2nd Annual MENASA Diversity Showcase Returned With A Star Studded And VIP Line-Up By Studio For Performing Arts LA & MAAC

This past year per UCLA's Hollywood Diversity Report, there were ZERO MENA Actors as leading actors in films.

By: May. 02, 2022
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2nd Annual MENASA Diversity Showcase Returned With A Star Studded And VIP Line-Up By Studio For Performing Arts LA & MAAC

Over 65 actors of MENASA descent were virtually screened and performed for an exclusive television and film industry panel last Saturday, part of a diversity initiative produced by Studio For Performing Arts LA (SPALA) and MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition (MAAC).

The 2nd annual "MENASA Diversity Showcase" was held online on April 30, 2022. Actors of MENASA (Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia) descent were invited to submit and request an appointment. Selected actors had the opportunity to perform a one-minute monologue online for a VIP panel.

MAAC conducted the first ever study of its kind and revealed, "Only 1 percent of TV actors are Middle Eastern, North African." Additionally, just this past year per UCLA's Hollywood Diversity Report, there were ZERO MENA Actors as leading actors in films.

Walid Chaya, Arab-American Actor and Director of Studio For Performing Arts LA, said "We're proud to provide a platform for underrepresented actors and thankful for the industry volunteers and the incredible line-up of actors that presented. Together we can create a more inclusive industry and look forward to growing this diversity initiative annually."

The following actors performed for the industry panet at the 2022 showcase:

  • Nicola Aara
  • Ariana Aftahi
  • Maher Aghnim
  • Zhane Amari
  • Anusha Angur
  • Qurrat Ann Kadwani
  • Saba Askari
  • Sabrina Aziz
  • Geetika Budhiraja
  • Eden Butvinik
  • Rabinder Campbell
  • Joseph Courey
  • Jessica Cruz
  • Nicole Cyrille
  • Zee Dastagir
  • Pranav Dev
  • Heba Dibas
  • Danya El-Kurd
  • Emon Elboudwarej
  • Srimayi Galla
  • Vritika Gupta
  • Sophia Gutchinov
  • Atif Hashwi
  • Mikael Hylu
  • Tayeb Jasoor
  • Alyssa Jiwani
  • Shawn K. Jain
  • Sarah Kamran
  • Saer Karim
  • Faris Khaleeli
  • Rebecca Khalil
  • Saalika Khan
  • Megan Khaziran
  • Julian Kiani
  • Zaya Kolia
  • Sapna Kumar
  • Khalil Lesaldo
  • Rachanee Lumayno
  • Maral Milani
  • Selena Mirza
  • Shuba Mohan
  • Amira Nader
  • Machelle Noel
  • Katie Prasad Keough
  • Amelia Prochaska
  • Yasmin Ranz-Lind
  • Ocean Rockelle
  • Dalia Rooni
  • Ahmad Salah
  • Aline Salloum
  • Demitra Sealy
  • Sheela Sharma
  • Kimberly Singh
  • Jurnee Swan
  • Piyali Syam
  • Rotana Tarabzouni
  • Ezra Tozian
  • Precious Ugbodu
  • Sara Vessal
  • Nour Waleed Zuaiter
  • Bruno Xavier
  • Wilder Yari
  • Cynthia Yelle
  • Rokhsane Zadeh
  • Tarek Zohdy
  • Laith Zuaiter

Within the last two years, the MENASA Diversity Showcase has provided over 145 actors of MENASA descent a platform for exposure to LA & NY industry professionals at no cost to the performers and was also the WINNER of the 2021 BroadwayWorld Regional Awards for "Best Special Event."

A special thank you to the following television and film VIPs that attended the 2022 event:

  • Ani Avetyan, Casting Director

  • Eve Battaglia, Casting Director

  • Robin Carus, Casting Director

  • Anne Chapman, Casting Director

  • David Donihue, Director

  • Debralynn Findon, Manager

  • Vicki Goggin, Casting Director

  • Angela Mickey, Casting Director

  • Steven Tyler O'Connor, Casting Director

  • Alexa Pereira, Casting Director

  • Rita Powers, Casting Director

  • Danielle Pretsfelder Demchick, Casting Director

  • Javier Salgado, Manager

  • Michael Sanford, Casting Director

  • Paul Sinacore, Casting Director

  • Pamela Staton, Casting Director

  • Maria Stuart, Manager

Here are 3 ways you can support the MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition (MAAC), a not-for-profit organization:

1) Please click here and join their MENA Talent Database for related opportunities
2) Follow them on Instagram @menaadvocacy
3) Please click here to make a donation, every little bit helps!

Actors interested in receiving notifications about similar events including next year's diversity initiative, please join Studio For Performing Art LA's mailing list.

For upcoming events by Studio For Performing Arts LA visit studioforperformingarts.com and follow them on Instagram @studioforperformingarts for the latest updates.



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