HomeAAPI ActorsActor Avantika Vandanapu named South Asian Person of the Year

Actor Avantika Vandanapu named South Asian Person of the Year

Indian American actress Avantika Vandanapu was named the South Asian Person of the Year by Harvard University this Wednesday. 

Vandanapu, who is known for playing Karen Shetty in the Mean Girls reboot, is being given this title for her achievements and large impact on the international entertainment industry.

“Being honored by such a prestigious institution as Harvard University is truly humbling and incredibly motivating. This award not only acknowledges my efforts but also underscores the significance of narratives transcending borders and the crucial role of Indian representation in global media,” said Vandanapu, NDTV reported. 

Vandanapu is also known for her role in her debut in the Indian series Big Girls Don’t Cry, the Disney Channel movie Spin and the comedic drama Senior Years, First Post reported. 

Recently, she faced backlash after rumors spread of her being cast as Princess Rapunzel in a live-action version of the animated Disney film Tangled, which came out in 2010. Opponents argued it would be “inaccurate” to have a South Asian actress play a princess of German descent, according to NDTV.

This hate came months after African American actress Halle Bailey faced similar backlash for playing Ariel in the live-action Disney movie The Little Mermaid. 

In spite of this hate, Vandanapu is committed to continue her work breaking stereotypes and spotlighting the importance of diversity, NDTV reported. 

“It propels me to delve into stories that challenge stereotypes, embrace diversity, and forge deep connections with people. My journey is just beginning, and this recognition ignites my determination to continue contributing positively through my work,” said Vandanapu, Times Now reported. “I am eager for the future and aspire to pave the way for more Indian voices to resonate and thrive on the global platform.”

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