top of page
6 Logo White - Studio for Performing Arts.png

BLOG

3rd Annual MENASA Diversity Showcase: Walid Chaya, MAAC, and CSA Host Online Premiere

The third annual MENASA Diversity Showcase had a successful premiere with over 60 actors delivering powerful monologues. 50 VIPs supported the cause by volunteering their time to watch the showcase, which serves as a platform for MENASA actors to be discovered, leveling out the playing field for diversity and inclusion in entertainment.


The MENASA Diversity Showcase premiered on YouTube last Saturday, and it was an overwhelming success! This showcase was an opportunity for actors of Middle Eastern, North African, South Asian, South West Asian, and North African (MENASA-SWANA) descent to showcase their talents and gain exposure in the film and television industry.


The MENASA Diversity Showcase, now in its third year, was founded by actor and director Walid Chaya and the MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition, who also served as co-producers. This year, the showcase was also supported by the Casting Society of America and featured over 60 actors delivering powerful and heartfelt monologues.

For the showcase video replay, click here.

The purpose of the MENASA Diversity Showcase was to increase representation and inclusion of MENASA actors in the entertainment industry. With only a handful of MENASA actors represented in mainstream media, this event was a chance for these talented individuals to break into the industry and make their voices heard. The showcase aimed to level out the playing field and offer an equal opportunity for actors from diverse backgrounds to be discovered.


The event garnered immense support from the industry, with 50 industry professionals volunteering their time to watch the showcase during the premiere or as a replay. These professionals consisted of casting directors, agents, managers, producers, and other VIPs from LA, NYC, DC, and beyond. We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of them for supporting the cause and recognizing the importance of diversity in the industry.


2023 INDUSTRY VOLUNTEERS SUPPORTING THE DIVERSITY INITIATIVE

  1. Ali Afshar (Producer, WBD)

  2. Ally Beans (Eisenberg/Beans Casting)

  3. Amy Lord (Eris Talent Agency)

  4. Angela Mickey (Liz Lewis Casting)

  5. Ani Avetyan (Casting Director)

  6. Anne Chapman (Anne Chapman Casting)

  7. April Webster (Casting Director)

  8. Blair Foster (Casting Director)

  9. Cassie Gelfand (DDO Talent Agency)

  10. Charley Medigovich (Carmen Cuba Casting)

  11. Chrissy Fiorilli (Doyle / Fiorilli Casting)

  12. Cindy Schoonover (Eris Talent Agency)

  13. Craig Holzberg (Avalon Artists Group)

  14. Danielle Pretsfelder Demchick (Casting Director)

  15. Denny Sevier (House of Reps)

  16. Elizabeth Benge (Casting Director)

  17. Elizabeth Valenti (McCarthy Abellera Casting)

  18. Elmer Blanco (Avalon Artists Group)

  19. Eloisa Woodruff (Eris Talent Agency)

  20. Erica Bream (Erica Bream Casting)

  21. Erica Arvold (Erica Arvold Casting)

  22. Haley Nelson (Evolve Artists Agency)

  23. Hamzah Saman (Arab American Casting)

  24. Janelle Bernard (Daniel Hoff Agency)

  25. Jason Crow (Casting Director)

  26. John Ort (Casting Director)

  27. Karlee Fomalont (Rori Bergman Casting)

  28. Karyn Casl (Telsey + Co.)

  29. Kendra Castleberry (Castleberry/Murphy/Casting)

  30. Lau Lapides (Model Club Inc & MCVO)

  31. Lindsay Mass (DPN Talent Agency)

  32. Lindsay Brooks (Across The Board Talent Agency)

  33. Lisa Zambetti (Casting Director)

  34. Lisa Pantone (Pantone Casting)

  35. Liz Ortiz (I Aint Playin Films)

  36. Mala Lemnah (5J Management)

  37. Matt Glanser (Aibel/Holbrook Casting)

  38. Melissa Skoff (Melissa Skoff Casting)

  39. Michael Donovan (Michael Donovan Casting)

  40. Mike Mossallam (Freelance)

  41. Mike Page (Day & Page Casting)

  42. Miranda Mattlin (Aspire Talent Mgmt.)

  43. Natalie Kollar (LA Talent)

  44. Paul Sinacore (Casting Director)

  45. Rachel Reiss (Liz Lewis Casting)

  46. Robin Carus (Robin Carus Casting)

  47. Stephanie Klapper (Casting Director)

  48. Sueanne Edan (Tangerine Talent)

  49. Tanya Kleckner (HRI Talent Agency)

  50. Ted Maier (Avalon Artists Group)




We would also like to give a special shoutout to the over 60 actors who participated in the showcase. The actors were asked to prepare a one-minute family friendly monologue of their choice. Their performances were moving and inspiring, and they truly showcased the incredible talent and potential of MENASA actors.


2023 ACTORS PRESENTING MONOLOGUES

Listed in order of appearance as seen in the showcase video replay. 1 Wida Karim

2 Jai Jhala

3 Ece Hakim

4 Neaka Mohtashemi

5 Rayyaan Jameel

6 Shruthi Rajesh

7 Saalika Khan

8 Ahmad Salah

9 Nancy Sandoval

10 Samia Mounts

11 Sam Mistry

12 Sarah Carlson

13 Chhaya Nene

14 Hazem Madbouly

15 Samira Izadi

16 Nare Israelyan

17 Tarek Zohdy

18 Anika Kokatay

19 Maya Jairam

20 Hakam Shalabi 21 Lara Barry

22 Dina Najjar

23 Belal Wahab

24 Rabinder Campbell

25 Simran Budhwani

26 Tamil Periasamy

27 Hasti Bakian

28 Jenna Seede

29 Beejan Land

30 Sheira Lempel

31 Grantt Lopes

32 Negine Sekandari

33 Jerry Habibi

34 Aarti Chopra

35 Maxx Naseef

36 Afsaneh Dehrouyeh

37 Indu Sai

38 Bilal Dar

39 Alyssa Jiwani

40 Lila KiaKiani

41 Varun Kapoor

42 Ari Deram

43 Faizan Kareem

44 Rachel Rohatgi

45 Sadid Rahimi

46 Neda Lahidji

47 Kareem Kanouh

48 Mahek Shah

49 Maher Aghnim

50 Neriman Mohammad

51 Yaser Salamah

52 Sarah Fatemi

53 Paul Zecharia

54 Lucie Allouche

55 Jaspal Atwal

56 Leila Lahidji

57 Hassan Nazari Robati

58 Sonya Rao

59 Wahab Shayek

60 Fatemeh Mehraban

61 Ali Reza

62 Gilli Messer


The video of the MENASA Diversity Showcase will remain accessible to industry VIPs as a platform for MENASA actors to be discovered. We hope that this showcase will lead to more opportunities and increased representation for MENASA actors in the industry. We believe that diversity and inclusion are essential for a thriving and representative entertainment industry, and we are proud to have been a part of this important event.


Actors interested in receiving updates about next years showcase and related opportunities can join our studio mailing list and are also encouraged to join the MAAC Talent Database, both free of charge.


In conclusion, the MENASA Diversity Showcase was a resounding success. It brought together talented actors, passionate industry professionals, and a shared commitment to diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. We are grateful for the overwhelming support and encouragement we have received, and we look forward to seeing the impact that this showcase will have on the industry.






Comments


bottom of page