"I have wanted to be an actor since I was 11 years old."
I knew that the way I wanted to study acting was to study as many different ways of expressing the human experience on stage as I could. My greatest lifelong acting mentor works very closely with the Theater Program here at NYUAD. When I was in high school, he recommended I Google NYU Abu Dhabi.
I immediately fell in love with the school. I wanted to go somewhere where I would be making theater with people all over the world, about what we all were experiencing and facing. I wanted to study traditions from Stanislavski to Kathakali to Japanese Butoh. I wanted a school that looked at Shakespeare as a global phenomenon. I found all of that here.
I think actors and theater-makers are world creators.
When you see a play or a great story told, an entire world is created before your eyes, and it is only made true through an actor's belief. I get to be a part of that work. The reason I decided to pursue theater and acting in my life is I realized that all the times I was truly deeply changed as an individual were in a theater or cinema.
I think empathy and storytelling is what reminds us of who we are and what we are capable of, good and bad. I get to investigate empathy every day for my job. That's incredible, let alone incredibly fun.
Every member of the Theater Program has walked me through huge hurdles and given me life lessons I will never forget.
I am beyond shocked by how much I've learned from faculty member Joanna Settle, in such a short amount of time. She is utterly sincere with each student in her classes, and reminds me in word and especially in action that theater is an act of citizenship.
She treats every person with respect and works to see us reach our own potential as artists and human beings.
I loved taking Abhishek Majumdar's Fundamentals of Playwriting class.
I've never had any other class in my four years that was as difficult as that class. But I came out of it with a full length play that had been through several drafts. I loved this class because Abhishek pushed us so incredibly hard, to the point where we had to really decide how far we were willing to go to learn.
He never based his investment in us on whether we had finished a reading or written a full new scene. We were worth his time and effort, and we were artists in his eyes, no matter what kind of work we were presenting.
That made me realize that only I would ever be able to motivate myself as an artist. Grade-grabbing only gets you so far. A full education is about far more than that.