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2021 Diversity Initiative 80 MENASA Actors Screened by Hollywood VIPs In Virtual Open Call

On May 8th, 2021 our open call helped performers of MENASA (Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia) descent raise their acting profile and visibility to a powerhouse panel of film and television talent agents, directors, producers and casting professionals.

Over 200 MENASA actors submitted, 80 of whom were scheduled to perform a one-minute monologue in the three hour virtual initiative produced by our team at Studio For Performing Arts LA in collaboration with the MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition.

The following VIPs volunteered to join the panel:

  • Angela Mickey, Casting Director, Liz Lewis Casting Partners

  • April Webster, Casting Director, April Webster Casting

  • Rosalie Joseph, Casting Director, CBS

  • Ani Avetyan, Casting Director & Producer

  • Rachael Jimenez, Casting Director, Goodman Theatre

  • Barrie Adleberg, Writer/Producer & Founder, Split Ends Media

  • Mike Mosallam, Writer/Director, Brothers, Breaking Fast (President, Mike Mosallam Productions)

  • Janelle Bernard, Theatrical Talent Agent, Daniel Hoff Agency

  • Marilyn Atlas, Producer/Manager, Marilyn Atlas Mgmt. & Co-Author of "Dating Your Character"

As a recent study by the MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition showed, only 1 percent of all television actors are of MENASA descent.

This underrepresentation can make it difficult for upcoming MENASA performers to find work and struggle to be seen by casting directors and other industry professionals. We are working together to help performers from these areas get a foot in the door through their virtual open call.

Here are 3 ways you can support the 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!

This initiative was free for actors of ages nine and up who are of MENASA descent and able to legally work in the USA.

The open call was part of our studio’s scheduled series of events to assist performers from different backgrounds and regions around the world. These diversity initiatives help performers to improve their exposure and be considered for professional acting opportunities and are produced by our director, Walid Chaya.

The following actors were scheduled and performed for this diversity initiative:

Laila Abdo

Maher Aghnim

Sarah Alami

Phae Amara

Gabrielle Archambault

Najat Arkadan Washington

Vaneh Assadourian

Islam Balbaa

Sahil Bhutani

Nicky Boulos

Eden Butvinik

Nikita Chaudhry

Chelly Chelly

Vinay Chinni

David Coretti

Elor De Mayo

Tina El Gamal

Tamir Elbassir

Serena Elgharib

Rand Faris

Aizzah Fatima

Zehra Fazal

Matt Gottlieb

Vritika Gupta

Raveena Gupta

Sophia Gutchinov

Zameer Hassim

Sheila Houlahan

Montana Jacobowitz

Rayyaan Jameel

Tayeb Jasoor

Zarra Kaahn

Sarah Kamran

Carla Kechichian

Eliezer Kesse-Kye

Sofie Khan

Megan Khaziran

Zein Khleif

Sophia Konat

Vick Krishna

Freddie Kuguru

Vee Kumari

Robbie Latorre

Francis Lawrence

Rachanee Lumayno

Ruba Mansouri

Farah Merani

Afsheen Misaghi

Melissa Ngassa Abe

Machelle Noel

Uma Paranjpe

Zain Patel

Venk Potula

Karthik Raj

Utkarsh Rajawat

Salim Razawi

Sheela Sharma

Faizan Sheikh

Piyali Syam

Shenika Travis

Sophia Valinotti

Nick Vango

Satya Vanii

Trang Vo

Zhaleh Vossough

Laura Wei

Rokhsane Zadeh

Awesta Zarif

Sophie Zmorrod Laruelle

Tarek Zohdy

For information about our next diversity initiative, please subscribe with your email below for our studio updates and follow us on Instagram @studioforperformingarts

For the current studio schedule please visit


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