Reshma Shetty stars in the USA Network's hit TV show Royal Pains, which will be back for its second season next year. Reshma also performs on stage and possesses so much musical talent that Simon Cowell would even smile.
Q: Did you have the desire to be an actress as a child, or was it something that came about more recently?
RS: I fit the mold of the little girl who always knew she was going to be in the arts. I used to perform my own full-blown musicals in my living room at 7! I had a very active imagination and would love to conjure up dramas in my head to counteract the car sickness I suffered on long trips. With all of this creativity came my love of music and I connected music to my ongoing soap operas. I would sit and, while listening to my parents Bollywood, soundtracks, I would place myself in the Swiss Alps dancing around in a little silk sari. Upon entering school I had already started taking piano and violin classes and I became the concert mistress for the orchestras that played for the staged musicals. Watching the kids on stage made me long to leave the orchestra pit and play the roles. So from those early years of private drama study (i.e. my own imagination) I slowly started to manifest my dream with the help of my teachers into my subsequent profession.
Q: Music appears to be an important part of your life, with your performances in musicals on stage as well as your Masters in Music Performance that you received from the University of Kentucky. Do you foresee yourself doing more with music as your career progresses?
RS: Well I also received a post master's degree from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music which was the hardest and most prestigious degree I have received. I learnt so much through being immersed 24 hours a day at a conservatory. You are around the best students and you are always pushed to get better, faster; so when you come to New York the auditions here seem a lot easier.
I am sure I will be singing again. That was my source of income when I arrived. My first legitimate job was playing Ayah in the Broadway Aids Benefit production of Secret Garden with Laura Benanti. I then went on to play Priya in the first national tour of Bombay Dreams - so singing is never going to leave. But I had always aimed to be a straight actress; it was only a matter of time and the correct project.
Q: Which actor or actress would you most like to work with that you haven't had the chance to yet?
RS: The dream would be actors like Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, the Fiennes brothers I really love, Cate Blanchett, etc.
Q: Who is the funniest cast member of Royal Pains?
RS: It's a toss-up between Mark [Feuerstein] and Paulo [Costanzo]. They both have their own unique brand of humor.
Q: Do you or the rest of the cast have nicknames for each other?
RS: We call our wonderful writer, Andrew, Chewy; but other than that, I think I am called Silky by some as my name means silk, but nothing else that pops to mind.
Q: What is your favorite memory from the filming of the first season of Royal Pains?
RS: I loved filming on the boat actually. I was surprised as the script was so medically based and I was fearful of getting seasick. But I was given a sea sickness patch that was remarkable. And the [medical] terms came a lot easier than expected. So that episode was probably the nicest to shoot.
Q: It was recently announced that Royal Pains would be picked up for a 2nd season; what changes do you foresee for your character next season?
RS: I am not sure. I think Divya is definitely going to have her personal life fleshed out a lot. I hope her medical dramas will get more complex. But you will have to watch us and see. And I will have to wait for the scripts.
Q: It's Saturday night and you have no plans, what would the perfect evening consist of for you?
RS: I would love a few glasses of wine and some appetizers, then dinner out and then a Broadway show. I am pretty old school.
Q: What do you enjoy the most and least with regards to living in New York City?
RS: I love that you can get anything somewhere in the city. I hate the sometimes bungled-up public transportation systems.
Q: We end all interviews with word association, so I say "wombat" and you say...
RS: Aussie spineless hedgehog. Three words came to mind - maybe I think too much.