Aparna Shewakramani's appearance in Indian Matchmaking was the perfect match for the Netflix reality show from the beginning. Her honesty and on-screen personality meant that many viewers and fellow cast members couldn't help but lose time in her presence. Appearing in seasons one and two, Shewakramani has since become an international bestselling author of She's Unlikeable: And Other Lies That Bring Women Down and spends her time as a 'recovering attorney'. From her candid insights on love and cultural expectations to the impact of the show on her life, we chat to Shewakramani to go beyond the surface and gain a deeper understanding of the woman who brought her authenticity to the spotlight and left an indelible mark on the hearts of viewers.
1. Can you tell us about yourself and how you ended up on Netflix's hit series Indian Matchmaking?
When I applied to the show in 2018, I was an attorney living in Houston, Texas and was not having much luck with the dating apps. While scrolling Facebook in an airplane boarding lane, I came across a friend's posting asking, "Are you single? Are you South Asian? Are you looking for your potential spouse?" I applied right there and forgot all about it. I got an email soon after asking if I would be available for a casting interview. I agreed and the rest is history. I tell people now, be careful to take your five minute decisions lightly – you never know how it might change your life.
2. When did you first come across Sima Aunty?
The viewer sees the first time I meet Sima in season one. I had never met her before and it was a genuine introduction on screen. I open my front door to her, and she walks in with her now-famous line, "Hello. I am Sima from Mumbai." She met my family that same day, as well.
3. What's something you learned from the show?
I wrote a book about this in fact! She's Unlikeable: And Other Lies That Bring Women Down goes into these lessons in depth but I would say the main lesson I learned is that you have to tell your own story, on your own terms, in whatever situation you are placed in. Our stories matter and we are the best tellers of our own story. So whether it is a global stage like Netflix or your own workplace or WhatsApp group chat, be sure to advocate for yourself to share your perspective authentically.
4. Where are your top 5 places to travel – and your favourite thing to do in each place?
I love so many of the destinations I've visited so this will be a tough question to answer. First and foremost, India will always be at the top of my list. It's a place that is so familiar but also has so much to explore is something so special in this world. I loved travelling through the country of Vietnam. Its southern, mid and northern regions are all so different and it's such an easy country to navigate through. The people are amazing and so is the food! I enjoyed visiting the beautiful red deserts of Jordan called Wadi Rum. It was like we were on another planet altogether - so much so, that the movie the Martian was actually filmed in this unique desert. And then there are the staples that I could visit over and over again and always find so much joy in each location – London and Paris. There's a reason they're global favourites!
"Our stories matter and we are the best tellers of our own story. So whether it is a global stage like Netflix or your own workplace or WhatsApp group chat, be sure to advocate for yourself to share your perspective authentically."
- Indian Matchmaking star, Aparna Shewakramani
5. Where are your top five restaurant recommendations in NYC?
Wayan, Via Carota, Chinese Tuxedo, Gupshup, Prince Street Pizza (we had to include at least one typical pizza joint in that list!).
6. What inspired you to write the book She's Unlikeable?
I knew telling my own story in my own words would be a powerful endeavor for me but I had no idea it would truly also be one of the most healing experiences as well. Writing each word of your experience out for a reader who you know is likely a stranger means you have to delve so deeply into describing not only the feelings, but the environment and the senses that were activated – for instance, the smell in the air, the temperature of the room or the way the food tasted. I feel privileged to be able to put my own words down on paper (or a Kindle) and have it shared with readers around the world.
7. What do you look for in a romantic partner and what advice do you have for newbies on the dating scene?
I am looking for someone intelligent and compassionate who is living his purpose. He should be kind and have a spiritual interest in his own practices too. I would advise newbies to explore their own criteria by meeting different people. The traits we are looking for in a partner change over time, so I'd tell them to keep updating their criteria as they date more.
8. Lastly, what's next for you? Any exciting projects in the pipeline?
I stopped practicing law in October 2020 and have been focused on my writing since. After She's Unlikeable, I began development on a docu-feature that will hopefully be taped this year. It's incredible to now be the creator of my own media and to also be in front of the camera again. I have also just finished writing my first movie screenplay and am excited to begin a second.
All imagery is provided by Aparna Shewakramani.