Workshop, studying under acting teachers such as Kristin Linklater. Sheth was selected to participate in the Tisch Scholars Program. After graduating from Tisch with honors,[10] Sheth continued her studies. In New York, she studied with Wynn Handman, a founder of The American Place Theatre. In Los Angeles, she attended weekly classes with acting instructor Milton Katselas until he died in 2008.[11]





Sheth made her film debut as the lead in the 1999 film ABCD, starring opposite Aasif Mandvi and Faran Tahir. The film won Best Indie Feature at the Houston film festival[12] and received critical acclaim from the likes of The Hollywood Reporter[13] and Rolling Stone.[14] Sheth was widely praised for her performance.[15][16] Both the film and Sheth's character stirred considerable controversy. "But," Sheth responded, "that is exactly the kind of character I like to play. I want to tell the kinds of stories that people have a strong reaction to, positive or negative. It means it has touched them in some way and then I have done my job."[17]

In 2001, Sheth played a dancer in American Chai. The film won the Audience Award at the 2001 Slamdance Film Festival, with the New York Post describing it as a "slight but sweet film."[citation needed] Sheth went on to perform in a variety of roles in independent film and on network television, including the lead in the film Wings of Hope, for which she won Best Actress at Cinevue Film Festival.[citation needed]


Sheetal Sheth
Sheth on cover of CHI magazine in Summer 2005

In 2005, Sheth starred as Maya opposite Albert Brooks in Brooks' film Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World. Brooks conducted an extensive international search for the ideal actor to portray Maya, and says of Sheth, "Once I came across her, I watched everything that I could. I didn't care to look at anybody else…I just knew I had to put her in the film."[18] The film was shot on location in Delhi and Agra, India.[19] Sony Pictures Entertainment originally carried the film, but Brooks parted ways with them when he refused Sony's demand to remove the word "Muslim" from the title. The film was picked up and ultimately released by Warner Independent Pictures.[20]

Following her success in Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, Sheth appeared in the recurring role of Martina in the NBC TV series The Singles Table, starring opposite Alicia Silverstone and John Cho. Six episodes were shot, but the series never aired.[21] She also performed in the ensemble The Trouble With Romance and starred in the thriller First Fear opposite Sean Patrick Flanery.

Sheth's work brought her to the attention of the award-winning writer and director Shamim Sarif. Sheth starred opposite Lisa Ray in two lesbian themed films, I Can't Think Straight and The World Unseen, both written and directed by Sarif. I Can't Think Straight won more than ten Best Feature awards at film festivals around the world. The World Unseen premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and went on to win four Best Feature awards internationally. The World Unseen, which was shot on location in South Africa, also swept the 2008 South African Film and Television Awards, winning eleven SAFTA's (South Africa's equivalent to the Oscars). Sheth won three Best Actress awards for her performance in The World Unseen.



Sheth went on to perform in Why Am I Doing This and starred in Stalemate opposite Josh Randall and Burgess Jenkins, for which she was nominated for Best Actress at the 2011 Staten Island Film Festival. She guest starred in the popular television shows Nip/Tuck, Royal Pains, and NCIS: Los Angeles, and provided the voices for Sumi and Shark in the animated feature film Johnny Bravo Goes to Bollywood, based on Cartoon Network's popular animated television series Johnny Bravo.

In 2011, Sheth starred opposite Mercedes Masöhn and Angela Zahra in Three Veils, which portrays three Middle Eastern women living in the United States. Even before it was released the film sparked intense controversy, and death threats were made against those involved with the production of the film.[22] Three Veils has won numerous Best Feature awards at film festivals internationally.

In 2012, Sheth continued to choose a variety of challenging roles in independent films. She starred opposite Lynn Chen and Parry Shen in Yes, We're Open, a sex comedy exploring open relationships. She again paired with Chen in Nice Girls Crew, which also stars Michelle Krusiec, and starred in The Wisdom Tree, a film blending science fiction, new age, and mysticism. Sheth stepped behind the camera to co-produce Reign, a short film dramatizing how miscommunication can lead to war. She also starred in the film, which was written and directed by Kimberly Jentzen and shot by Oscar-nominated Cinematographer Jack Green. Reign received the Award of Merit from Best Shorts.[23]

Sheth embarked on her acting career at a time when opportunities for South Asians, particularly Indian American women, in the industry were scarce. Her experience taught her that her ethnicity would often influence casting decisions, a factor she had not anticipated given her background and perspective. Many advised her to adopt a more "American" name, and she encountered obstacles when she chose to use her own name for performances. Beyond her acting, Sheth actively supports underrepresented groups, including Asian Americans, by participating in festivals, workshops, and panels. Her advocacy addresses the challenges these communities face within the entertainment industry.[24]

Other projects


Sheth was selected as the spokesperson for CHI haircare products and represented Reebok's New York sneaker in their 2008 international Freestyle campaign.[25] She was also the first Indian American to appear in Maxim magazine.[2][26] CHI says of Sheth, "Grace, artistry, passion and the most compelling elements of every culture – that's the essence of Sheth."[27]

Humanitarian causes


While at New York University, Sheth was selected to be a part of AmeriCorps, a division of the Corporation for National and Community Service created by U.S. President Bill Clinton. Through AmeriCorps, she worked at an inner-city high school, developing progressive lesson plans and activities, tutoring, and dealing with conflict resolution.[28]

She participates in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles as a Big Sister, and also supports and promotes Women's Voices Now, an organization which encourage communities that are under-represented in American media, to make their voices heard.[29]

Personal life


Sheth married Neil Mody in 2013.[30] In June 2019, Sheth revealed that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.[31]


Winner, Best Actress, Wings Of Hope, Cinevue Film Festival, 2003
Winner, Best Actress, The World Unseen, Gran Canaria Film Festival, Spain, 2009
Winner, Best Actress, The World Unseen, Festival del Mar, Ibiza 2009
Winner, Best Leading Performance, The World Unseen, Out Takes Film Festival, Dallas 2009


Year Title Role Notes
1999 ABCD Nina
2001 American Chai Maya Choreographer
2001 The Princess and the Marine Layla TV movie
2001 A Pocket Full of Dreams Sanjana
2001 Wings of Hope Kaajal Verma Winner, Best Actress
Cinevue Film Festival, 2003
2003 The Agency Layla - Jamar
Akil's sister
TV series
2003 Beat Cops Gwen Lampoor TV movie
2003 Line of Fire Fathima TV series
2004 Strong Medicine
  • Ears, Ho's & Threat (#4.18)
Shaheena TV series
2004 Indian Cowboy Sapna
2004 The Proud Family
  • Culture Shock (#3.3)
Radhika TV series (animated)
2005 Dancing in Twilight Nicole
2005 Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World Maya
2007 The Singles Table
  • Pilot (#1.1)
  • The Work Dinner (#1.2)
  • The Housewarming Party (#1.4)
Martina TV series
2007 The Trouble with Romance Nicole
2007 First Fear Maya
2008 I Can't Think Straight Leyla nominated for, Best Actress
gay Film Festival,2008
2008 The World Unseen Amina Harjan Winner, Best Actress
Gran Canaria Film Festival, Spain, 2009

Winner, Best Actress

Festival del Mar, Ibiza, 2009

Winner, Best Leading Performance

Out Takes Film Festival, Dallas, 2009

Winner, Best Actress

Festival del Mar, Ibiza, 2009

Winner, Best Leading Performance

Out Takes Film Festival, Dallas, 2009
2009 Why Am I Doing This? Nira
2010 StaleMate Kayleigh Nominated, Best Actress
Staten Island Film Festival, 2011
2010 Nip/Tuck
  • Dan Daly (#6.11)
Aria TV series
2011 Three Veils Nikki
2011 Being Bin Laden Nabeelah TV movie
2011 Royal Pains
  • A Little Art, A Little Science (#3.10)
Raina Saluja TV series
2011 NCIS: Los Angeles
  • Deadline (#3.10)
Shari Al-Kousa TV series
2011 Johnny Bravo Goes to Bollywood voice of Sumi,
2012 Yes, We're Open Elena
2012-13 Nice Girls Crew
  • Out of Order (#1.1)
  • Count Chocula of Venice Beach (#1.2)
  • The Byronic Hero (#1.3)
  • Hoot N Holla (#1.4)
  • Castle in the Sky (#1.5)
  • Sisterhood of the Traveling Fat Pants (#2.1)
  • The Reluctant Mixologist (#2.2)
  • Game Day (#2.3)
  • The Talented Geraldiney (#2.4)
  • Sophie and the Giant Buttcake (#2.5)
Leena TV series
2012 Reign Fadwa Co-Producer
2012 Brickleberry
  • Hello Dottie (#1.7)
Dottie TV series (animated)
2012 The Wisdom Tree Dr. Trisha Rao
2013 Blue Bloods
  • Warriors (#3.15)
Isabelle Nassar TV series
2013 Lips
  • Audition This! (#2.6)
Rousaura TV mini-series
2014 Futurestates
  • Sister of Mine
Evelyn Malik, Cammie Malik TV series
2014 Go North Riya Short
2016 Family Guy Padma, Tapeworm (voices) TV series
2020 I'll Meet You There Shonali Independent film


  1. ^ "Sheetal Sheth on Instagram: "Rainbows all around us. ❤️🙏🏽🌈. #lastdaysofsummer #itsthelittlethings"".
  2. ^ a b c Sharma, Jaya. "Simply Sheetal"
  3. ^ "Sheetal Sheth says kid's books can deal with big feelings. 'Always Anjali' takes on identity". www.wbur.org. 2023-06-22. Retrieved 2024-04-23.
  4. ^ a b c Melwani, Lavina. "Lethal Sheetal"
  5. ^ McManus, Bridget; Sheth, Sheetal. Brunch with Sheetal Sheth (Brunch with Bridget, Episode 70), Part 1 of 3: time 1:54
  6. ^ Roy, Sandip. "Straddling Cultures"
  7. ^ "'Transcend Mediocrity,' Liberty Graduates Told", p. 3. The Morning Call. June 18, 1994
  8. ^ "Liberty, Saucon Valley Grads Are At The Head Of The Class". The Morning Call. June 20, 1994.
  9. ^ Metal, Sheena; Sheth, Sheetal: time 31:05
  10. ^ Song, Jenny. "Sheetal Sheth – Gorgeous and Grounded"
  11. ^ Metal, Sheena; Sheth, Sheetal: time 23:38
  12. ^ Apeles, Teena. "Bright Eyes" Audrey magazine: p. 70
  13. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk. "Film Review - ABCD". The Hollywood Reporter. "Reminiscent of early films by Wayne Wang and Ang Lee, ABCD should win enthusiastic fans"
  14. ^ Travers, Peter (April 2, 2001). "ABCD". Rolling Stone. "Extraordinary…funny, touching and haunting…seek it out"
  15. ^ Thomas, Kevin. "Immigrants, Their Children Raised in America, in ABCD". The Los Angeles Times. "Sheth illuminates the tempestuous Nina"
  16. ^ Sebastian, P. "Film Review - ABCD". The Deccan Herald. "Sheetal is a find, an Indian beauty who can act - she's star material."
  17. ^ Pasha, Kamran. "Desi Diva"
  18. ^ Karn Batra, Rohit. "Getting Noticed: Sheetal Sheth", East West Woman, p. 32
  19. ^ "Sheetal's Showtime". Indian Life & Style Magazine, 2005, p. 110
  20. ^ "'Looking for Comedy' Among Studio Execs". Studio Briefing - Film News.
  21. ^ Schneider, Michael. "NBC's Table Gets Smaller". Variety.
  22. ^ Curiel, Jonathan. "At Arab Film Festival, a Daring Drama Features a Lesbian of Faith". KQED.
  23. ^ "Best Shorts". January 12, 2012.
  24. ^ Chung, Leeva; Sheth, Sheetal; Chen, Lynn; Kim, Elaine H. (2011). "Asian American Women in Hollywood and Beyond" Panel
  25. ^ Reebok Freestyles – New York
  26. ^ "Girls of Maxim - Sheetal Sheth"
  27. ^ "In Any Language", CHI Magazine
  28. ^ "I Can't Think Straight - Cast - Sheetal Sheth"
  29. ^ McManus, Bridget (March 31, 2011). "Interview with Sheetal Sheth".
  30. ^ "Sheetal Sheth & Neil Mody Tie the Knot". People Magazine. November 24, 2013. Archived from the original on November 27, 2013. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  31. ^ "The World Unseen actor Sheetal Sheth reveals struggle with breast cancer, answers questions about her health". 28 June 2019.