At the age of 23, Kiran Rai has an accolade of titles behind his name including actor, model and fashionista. He epitomises determination after standing outside Waterloo Station and begging for money to fund a film production and pursuing his dreams.
Kiran attended one of the top drama schools in the country, Arts Ed, and was in Sri Lanka when he was approached by a film director.
He was then cast as the lead role but was told to pay for the production. Thus, Kiran stood outside Waterloo Station, London, and begged for money; managing to raise £15,000.
However, I probed Kiran about how the money is going to be used now that he is no longer part of the film in Sri Lanka due to them asking him for more and more money.
Kiran explained that because the production company kept increasing the amount of money for the film ‘Parachute’, he pulled out and decided he was being messed around. He is going to use the money he raised on the streets for his education.
Not only is he an actor, but a script-writer! Kiran wrote his own play which he took to New York and begged for it to be commissioned on Broadway. The play was about his life and he played 24 different characters in the play.
When he returned to London, he began his own chat show on radio and then took this show to TV. But it was not just TV in the UK, he also managed to air a series on Argentina’s largest TV channel.
It all sounds very risky with a lot of begging involved! I wanted to know how he would encourage parents to support their children wanting to go into this profession. Kiran explained that it takes hard work as nothing he has achieved was given to him. You have to be ready for the industry.
Kiran also explained how he allows hate to drive him. He described his haters as the reason for staying motivated so that he could prove them wrong and show that he can achieve his dreams.
I also wanted to know how he is so confident and advice he could give to others. He explained that it’s all about self-belief. You have to believe in yourself to be confident and the best way to do that is to be yourself. ‘Be who you are’.
As an artist, Kiran is clearly versatile and dynamic having partaken in various mediums and projects. Although many people advise that you focus on one aspect and area and progress in that, Kiran is making his mark and proving you can be good at more than one thing!
For me, the best piece of advice Kiran gave was to be yourself. It is so important because in today’s day and age it is easy to become lost in the image that social media or society have created as a ‘norm’. It is also easy to become swept up in the wave of ‘celebrity’ if you are part of the industry. But by knowing and understanding yourself first, before entering the industry, it is easier to be yourself and stay true to who you are because you have become familiar and acquainted with You.
Become your own friend first. Love who you are. And then love the work that you do as that is the only way you will be passionate about it.