For this week’s Fast Forward Friday, we interviewed New York-based writer-actress-comedian Nivedita Kulkarni. Nivedita is a reader and nominator for the Kilroy Awards. Nivedita was chosen as one of 15 artists for HBO’s East of Main Street/Taking the Lead, profiling Hollywood’s rising Asian American talent. She is a part of the ensemble cast of Morgan Evans’ Untitled Web Series, which was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award. She is a former national face of Bank of America. To learn more, visit www.niveditakulkarni.com.
Q: What are you currently working on? Tell us about it.
I’m creating a TV show right now – I can’t talk details, but it’s funny!
Q: What was the inspiration and impetus for doing this project?
I’m writing about something that is very personal to me, which I haven’t done before. I’m both nervous and excited about this project because of how much it relates to my life.
Q: Who are your artistic heroes – who have had an impact on you and your work?
Anne Hathaway is an entertainment hero of mine, as is Justin Timberlake. I love that they both keep reinventing themselves and don’t get pigeonholed into one path as an artist.
Q: What keeps you motivated and inspired as an artist?
Watching great work. I would encourage all artists to find creative work and follow the careers of people who inspire them to create.
Q: What other projects would you like to tell us about?
I run a startup called Nuva Comedy. We’re a networking and mentorship organization for women in entertainment. Women can sign up for a profile, similar to LinkedIn, and then they can ask members of the group for help with any topic.
Q: What is one instance of knowing you are living in your vision?
Seeing the number of women we’ve helped through Nuva – in the thousands, has been amazing for me and my team. I always wanted to build a company that helped people to succeed and Nuva has been a dream come true.
Q: If there were no barriers to entry, what is one thing you would be doing?
Writing and acting in my own TV show, a la Tina Fey. And running my own company, as well.
Q: What has been your biggest obstacle in achieving your vision?
I think that it takes a long time to grow into your voice as an artist. I think that it has taken me years to develop a voice and be confident in what I want to say through my work.
Q: What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?
Watch movies, read great books, see great art.
Q: If you could let go of something that has held you back, what would it be?
I wish I needed less sleep! I also wish I could learn to manage my daily routine – gym, work, meal prep – a little faster to give me more time for other things.
Q: What is your favorite piece of art?
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand.
Q: What person do you most admire, living or dead?
Wow. Hmm. I would say I most admire great entrepreneurs. Oprah. Richard Branson. Howard Schultz.
Q: If you could be known and celebrated for one thing, what would it be?
For building great companies and affecting people’s lives for the better through my organizations.
Q: If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
All goofy sitcoms! All of them.
Q: If you could sit down with yourself 15 years ago, what would you say?
Get started faster! I hesitated for so long to make decisions that I actually wanted in my life. I overthought everything. Now, when I want to do something, I just go for it!
Q: Where would you most like to live?
Hmmm. Any big city. I live in New York right now, which I love. I would also love to live in either London or Paris.
Q: What is your idea of success?
Fulfilling work, a happy family and a balanced life. Being a well-rounded person who doesn’t only think of work.
Q: What is your idea of happiness?
Q: Final Thoughts?
Thanks for interviewing me! And to all the artists reading this – keep creating!