By degree, I am a scientist, with a BSc in Genetics and am currently studying for an MSc in Nanotechnology. I started acting two years ago and jumped into the deep end. Since then, I have been building up my portfolio and acting experience through theatre, short films and web series. I enjoyed performing 14 shows at three theatre festivals last year including the International Youth Arts Festival - Kingston, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Camden Fringe Festival. This experience was preceded by my second attendance at the 70th Cannes Film Festival in association with Raj Film Productions Int. I was sponsored designer outfits by TweedMaker and Jaded Life, taking on the responsibility of Brand Ambassador for both labels. Interacting with people across the theatre and film festivals opened my mind and allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. These opportunities have bestowed upon me confidence and self-belief, a trait I admit I was lacking before starting this venture.
Our readers would love to get to know you more Dhvel. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you?
I think my perseverance is unique. I have learnt to jump right in and keep going for it. I have learnt to handle the negativity, rejections and keep pushing. With 7 billion people in the world, that is 7 billion casting directors and 7 billion filmmakers giving me 7 billion chances to perform. This has become my mindset. At work, parties, social gatherings etc. I am known to talk to everyone, this increases my awareness and allows me to see the bigger picture. This is a unique feature about me. Now I think about it; I remember my college Tutor gifting me 'Mr Nosey' book at the end of the year with the comment 'knows something about everyone'. It certainly helps me in both the science and the art world.
Dhvel, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Others/Advertiser?
Quite the coincidence. I wanted to be a Doctor; however, when I graduated in Medical Genetics, I worked in Clinical Research. I remember on a site visit; my manager asked me 'have you considered being an Actor?' I thought about that and took a teen week beginner course with a final performance. I invited my immediate friends, and they propelled me to carry on. I did more research, sought out opportunities, and one thing has led to another. I am proud of the portfolio I have been building and even more so of the person I have become ever since. Academically, I am studying MSc Nanotechnology at the University of Oxford which remains a huge achievement for an average public school student like me. Hence, I know have the aspiration to inspire the younger generation that you can do anything you put your mind to, that there are no limits - just start, just do. Being an Actor or an Oxonian was never on the agenda for me, I am very grateful.
Who is your inspiration in life Dhvel? How do you keep inspired?
Foremost all the mothers out there, running the household day in and day out so that there is food on the table, so their children get the best opportunities. Nothing beats that for me, I think that is where my perseverance comes from - think like a mother! I have a huge inspiration list; this is because I believe there is something you can learn from everyone. A few examples are Akon, Bob Marley, Barack Obama, David Beckham, Shri H.M Patel, Jay Sean, Om Puri, Priyanka Chopra, Ryan Gosling...
I keep inspired using my scientific knowledge. Think about this. Basics of biology are that almost a million sperm cells race to the egg, yet only one (the majority of the time) fertilises to become the zygote. Now, this one cell divides repeatedly to form a 5ft individual. During this development, anything can go wrong at the genetic level, protein level, during DNA replication or even cell division. I am in awe every day I get up. Call this positive thinking or too much time spent in the library - it's been working for me, allowing me to enjoy every moment, interaction and appreciate nature. So yes, you all are beautiful and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
We all make mistakes Dhvel; we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Others/ Advertiser; you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
In all honesty, I haven't yet had such a situation while acting as I've embedded a positive attitude and work ethic. However, we all do make mistakes. During my college years, I wasn't as comfortable in my skin or myself for that matter. I had a very narrow mind and was reserved. And so I left with very few friends. A decade later, continuous attempts on my communication and presentation skills, I am in a happy place with myself; calm and confident enabling me to keep long-lasting relationships with almost everyone I encounter. I think it all revolves around awareness and then taking action to address it. I did, and I'm thankful I did.
Dhvel , when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Others/Advertiser, how do you go about prioritizing your clients’ needs?
My academic, professional and artistic experience has taught me that communication is the key. Foremost, I wouldn't take on new projects if my gut instinct would be that I would not be able to deliver on time. This ensures I don't compromise the needs of existing clients. Now if I can commit, then transparency regarding dates and deadlines is paramount. Clients appreciate my honesty and respect for the project. This ensures that I remain approachable for the subsequent project. This is the basis of professionalism is it not? That clients will come back to you again.
Please tell us Dhvel, about a time you had to be very strategic to meet all your top priorities as a Others/Advertiser?
I remain very strategic at the time of writing this. I study at the masters level which requires quite the investment. This involves attending conferences, thorough research and reports. I must oversee the latter so that I can submit it at the Oxford level. Simultaneously, I am also preparing for an upcoming role in a Nollywood TV series. This requires the repetitive reading of the script, memorising the lines and embedding the emotions to deliver them. I also attend networking events to meet other artists and members of the theatre/film industry.
I plan my week incorporating my duties as a student and an Actor, not to mention as a son, a brother and a friend (social butterfly).
Dhvel, please give us an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
One of my proudest moments was when I was cast for a small role in a short film. The role was casting for a Caucasian male, and I had applied (just do it mentality). The Director, a lovely person and certainly on my inspiration list, viewed my application and cast me. The Director messaged me that she liked my acting and didn't initially consider a coloured artist. Though a small role, I appreciate the gesture, and we have a lovely ongoing relationship. The film has gone on to win many awards since.
Dhvel, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Others/Advertiser. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
During day three of our seven-day performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I had requested a reviewer to see our piece. The following day, the review was out. We got a one-star rating with my acting being called 'wooden'. I was affected. The team was affected. The show went on, but you can feel negative energy weighing everyone down. Come Day 4 evening; we were alerted to another review that was made on the same night but written later. We received a five-star rating with my acting referred to as 'strong'. This lifted my spirits, the team's spirits. The reason this is the proudest moment for me is that, here I realised that I will never be able to please everyone, that everyone is entitled to their opinion and that if I'm to go on this path, I must perform my best and the leave the rest. It has made me indifferent to an opinion concerning my craft. This will propel me to keep on going.
Dhvel, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
I started filming through workshops facilitated by Raj Rajilal of Raj Film Productions Int. We were given scenarios and filmed around it. This improvisation using your dialogue, delivery it with the truth is quite hard albeit very useful. As an amateur then, I learnt to feed off my colleagues and give my character life. I learnt that even if one is not acting, they will be reacting. And so I have started noticing gestures, body language during conversations. I feel like I have opened myself up more.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Others/Advertiser?
I wouldn't go so far yet to say I have been successful but hell it's been a fun journey so far. I have learnt loads from fellow creatives. I have learnt a lot about myself in the process.
The advice I will give is:
1. decide what you want to do
2. do it, overcome the anxiety and worry it won't work.
3. go out, meet people, explore networking events. One thing will lead to another, that I can vouch for.
4. Always have a back-up plan.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Yes certainly, if you have a product that you can sponsor me, I would be happy to wear it and be the Brand Ambassador for your label. I can incorporate it into my photoshoots/videos and tag you for the same courtesy. I believe we grow together.
1. Nisha Malik - Jaded Life wear
2. Alex Fossett Photography
2. Loga Mathangi
3. Chandni Karia
5. Nisha Malik - Jaded Life wear
6. acquired by Raj Rajilal - TweedMaker Waistcoat with @chloewoollcott, @wendylevenez
8. Alex Fossett Photography
10. Saie Surrendra