Melinda Shankar (born February 18, 1992) is a Canadian actress of Indo-Guyanese heritage. She is best known for her starring roles as Alli Bhandari in the long-running TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation and as Indira "Indie" Mehta in the YTV series How To Be Indie, for which she won several awards, including a Canadian Screen Award in 2013.

Early life

Shankar was born in Ottawa to Canadian parents of Indo-Guyanese descent who immigrated to Canada.[9] She has two older sisters and a brother, who is also an actor. She was raised in Orleans, a suburban section of Ottawa.

She began studying ballet and karate at the age of three. Shankar currently has a black belt in karate.[10] She attended Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School in Ottawa until grade 11 before moving to Toronto following her casting in Degrassi in 2008.[12]

Career

As an actress

Shankar began her career as a child model and appeared in numerous print advertisements, including a Procter & Gamble billboard in Los Angeles. Shankar's mother was an actress and her paternal grandfather was a director in Guyana. Shankar's father would often drive up to five hours from Ottawa to Toronto for her auditions.[13][14] In 2008, she debuted as an actress in the popular teen television series Degrassi, joining the cast as an incoming 9th grade student.[15] Shankar left the show in 2015, after seven seasons.

In 2009, she starred in a television series on YTV called How To Be Indie. She played the lead role of Indira for two seasons. The series aired its final episode on October 24, 2011 on YTV in Canada and May 26, 2012 on Disney Channel in the United Kingdom. For her role, Shankar won a Gemini Award in 2011 and a Canadian Screen Award in 2013.[16]

Shankar was cast in her first feature film, Festival of Lights in 2010. The movie was filmed on location in New York City and Georgetown, Guyana. Her father served as production manager for the film due to his familiarity with the locations in Guyana.[13][14]

Other work

In 2013, Shankar and a longtime childhood friend began working on an image consulting business.[17]

On February 22, 2014, Shankar launched Miss Conception, a professional styling and image agency based in Toronto.[18]

Personal life

In 2008, Shankar and her family moved to Toronto when she was cast in Degrassi. She currently resides in North York, a district in Toronto.[20]

Filmography

YearTitleRoleNotes
2008–2015Degrassi: The Next GenerationAllia "Alli" BhandariMain cast; 162 episodes
2009–11How To Be IndieIndira "Indie" MehtaLead role; 52 episodes
2010Harriet the Spy: Blog WarsJanie GibbsTV movie
2010Festival of LightsReshmaLead role
2010TriggerRocker Chick #1TV movie
2013AliveKaitlynTV movie
2017Filth CityMonicaFeature Film
2017Darker Than NightMikan/a
2017Slasher: Guilty PartyTalvinder "Tal" GillMain cast