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What it takes to be an actor, entrepreneur, and world citizen

Model and actress Preity Upala has an international resume.
Model and actress Preity Upala has an international resume.
Preity Upala

Model and actress Preity Uupala has the distinction of being a truly international citizen given her heritage. She's confident and goal-oriented yet I've found her pleasant and personable. I caught up with her recently and asked her views on entrepreneurship in the entertainment field.

Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur and, if so, why?

An entrepreneur to me, is one that has very specific skills and attributes that drives them. They possess an eagerness to try new things, a passion for success, a willingness to take risks and of course to break the rules when necessary.

I absolutely consider myself as an entrepreneur. I have always been my own boss, worked for myself and was extremely self- motivated and ambitious individual. I have never been interested in a 9-to-5 job but in following my passion and succeeding at it. Ultimately I want to create a legacy and affect the world at large. So just a normal career has never been appealing to me.

I used to be an investment banker and a business consultant in a previous life, so the mind set and skills have never left it. In fact I feel like it gives me an edge as I immediately look at the movie business from another perspective, one that most other actors are not looking at. That’s why I feel like even as an actor, I’m an entrepreneur at heart, still doing the same things I was doing before just the flavor has changed a bit.

Risk to me has also been very attractive, as I realize that great reward lies on the other side. I’m always trying to think outside the box and to try and break the stereotypes that are present in Hollywood.

Why is the field of entertainment important to you and how would you describe your goals?

My “Dharma” or life mission is to inspire and empower people through my work and presence. Hollywood to me is platform where I can ultimately fulfill this purpose. I feel that media and entertainment industry is such a powerful medium and has such a huge effect on the world at large. I have always felt very close to this industry as it stimulates my creative and artistic faculties but also the place where I can have the maximum social impact.

So I feel I’m in the right industry at the right time to fulfill my dreams to effect people. I try to operate around Hollywood once step at a time, always having the larger goal in sight. My goal at present is to launch myself in Hollywood TV and film one project at a time.

How long have you been in Los Angeles and what were some of the obstacles you had to overcome as you established yourself?

I arrived in LA 3 years ago winning an acting and film scholarship (that I did not even really apply for). Its is a long enough period for m, as I immerse myself in the new place and culture and got to know a lot of people in a very short amount of time. I also travelled a lot internationally for work even though I was based in LA, so it has been very eventful and fulfilling to say the least.

Like everyone I had my fair share of obstacles. I moved here not knowing ANYONE at all and decided to do everything all on my own. So there was a fair amount of trial and error for me. I had to maneuver my way around the labyrinth that is Hollywood to get to the pot of gold on the other side. This is quite challenging as you have to filter through so many people and projects to find out what is real and what is not.

The biggest obstacle for me also comes in the way of casting, when there are fewer parts written for someone like you. So you have to be creative and think of different ways to get good projects. There are of course a lot of jaded actors out here who have for whatever reason, not succeeded and it’s always important to be positive and only hope for the best.

Patience is a real virtue in this industry and it has certainly taught me to be more patient with myself and my journey. You never know when things will pop and you have to be around to enjoy the fruit.

What advice would you pass on to someone looking to establish an artistic career in LA (acting, producing, music, modeling, etc)?

  • Be yourself- always be authentic, as so few people actually are in this town and it is very easy to tell the difference.
  • Be kind- be nice to everyone as it’s a very very small world and you never know who is going to be involved in your future projects. Its does not cost anything to be nice and the return is often priceless. Plus it’s just good karma anyway!
  • Be realistic- this is one of the toughest industries to really break into as there are so many variables involved that are out of your control. Don’t go too hard on yourself if you don’t “make it” in the level that you desire as it’s not dependent on talent or desire alone. If it was, every dreamer or top drama school student would be a movie star- but in reality, that is not that case at all.
  • Be prepared- in every way. Your break could be around the corner and you have to place yourself in a position where you can seize the chance. You want to prepare not just with your craft but also mind set and attitude. For international actors, I would strongly suggest, think about your financial situation and make sure if you enough savings when you get to LA as there to manage the lean times.
  • Be grateful- have gratitude in your heart for your situation in life and also for where you are in your career. Be thankful for all the projects that come your way and people that take an interest in you and your goals.
  • Be humble- have humility when you do make it, as we all live in a bubble here in LA and there is an actual “real” world out there.

Visit Preity's IMDB site for her full career details.

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