What is the name, background and ethnicity of the actress who plays Raj’s sister Priya on “The Big Bang Theory”?
—Charles Dix, Stewartsville, Mo.
Aarti Mann, 36, a first-generation Indian American, was born in Connecticut and raised in Pennsylvania, and plays Priya Koothrappali on “The Big Bang Theory.”
Of landing the role as Raj’s sister, she says, “It is like winning the opportunity to go to the acting Olympics. You are working with people who are at the top of their fields. It is great because it helps me elevate my game. Even when I am not rehearsing, I will stay on set and watch the other actors because you learn so much just by observing them.”
As for her background, Mann’s late father, who died when she was in high school, was a doctor, as is her mother Vasanti Majmudar, who is a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist in Pittsburgh.
Mann, who has also performed as Aarti Majumdar, became interested in show business at a very young age.
“The first memory I have of watching a film and realizing it was something I wanted to be a part of was ‘Alien,’” she recalls. “It is definitely one of my all-time favorite films. I loved everything about it. I definitely credit that film for making me want to be a filmmaker.”
Toward that goal, Mann made home movies with her brother and sister when she was a child. But following high school graduation, she studied film at New York University, intending to become a director. But along the way, she got waylaid by acting.
“Somehow when I was in film school, I was attracted to the craft of acting,” she says. “I think the immediacy of it was really what drew me to it and, then, I got to L.A. and decided to pursue it professionally. I want to be an actor because I love to tell stories and share myself with others with the small hope that people feel like they are part of a larger experience.”
In addition to “The Big Bang Theory,” Mann’s credits include “Wendell and Vinnie,” “Heroes” and “Suits.”
Married with one child, Mann lives in Los Angeles and enjoys cooking a variety of ethnic cuisines.