Manisha Dass is hardly your typical newfound celebrity.
She appeared on Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking, a hugely popular show that aimed to help couples connect and find love.
In September of 2018, my cousin who is also one of my best friends came across a casting call post on Instagram for Indian Matchmaking. He managed to pretty easily convince me to send in an application – given that we had basically tried everything to find me a partner, but this. We had nothing to lose, and possibly everything to gain. Due to a lot of personal grief and loss I had gone through earlier that year, I was seeking change and positivity. We created my first ever biodata and this was followed by several interviews with the show’s production team. In April of 2019, I was informed that I was selected for the show. I met with Sima Taparia from Mumbai (the matchmaker) via FaceTime, and before I knew it was flying to Austin to meet my match.”
“I went on the show hoping to find love and get married. When I started this journey, I had no idea the whirlwind I was in store for. The show has received so much attention and love globally. And in the process, I have learned so much about myself. I am more familiar with my heart’s compass and the direction in which I want to go. I’ve gotten to do so much introspection and learn that while getting married and finding love is great – finding love with the right person and getting married to the right person is really what I’m after.”
While Manisha and her match ultimately decided to just stay friends, she learned a great amount about herself, and what she could offer the world, in the course of making the show.
For example, part of Manisha’s broader vision is to use her experience on the show, and her long-held convictions, to help dismantle and re-create long-held expectations in the South Asian world around marriage, love, and relationships. In certain cultural contexts, it’s easy to assume that if a woman is not married by her early 20s, love and marriage simply isn’t in the cards for her life. But this could not be further from the truth! As a millennial helping to blaze trails and change perspectives, Manisha is showing that love and marriage are part of human life at any point, not just in one’s early adulthood.
She explains to WUNC in North Carolina (her home state), “Change really is only going to happen if we can talk about the issues, and it’s nice to see that this show has, you know, kind of sparked a lot of these conversations. For so long, it’s been easier to kind of brush it under the carpet as a cultural sort of habit and not really talk about it, and it’s really great to see that people are coming forward and having conversations about it.”
Being a celebrity is hardly the full picture of who Manisha is. She holds two Master’s degrees and works in the public health sector, blending humanism and science to help improve each of the life’s she comes across. She regularly volunteers, tutoring Spanish to high-schoolers and also works with the homeless and refugee communities in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, where she currently resides. As a rising millennial, her future is genuinely unlimited.
Here are a few ways to get connected to Manisha: