Sheetal Sheth

Last updated

Sheetal Sheth
Sheetal Sheth Publicity Still 1.jpg
Born (1976-06-24) June 24, 1976 (age 44)
Alma mater NYU Tisch School of the Arts
OccupationActress, author, producer
Years active1999–present
Neil Mody
(m. 2013)

Sheetal Sheth ( /ˈʃθəlˈʃɛθ/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) is an American actress. author, and producer. She starred opposite Albert Brooks in his film Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World . She debuted to rave reviews in the films ABCD and American Chai , and has appeared in the films I Can't Think Straight and The World Unseen . Sheth has been selected to represent such brands as CHI haircare [1] and Reebok. [2] She was also the first Indian American to appear in Maxim magazine. [3] Her first children's book, Always Anjali, debuted to critical acclaim and became a favorite for schools and parents. It's set to be a series.


Early life

Sheth was born in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, and is a first-generation Gujarati Indian American. Her parents came to the United States from Gujarat, India in 1972. [4] When she was twelve, her family moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where her parents still reside. [5] As a youth she traveled to India frequently with her family, and continues to visit family there regularly. [3] English is her primary language, but she is fluent in Gujarati, and has studied Hindi, French and Spanish. [6]

As a child, Sheth loved performing and watching TV and films, but academics were her priority. She also studied multicultural dance [7] and was very involved in athletics, particularly basketball. [8]

In high school, friends encouraged her to audition for the school play, and she was offered the lead in the production of "Slight Indulgences". [9] Although she excelled at academics, dance and sports, acting provided her first true challenge. She began to study, determined to learn and excel at acting. As she trained her passion for the craft grew, and she soon realized she wanted to make acting her life's work. [10]



Sheth debuted as the lead in the groundbreaking 1999 film ABCD, starring opposite Aasif Mandvi and Faran Tahir. The film won Best Indie Feature at the Houston film festival [11] and received critical acclaim from the likes of The Hollywood Reporter [12] and Rolling Stone [13] Sheth was widely praised for her performance. [14] [15] Both the film and Sheth's character stirred consisderable 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." [16]

In 2001, she 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". 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.


Albert Brooks and Sheetal Sheth at Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World premiere, 2005 Albert Brooks and Sheetal Sheth.jpg
Albert Brooks and Sheetal Sheth at Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World premiere, 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." [17] The film was shot on location in India (Delhi and Agra). [18] 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. [19]

Following her success in Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, Sheth won 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. [20] 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. Both movies have achieved cult status, and have earned Sheth a large, loyal fan base for her portrayals of Leyla (I Can't Think Straight) and Amina (The World Unseen).


Red carpet of 2011
AIF benefit gala Sheetal Sheth Publicity Still 5.jpg
Red carpet of 2011
AIF benefit gala

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 TV 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. [21] Three Veils has won numerous Best Feature awards at film festivals internationally, and Sheth's performance was widely acclaimed.

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. [22]

Sheth began her career at a time when few South Asians and very few Indian American women were making their living as actors. Still, she was surprised to find herself a pioneer. Nothing in her experience, education or personal outlook had prepared her for the role her ethnicity would play in casting decisions. She was frequently expected to change her name to something "more American," and was even denied representation when she chose to perform under her own name. [23] Ultimately her body of work demonstrates that her expertise as an actor and her talent for accents enables her to portray characters of a wide variety of ethnicities, temperaments and circumstances. Her successful career has opened doors for other South Asian actors to pursue careers in American film and television. Sheth supports Asian Americans and other under-represented groups in their pursuit of careers in the entertainment industry, not only through her own pioneering work as an actor, but also by appearing at festivals, workshops and panels and speaking directly to issues facing those communities. [24]

Other projects

Cover of CHI Magazine (photographed by David Ferrua) Sheetal Sheth Cover of CHI.jpg
Cover of CHI Magazine (photographed by David Ferrua)

Sheth's career and personal reputation have drawn the attention of companies internationally. She was selected as the spokesperson for CHI haircare products and represented Reebok's New York sneaker in their 2008 international Freestyle campaign. [2] She was also the first Indian American to appear in Maxim magazine. [3] [25] CHI says of Sheth, "Grace, artistry, passion and the most compelling elements of every culture that's the essence of Sheth." [1]

Humanitarian causes

While at NYU Sheth continued her history of service to her community. She 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. [26]

Sheth is actively involved in community outreach and causes that are important to her. She participates in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles as a Big Sister, she 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. [27]

Personal life

Although her parents were devout Jains and active in the local Jain community, they enrolled Sheth in the local Catholic school because of its focus on academics and reputation for toughness. [4] Sheth attended Catholic school until age 12, when her family moved to Trenton, Pennsylvania. [3]

Sheth attended Liberty High School (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania), where she was very involved in school organizations and student government, serving on the student advisory board. She received the Student Government Award for her contribution to the school, [28] and was one of two students invited to speak at her commencement. [29] While in high school, Sheth discovered her passion for acting and was determined to master the craft through study and performance. After considering a variety of undergraduate programs, Sheth auditioned and was accepted to the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. [4]

At Tisch Sheth studied the classics - some of her favorite works included Antigone and The Crucible . [30] She also trained extensively at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in the technique known as "The Method". She spent a summer abroad in Amsterdam as part of the intensive International Theatre Workshop, studying under such respected acting teachers as Kristin Linklater. Sheth excelled and earned the honor of being selected to participate in the Tisch Scholar's Program. After graduating from Tisch with honors [5] Sheth continued her studies even as she built a successful career. In New York she studied with Wynn Handman, one of the founders of The American Place Theatre. In Los Angeles she attended weekly invitation-only classes with renowned acting instructor Milton Katselas until his death in 2008. [31]

Sheth is heavily involved in community outreach and causes that are important to her. She takes an active interest in politics, she's served in AmeriCorps, she participates in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles as a Big Sister, and she supports and promotes organizations such as Women's Voices Now which encourage communities that are under-represented in American media to make their voices heard. She also regularly speaks on panels and forums internationally.

Sheth is married to husband Neil Mody. [32]

In June of 2019, Sheth revealed that she is suffering from breast cancer. [33]


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


2001 American Chai MayaChoreographer
2001 The Princess and the Marine LaylaTV movie
2001A Pocket Full of DreamsSanjana
2001Wings of HopeKaajal VermaWinner, Best Actress
Cinevue Film Festival, 2003
2003 The Agency Layla - Jamar
Akil's sister
TV series
2003Beat CopsGwen LampoorTV movie
2003 Line of Fire FathimaTV series
2004 Strong Medicine
  • Ears, Ho's & Threat (#4.18)
ShaheenaTV series
2004 Indian Cowboy Sapna
2004 The Proud Family
  • Culture Shock (#3.3)
RadhikaTV 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)
MartinaTV series
2007 The Trouble with Romance Nicole
2007First FearMaya
2008 I Can't Think Straight Leylanominated for, Best Actress
gay Film Festival,2008
2008 The World Unseen Amina HarjanWinner, 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
2009Why Am I Doing This?Nira
2010StaleMateKayleighNominated, Best Actress
Staten Island Film Festival, 2011
2010 Nip/Tuck
  • Dan Daly (#6.11)
AriaTV series
2011 Three Veils Nikki
2011Being Bin LadenNabeelahTV movie
2011 Royal Pains
  • A Little Art, A Little Science (#3.10)
Raina SalujaTV series
2011 NCIS: Los Angeles
  • Deadline (#3.10)
Shari Al-KousaTV series
2011 Johnny Bravo Goes to Bollywood voice of Sumi,
2012Yes, We're OpenElena
2012-13Nice 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)
LeenaTV series
2012 Brickleberry
  • Hello Dottie (#1.7)
DottieTV series (animated)
2012 The Wisdom Tree Dr. Trisha Rao
2013Blue Bloods
  • Warriors (#3.15)
Isabelle NassarTV series
  • Audition This! (#2.6)
RousauraTV mini-series
  • Sister of Mine
Evelyn Malik, Cammie MalikTV series
2014Go NorthRiyaShort
2016 Family Guy Padma, Tapeworm (voices)TV series


  1. 1 2 "In Any Language", CHI Magazine
  2. 1 2 Reebok Freestyles – New York
  3. 1 2 3 4 Sharma, Jaya. "Simply Sheetal"
  4. 1 2 3 Melwani, Lavina. "Lethal Sheetal"
  5. 1 2 Song, Jenny. "Sheetal Sheth – Gorgeous and Grounded"
  6. Metal, Sheena; Sheth, Sheetal: time 19:17
  7. McManus, Bridget; Sheth, Sheetal. Brunch with Sheetal Sheth (Brunch with Bridget, Episode 70), Part 1 of 3: time 1:54
  8. Roy, Sandip. "Straddling Cultures"
  9. Longsdorf, Amy. "Ray of Sunshine": p. 1
  10. Girn, Raj. "Out in the Open with Sheetal Sheth"
  11. Apeles, Teena. "Bright Eyes" Audrey magazine: p. 70
  12. Honeycutt, Kirk. "Film Review - ABCD". The Hollywood Reporter. "Reminiscent of early films by Wayne Wang and Ang Lee, ABCD should win enthusiastic fans"
  13. Travers, Peter (April 2, 2001). "ABCD". Rolling Stone. "Extraordinary…funny, touching and haunting…seek it out"
  14. Thomas, Kevin. "Immigrants, Their Children Raised in America, in ABCD". The Los Angeles Times. "Sheth illuminates the tempestuous Nina"
  15. Sebastian, P. "Film Review - ABCD". The Deccan Herald. "Sheetal is a find, an Indian beauty who can act - she's star material."
  16. Pasha, Kamran. "Desi Diva"
  17. Karn Batra, Rohit. "Getting Noticed: Sheetal Sheth", East West Woman, p. 32
  18. "Sheetal's Showtime". Indian Life & Style Magazine, 2005, p. 110
  19. "'Looking for Comedy' Among Studio Execs". Studio Briefing - Film News.
  20. Schneider, Michael. "NBC's Table Gets Smaller". Variety.
  21. Curiel, Jonathan. "At Arab Film Festival, a Daring Drama Features a Lesbian of Faith". KQED.
  22. "Best Shorts". January 12, 2012.
  23. Apeles, Teena. "Bright Eyes" Audrey magazine: p. 73
  24. Chung, Leeva; Sheth, Sheetal; Chen, Lynn; Kim, Elaine H. (2011). "Asian American Women in Hollywood and Beyond" Panel
  25. "Girls of Maxim - Sheetal Sheth"
  26. "I Can't Think Straight - Cast - Sheetal Sheth"
  27. McManus, Bridget (March 31, 2011). "Interview with Sheetal Sheth".
  28. "'Transcend Mediocrity,' Liberty Graduates Told", p. 3. The Morning Call. June 18, 1994
  29. "Liberty, Saucon Valley Grads Are At The Head Of The Class". The Morning Call. June 20, 1994.
  30. Metal, Sheena; Sheth, Sheetal: time 31:05
  31. Metal, Sheena; Sheth, Sheetal: time 23:38
  32. "Sheetal Sheth & Neil Mody Tie the Knot", People Magazine, 11/24/2013

Related Research Articles

Renée Zellweger American actress

Renée Kathleen Zellweger (; born April 25, 1969) is an American actress and film producer. She is the recipient of numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. She was one of the world's highest-paid actresses by 2007 and was named the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year in 2009.

Bridget Fonda American actress

Bridget Jane Fonda Elfman is a retired American actress. She is known for her roles in The Godfather Part III (1990), Single White Female (1992), Singles (1992), Point of No Return (1993), It Could Happen to You (1994), and Jackie Brown (1997). She is the daughter of Peter Fonda, niece of Jane Fonda, and granddaughter of Henry Fonda.

Ali Larter American actress

Alison Elizabeth Larter is an American actress and model. She portrayed fictional model Allegra Coleman in a 1996 Esquire magazine hoax and took on guest roles on several television shows in the 1990s. She made her film debut in Varsity Blues (1999), which was followed by the horror films House on Haunted Hill (1999), Final Destination (2000), and Final Destination 2 (2003). Her role as Clear Rivers in the latter two films earned her a reputation as a scream queen.

Diane Kruger German-American film actress and model

Diane Kruger is a German actress and former fashion model. She has played Helen in the epic war film Troy (2004), Dr. Abigail Chase in the heist film National Treasure (2004) and its sequel (2007), Bridget von Hammersmark in Quentin Tarantino's war film Inglourious Basterds (2009), and Gina in the psychological thriller film Unknown (2011). She also starred as Detective Sonya Cross in the FX crime drama series The Bridge (2013–14). In 2017, she made her German-language debut in Fatih Akin's In the Fade, for which she won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress and Satellite Award for Best Actress.

Jennifer Westfeldt Actress, screenwriter

Jennifer Westfeldt is an American actress and screenwriter known for the 2001 independent film Kissing Jessica Stein for which she won the Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay, her 2004 Tony nomination for Wonderful Town, and her 2011 film Friends with Kids.

Bridget Moynahan American actress, model

Kathryn Bridget Moynahan is an American actress and model. Moynahan is known for her role in the police drama Blue Bloods. She graduated from Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts in 1989, and began pursuing a career in modeling. She appeared in department-store catalogs and magazines, and after doing television commercials, she began taking acting lessons. Moynahan made her television debut in a guest appearance in the comedy series Sex and the City in 1999, where she later had a recurring role as Natasha.

Kristen Stewart American actress

Kristen Jaymes Stewart is an American actress and filmmaker. The world's highest-paid actress in 2010 and 2012, she is the recipient of several accolades, including a BAFTA Award and a César Award, which she was the first American actress to win.

Lake Bell American actress, director, and screenwriter

Lake Siegel Bell is an American actress, director, and screenwriter. She has starred in various television series, including Boston Legal (2004–2006), Surface (2005–2006), How to Make It in America (2010–2011), Childrens Hospital (2008–2016), and Bless This Mess (2019-2020) and in films including Over Her Dead Body (2008), What Happens in Vegas (2008), It's Complicated (2009), No Strings Attached (2011), Million Dollar Arm (2014), No Escape (2015), The Secret Life of Pets (2016), and Home Again (2017).

Leighton Meester American actress, singer, songwriter, and model

Leighton Marissa Meester is an American actress, singer, songwriter, and model. She is best known for her starring role as the devious socialite Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl on The CW (2007–2012). She has also appeared in films such as Killer Movie (2008), Country Strong (2010), The Roommate (2011), Monte Carlo (2011), The Oranges (2011) and The Judge (2014). Meester made her Broadway debut in Of Mice and Men (2014). She portrayed Angie D'Amato on the ABC sitcom Single Parents (2018–2020).

Danielle Egnew is a psychic / medium, musician, media personality, actress and activist. She was born in Billings, Montana on February 28, 1969. Danielle Egnew currently resides in Billings. MT with her wife Rebecca Douglas.

Octavia Spencer American actress, author, and producer

Octavia Lenora Spencer is an American actress, author, and producer. She is the recipient of several accolades, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. She is one of two women of color to have received three Oscar nominations and the first black actress to receive two consecutive nominations.

Anna Gunn American actress

Anna Gunn is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Skyler White on the AMC drama series Breaking Bad (2008–2013), for which she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2013 and 2014.

Shamim Sarif is a British novelist and filmmaker of South Asian and South African heritage. Her work often focuses on various aspects of identity including gender, race, and sexuality. It often draws upon her own personal experience with cross cultural, non-heterosexual love.

<i>The World Unseen</i> 2007 film by Shamim Sarif

The World Unseen is a 2007 historical drama film, written and directed by Shamim Sarif, adapted from her own novel. The film is set in 1950s Cape Town, South Africa during the beginning of apartheid. The film stars Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth as two Indian South African women who fall in love in a racist, sexist, and homophobic society.

<i>I Cant Think Straight</i> 2008 film by Shamim Sarif

I Can't Think Straight is a 2008 British romantic drama film directed by Shamim Sarif. Based on Sarif's 2008 novel of the same name, the film tells the story of a London-based Jordanian of Palestinian descent, Tala, who is preparing for an elaborate wedding when a turn of events causes her to have an affair, and subsequently fall in love, with another woman, Leyla, a British Indian. The film stars Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth.

Rebecca Ferguson Swedish actress

Rebecca Louisa Ferguson Sundström is a Swedish actress. She began her acting career with the Swedish soap opera Nya tider (1999–2000) and went on to star in the slasher film Drowning Ghost (2004). She came to international prominence with her portrayal of Elizabeth Woodville in the British television miniseries The White Queen (2013), for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film.

Lily Collins English-American actress, model, and writer

Lily Jane Collins is an English-American actress, model, and writer. She is the daughter of English musician Phil Collins and American Jill Tavelman. She was born in Surrey and moved to Los Angeles as a child. Her first screen role was at the age of two in the BBC series Growing Pains. She went on to study broadcast journalism at the University of Southern California, and as a teenager, wrote for Seventeen magazine, Teen Vogue, and The Los Angeles Times. She was named International Model of the Year by Spain's Glamour magazine after being selected by Chanel to wear one of their dresses at the Hôtel de Crillon in 2007.

Tanit Phoenix South African actress and model

Tanit Phoenix is a South African fashion model, actress and makeup artist. She is known for her swimwear and lingerie photo shoots after appearing in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2003 and in GQ magazine and FHM in the same year.

Zoey Deutch American actress and producer

Zoey Francis Thompson Deutch is an American actress and producer. The daughter of director Howard Deutch and actress-director Lea Thompson, she began her career with roles on the Disney Channel comedy series The Suite Life on Deck (2010–2011) and The CW crime drama series Ringer (2011–2012). Following her credited film debut in the gothic romance film Beautiful Creatures (2013), she starred in the fantasy horror film Vampire Academy (2014), for which she received a Teen Choice Award nomination.

Enlightenment Productions is multi-media entertainment company based in London and founded in partnership between producer Hanan Kattan and writer and director Shamim Sarif.