By: Lauren Reehl
Junior Sonali Chandy at Perkiomen Valley High School has recently started a new podcast called “The Lumina Show.” In her first episode, she interviewed actress, writer, producer, and director, Mindy Kaling, known for her roles in “The Office,” “Inside Out,” “Oceans 8,” and “A Wrinkle in Time.”
In her first episode they discussed the challenges women of color face in the entertainment industry. They also talked about Mindy Kaling’s own roles, and the problems she has encountered throughout her journey that influenced her to use her platform as a writer to promote change within the industry by refraining from giving minorities stereotypical roles.
“It’s been so life-affirming and opportunity giving to be a writer; because I have been able to write parts for “Never Have I Ever” and eight or nine parts for other minority voices. None of which are the roles I was describing, like a tech person, just a really funny fifteen-year-old girl…” said Kaling.
Sonali Chandy created this podcast as part of The Passion Project and thus “The Lumina Show” was born. She hopes to use this platform to bring light to important topics and connect to others her age.
The big question is, how did she get Mindy Kaling on her show? The answer: pure luck.
“Getting these people is very hard since they are extremely busy. I had Mr. Heidt help me reach out to her since I had no prior connection to her and didn’t know her personally. She was willing to set aside time to talk to me and she understood the mission of my project.” Sonali said.
Although the end result was flawless, Sonali explained that it took a lot of time and hard work to get this show up and running. From getting materials, to doing background research, interviewing Kaling, editing the podcast, adding music, and more, this was a huge project to take on.
Mr. Heidt, an English teacher at Perkiomen Valley High School, helped Sonali to get in touch with Kaling.
“My role was in leveraging my social media network. I’m connected to many people, including educators with far more reach than I have. When I see a student obviously trying to extend her learning beyond the walls of school, to ‘do school differently,’ they amplify that student’s voice. Within a day of putting out the word about what Sonali was up to, I’d heard back from Mindy Kaling’s personal assistant. I put her in touch with Sonali.” Heidt explained.
The other big question is whether or not there will be another episode, and what the next steps are for the show.
“I really want to continue with “The Lumina Show”, but there is a lot of work that gets put into every episode. It is also very difficult to find people of that status, that’s why I think it’s good that I interview a bunch of different people ranging in fields and age. I think it really adds to the concept of enlightenment, which is the show’s mission.” Sonali said.
She then added, “For what’s to come I can’t really say, but I am working on interviewing more people. It’s just hard to balance this with school and other activities; but since I’m passionate about it I hope that other things are in store.”
After the podcast was released, it received lots of positive reviews from viewers. Sonali’s friends and family could not be more excited for the show’s success.
“Sonali’s invested a ton of time and effort into the podcast and I’m so proud of her! I can’t wait to hear her upcoming episodes!” Pia Nagac, Sonali’s best friend and fellow junior at PV, said.
To listen to the podcast check out the link below.