Shanti Lowry Talks Background, Bronx SIU and More! (EXCLUSIVE) Check it out here--->>>
We are continuing to highlight the cast and crew of the hit show Bronx SIU. Bronx SIU is our first show we are featuring in our #Don'tSleepOnDigital Series. Our first interview was with the, dynamic duo, Dan Garcia Creator/Producer and Mike Mayhall Writer/Director of the show. If you missed it check it out here.
Our next feature in the series is Shanti Lowry who stars in the show. What a treat to talk to Shanti! She's such a delight!
Shanti is multi-talented; singer, actor, dancer, painter, in a word Shanti is an artist. She has worked in TV (The Game, Family Time, Two and Half Men, The Closer) and in film (Charles Angles: Full Throttle, D.E.B.S.) She started her professional career as a professional dancer; salsa, hip hop and pointe. What you might not know is Shanti has also written, produced and directed. An artist who does it all.
Shanti was born in Boulder, CO. She is from humble beginnings, a single mom family. Their family "struggled alot." Their family struggles were limited to fiscal struggles because after speaking to Shanti it was crystal clear that while growing up she was rich in every way that really mattered. Her family, imparticularly her mom, gave Shanti a firm foundation in Education and in the Arts. "My Mom was a teacher. Education was always important to her and she believed the Arts was a vital part of an education. At a very early age, she put me in acting, singing and dancing classes. I also love to paint. I feel like gardening is an art form. She cultivated my love for all Arts that still persist. She instilled that in me at a very young age."
Shanti was paying close attention and absorbing all that her mom was imparting to her. At the age of eleven, she was equipped and prepared to take her own first step toward the successful career she enjoys today. Shanti's first step is one of those feel good stories we can never get enough of. Her mom loves this story (we do too). Shanti's mom, this one is for you. " I was eleven years old and I saw an article in the newspaper that they were looking for kids to be in a community play. I got a bus schedule and a bus pass. I stole a book of monologues from a friend's house. I don't know why I stole it when I could have asked. Laughter. I went to the audition with a Polaroid picture that I took off the wall at my house. I went in there confidently. I did my audition for Colored Girls Who Consider Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. It was a very dramatic scene. I got the part. The kicker was I had to go home and explain to my mom that I just booked a three month role in a play and I had to be there every night. You know, my mom was all about it and proud of the initiative I took. She made it work and it was a very good experience for me. I absolutely fell in love with the entire process. I loved the feeling of community. I loved talking about art, emotion and about being artistic. Those three months really shaped me."
All of Shanti's lessons and experiences primed her to make her first critical decision regarding her career. "I graduated high school early when I had just turned 17. I had a choice to make. I had an opportunity to dance at a ballet dance company in New York and I also had a chance to move to L.A. to dance commercially for videos and films. I moved to L.A. because I knew ultimately I wanted to be an actress and I thought moving to L.A. would be an easier transition."
We first met Shanti as the sassy "in your face" publicist, Dionne Taylor from The Game. Shanti does consider this her first break out role. "I probably consider Dionne my break out role mainly because that is what most people know me and recognize me from first. I definitely worked before that. That role was quite an education for me so I'm very honored that it is considered my first break out role. The show had such incredibly talented producers, writers and actors. And had wonderful fans. It was a great experience." We shared with Shanti how much we loved Dionne. It's no small feat to standout in a scene with Tasha Mack (That is "Tasha, Mack" putting up the hands for emphasis like Tasha would LOL). But Dionne did it often. Shanti calls Wendy Raquel Robinson "Queen". Yes, Ms. Robinson is! And what about the always entertaining relationship and scenes between Dionne and Melanie Barrett, enemies turned frenemies? We have one word for you, popcorn. We loved all the actors and characters and we adored The Game.
Next Shanti became immersed in the TV world. "I have always loved film. It's a different lifestyle doing film versus TV. After The Game, I did alot of TV; things like Code Black, The Closer, Family Time. We are actually about to shoot season seven and eight for Family Time which will be our final seasons."
Shanti has also put her stamp on the digital scene. She stars in the hit show Bronx SIU. Are you ready for feel good story #2? Here is how Shanti landed the role of Yolanda Rodriguez on the show. "I worked with Dan on a movie three years before Bronx SIU. He was the producer. But I was hired by the director. I didn't meet Dan until the third to the last day of filming. It was sort of a quick conversation, a hand shake and he said he really enjoyed my dailies. Maybe two years after that, I got a message from him saying that he has been writing this show and had written a part with me in mind and he wanted me to read it and see if I was interested. I was like WOW. You wrote a part for me? I read the first script and I started crying. I thought this can't be real. He wrote this part for me? You see, I'm a very petite woman. I'm not considered for bad ass strong cop FBI characters. It's something I would love to play. I studied Marshall Arts and I have three black belts. I like being physical when acting and doing stunts. But no one would give me a chance to do it. So to read this script that he had sent me not even asking me to audition but to say I saw you in this, I wrote this for you; it was really moving. "
Don't you just love stories like that?! We do. It is a reminder that we all need at some point to remind us in this life what is for you is for you. Even if you are enduring tough times or times of struggle just hold on. What's for you is out there. We have more, feel good. "Plus, because it was so early on in the process, Dan asked me for feedback and my input on what direction I saw Yolanda going in for each episode. I had alot of ownership over the development of the character. It did put pressure on me in a way to step up. If you are going to have input on where a character is going, how she acts, how she behaves and you are a part of developing the character; then you have to step up and do your work and do it well."
With all the thought that went into the creation and development of Yolanda, we wanted to know more about her. We asked Shanti for three words that best described Yolanda. Her response was; "Compassionate, self sabotaging and resilient. Yolanda has been through alot. It is revealed in season one and made more clear in season two. She was raped by her father who molested her her entire life. It is a co-dependent relationship. He molested her and now he has dementia and lives in a home. There is no one there to take care of him. She is so compassionate. The love is there. But still there is so much anger. She is troubled and definitely self sabotaging especially in her personal life. But foremost she is resilient. She is still standing and still fighting."
Yolanda sounds fascinating. We aren't the only ones who think so. Shanti was rewarded for her imagination, input and hard work when she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Digital Daytime Drama Series. Many times when you ask actors where they were or what they were doing when they found out they were nominated, some of the more common answers you get are, someone texted me/called me. I was at the gym. I was running errands or someone woke me up and told me. Shanti gave us the answer we have been dying to hear. She was looking to see if she was nominated. "Oh man, I wish I could say someone called me and told me and I was surprised. I knew the nominations were coming out and that I was in the top ten. They were going to release the list at a random time. They weren't telling people exactly when. So, I had a group of people with me and we were all clicking and refreshing our screens." Love it.
Shanti and two of her co-stars Brian White and Ameer Baraka were also nominated. Everyone at the show was happy and honored to be recognized. "We at Bronx SIU are so honored. Our mouths were on the floor when we found out we were pre-nonimated for seven Emmys. This show is our baby. We love it. We all work our butts off in every aspect of this show. And to hear that maybe just maybe it was worth it and maybe we did a good job? We were just over the moon. To end up with three nominations on a first run show is pretty spectacular. It's a beautiful thing we were nominated for Emmys because there were alot of chances taken on that first season."
There is no maybe about it. They all did a spectacular job and it paid off in spades. It had to. When a show is helmed by a dynamic duo of, Dan Garcia and Mike Mayhall, and then combined with a great cast and crew; how could it not? We asked Shanti about working with Dan and Mike. Although since we recently had the chance to speak to them we already had a pretty good idea. "It is great. Dan and Mike are geniuses no doubt but they also listen which is a rare combination. Sometimes when you are a visionary and know what you are talking about you often don't want to hear other people's opinions. And that can be detrimental. But Dan and Mike like me understand the more opinions, the more ideas, the better the product will be at the end. They come with their own brilliant ideas and then they say "what else?" They look at everybody and they listen to everybody and that's why the show is so great."
An artist is always looking for new avenues and ideas to express themselves. This artist is embarking on her newest endeavor. We could tell how proud and excited Shanti is about it. Her excitement rubbed off on us. This summer Shanti is coming out with a new clothing line, MISHA. "In the tradition of classic ballet comes the collection of clothes for your inner tomboy. It's a classic ballet line with comfortable run around in clothes made from fabric that does not wrinkle." Doesn't that make you want to order right now?
Shanti wanted to make sure to tell all of her fans that she is so grateful and thankful for their continued love and support.
Make sure you look out for MISHA coming soon!
And make sure you binge Season 2 of Bronx SIU. If you haven't seen any of it yet, binge Season 1 and Season 2!
Best of Luck Shanti!
I AM KP Smith