Biography written by Priti Agrawal & Jeanette Awai
Actress, Annet Mahendru, was born to an East Indian father (a journalist and professor) and Russian mother (a businesswoman and artist). Annet spent her early years learning six languages while living in Afghanistan, Russia, and Europe. She put her curious mind to use playing competitive chess and earning a brown belt in Karate, sweeping a free sparring championship. At age 11, Annet choreographed a performance that gained her an appearance on German TV as a graceful Russian snow maiden that turns into a playful Indian dancer. Sad that her parents never signed her up for ballet classes as a little girl, she joined a local Rock 'n' Roll dance group, and later, began to study classical Indian dance, Bharatanatyam.
Annet finished high school in New York and received a Bachelor of Arts in English at St. John's University. After school, drawn by her passion for acting, she took classes at the HB studio, performed in plays, and Indie films. But it was in the course of pursuing a Master's degree in Global Affairs at NYU that Annet reached a crossroad in her life. She decided to drop out of NYU and escaped to the West Coast in search for yet another degree that would enable her to affect the kind of change she really wished for. This one was in Storytelling. Always being a big fan of Improvisation, she began studies at the Groundlings School and took on several comedy projects thereafter. Annet has also studied at the Imagined Life in Hollywood because she finds transformative experience and expression of the empathetic imagination to be the foundation of her work.
Everything, from growing up among a big Indian family on a healthy diet of Bollywood films to experiencing St. Petersburg's famous ballet, art and theatre scene, prepared Annet for her life as an ambassador of change through storytelling. Becoming an actress synthesized her many curiosities with her passion and mission.
Annet is best known for her starring role in the 2013 TV series The Americans, where she plays the role "Nina," the beautiful and mysterious spy opposite FBI Agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich). "Annet Mahendru has been a revelation as Nina, bringing the character to life with a rich and subtle depth that keeps you guessing as to what's really percolating under the surface," said Executive Producers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields.
In 2014 Annet received a Critic’s Choice Nomination for Supporting Actress in The Americans. She was also awarded the Showbiz India's Trailblazer award, recognizing her for an 'Emerging Leader' as a rising South Asian Female Actor in Hollywood.
Other credits include The Following, 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly, Grey’s Anatomy, Big Time Rush, White Collar, and The Blacklist. Shen stars in the Sundance hit Escape From Tomorrow, plays the title role in Sally Pacholok, and appears in Bridge And Tunnel, and Love Gloria. Annet is the voice of Eva in the Penguins of Madagascar film.
In January 2016 you can watch Annet Mahendru in the X Files Revival and Season 4 of The Americans.
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