Priyasasha Kumari Talks Waterloo Road and Success With Bronia Buchanan’s BBA Management

Priyasasha Kumari Talks Waterloo Road and Success With Bronia Buchanan’s BBA Management

Actress Priyasasha Kumari is best known for playing Samia Choudhry in BBC One’s Waterloo Road. Since making her debut on the popular television show in 2023, Priyasasha has become a household name in British television drama.

Priyasasha a client of BBA Management, Bronia Buchanan’s talent agency. Based in London, BBA Management represents outstanding creatives in the television, film, and theatre space.

Priyasasha has opened up about her journey to become the actress she is today, how Bronia Buchanan’s BBA Management helped her land a role on Waterloo Road, and what life is like on set.

Priyasasha On Becoming the Actress She Is Today

Priyasasha can identify the moment she first knew she wanted to be an actress: “When I was eight years old, I was Tinker Bell in the school play in primary school… I was always that chatterbox kid and… I just knew that once I played Tinker Bell, that was it. This is what I was meant to do. I was meant to be on stage.”

After playing Tinker Bell, Priyasasha pursued performing arts. She studied the subject at GCSE and college before securing a place on the Contemporary Theatre Performance course at Manchester Metropolitan University.

“It was completely different because it wasn’t acting… [I] was creating theatre, so [I] got to be a practitioner. I had my director hat on for three years. But it was good because I still got to perform… It just had a different intention to straight acting.”

Priyasasha’s Early Acting Career

Having completed her contemporary theatre degree, Priyasasha balanced full-time work with supporting the Central Youth Theatre in Wolverhampton, where she directed the junior group.

“[Central Youth Theatre is] amazing. I’ll always shout them out because I was a member before I became a director with them, I was in the active community, I had a lot of active friends and… we were just all trying to help each other.”

Eventually, Priyasasha secured an agent. From here, one of the first TV roles she landed was on Doctors: “I was like, … ‘This is it… I’m going to be an actor.’ But then you quickly realise… the reality of it is that you book a job and then sometimes you don’t have a job for a year… Sometimes it’s quite difficult and you always have to have stability, like a plan b.”

Joining Bronia Buchanan’s BBA Management

When searching for a new agent in 2019, Priyasasha turned to the Actor Playbook, which includes the details of top agencies. She found BBA Management in this directory. After exchanging emails, BBA, headed by talent agent Bronia Buchanan, invited Priyasasha to a meeting.

“I went up to London and on that same day [BBA Management] wanted to sign me. So it was really great.”

Priyasasha recalls that during the meeting, BBA Management asked her what she wanted as an actor: “I think that’s a really big question… For me, acting is about telling stories. It doesn’t matter which way you do that as long as you’re doing the thing you love the most.”

Representing South Asian women is important to Priyasasha: “I wanted an agency who would be on board with that and who would not just have me as a token client but also understand [the] career journey that I want to be on.”

Bronia Buchanan and BBA Management’s Support During Covid-19

Priyasasha joined BBA Management shortly before the first Covid-19 lockdown. As the entertainment industry began to decelerate, she worried the agency might need to drop clients: “During that time, a lot of actors were being dropped by agencies, which was really sad… Everything was on standstill.”

However, Priyasasha felt reassured by Bronia Buchanan and BBA Management’s support: “We had weekly calls as an agency. Everyone would get together and it was optional and it was great.”

Under BBA Management’s guidance, Priyasasha continued to audition via self tapes: “I felt so lucky because there were so many people in the industry [who weren’t] receiving anything… I’m really grateful for the way that [BBA Management] kept us going through lockdown.”

“Once we all came out and everything was starting to pick up it was great. I think they are the best agency.”

How BBA Management Responded to Black Lives Matter

Priyasasha notes that Bronia Buchanan and BBA Management also supported actors in response to the Black Lives Matter movement: “They… made sure that their clients of colour were listened to… I think that’s really important as an agency, that you understand your clients.”

“You don’t just have clients so you can book them jobs. You understand who they are as people and what they want and where they come from. That… resonated with me and I really admire that about [BBA Management] as an agency.”

How BBA Management Helps Priyasasha Manage Her Career

BBA Management uses the talent agency platform Tagmin to streamline communications with actors. The platform enables actors to upload their self tapes and update calendars so the BBA team can stay up to date with everyone’s schedules.

BBA Management is also active in actors’ day-to-day challenges. For example, when Priyasasha received a script to learn within a day, BBA encouraged the rescheduling of the filming to allow her time to learn the lines.

“I think that’s so thoughtful. They think of our needs so we can keep up with the demand. They manage our careers very well.”

Priyasasha works closely with Gails Smith, one of BBA’s senior agents, who she has developed a “telepathic bond” with: “I’ll call Gails whenever I need to ask her about anything. At the beginning of the year, we spoke about my career goals, where I wanted to go, and what types of auditions and self tapes I wanted to go up for. It’s great… She really gets me. She knows what I want.”

Behind The Scenes of Waterloo Road With Priyasasha

How BBA Management Helped Priyasasha Land the Waterloo Road Role

When Priyasasha saw an open casting for Waterloo Road on Twitter, she made a mental note to email her agent Gails. But she was on tour performing The Cat and the Canary at the time and forgot to send the email.

“Then I had an email from [Gails] saying, ‘We’ve got a lovely self tape for you, Priyasasha. It’s for Waterloo Road…’”

Priyasasha completed her self tape in her dressing room between shows. A week later, she had a recall, which was also a self tape. Then she had the final chemistry read in Manchester.

Priyasasha’s Waterloo Road Audition

Priyasasha’s audition didn’t go as planned. During the audition, her scene partner had an anxiety attack. Priyasasha stepped in to resolve the situation: “I just instinctively [asked the casting directors], ‘Do you mind if we… take a minute?”

“I took [my scene partner] into the other room and I was like, ‘Do you want to take a breather? … In that moment, I didn’t really think about what I was doing… I just wanted to make sure that she was okay.”

When Priyasasha returned to complete the audition, she didn’t end up completing all the scenes she had prepared for: “I thought the audition went well, but it didn’t go the way that it could have gone.”

“Two days later, Gails [called] me and [said], ‘I’m so pleased to tell you.’ At that time, I was working for Aldi… So I’d just finished a 10-hour shift and I was in the car park when she called me.”

Becoming Samia Choudhry

When Priyasasha read the Waterloo Road script for her first self tape, she saw “a little bit of younger Priyasasha” in Samia’s character: “She’s like my little project, my little baby.”

To get into character, the Waterloo Road cast enjoyed a hot seat workshop: “That was the first time that we fully embodied our characters before we’d even had scripts to work with. The workshops are really fun. We created friendships which showed on screen. When you’re on a show like Waterloo Road, you want to know that your relationships and friendships are genuine, and it works.”

“As we got into the workshopping for the first weeks of filming, I really got to look into [Samia’s] character. She’s a girl [who] represents a lot of young girls today. She has a voice of her own and she has ambition.”

“I really enjoyed creating this character and making her so relatable. I think there [are] so many girls out there who are in relationships or who are having problems with their best friends. There [are] so many different things that [Samia] represents. It’s not just about herself. It’s about friendship, it’s about love, it’s about work, it’s about school.”

Life On Set

Priyasasha explains that rather than preparing ahead of time for a scene, she prefers to “wait for the block and the read through.” She explains that once on set, “a director could just tell [me] to do something completely different.”

“I enjoy working in the moment. I never like to pre-empt what I’ll be doing as an actor because that doesn’t make your performance real. We should always find the truth when we’re performing. In finding the truth in a scene, that’s when you get real performance from actors… It shows on the screen when someone is acting instead of reacting.”

That’s not to say there isn’t any preparation involved, though. When Priyasasha receives a script, she knows that she may end up shooting scenes in a non-chronological order. To keep track of her character’s situation and changing emotions, she creates charts that pinpoint her character’s emotions at any given point.

“You always have to know… where your character’s been or what they’re going to do… It’s like an organised mess in your head.”

Priyasasha’s Most Exciting Aspect of Acting

Priyasasha considers character development the most exciting aspect of acting: “It’s about wanting to become many different personalities. It’s so exciting to explore a different character, different habits, different physicalities, a different way of thinking just for a moment in time.”

“There [are] so many stories to tell and so many people who want to share stories or watch these stories… The most important thing about acting for me is someone relating or resonating with the story that you tell.”

Priyasasha’s Advice for Actors Who Are Starting Out

Priyasasha shares three tips for young actors who would like to launch their careers.

1. Do Your Research

“Research is always the first thing you should do. Whether it’s to create an IMDB account, look up casting directors, […] producers, directors you want to work with, [or] who [represents] actors.” This kind of research can give you “an idea of the types of casting directors that cast particular genres of TV shows or movies.”

“That’s what I found really helpful and useful during the start of my career. Even now, I always IMDB everybody… I want to know who created [the show or film]. I want to know who cast it.”

2. Consume Acting Material

“If you write, carry on writing monologues. Maybe learn a few monologues. Read a lot of theatre. It’s good for you. Watch a lot of TV. It’s good for you.”

“When I watch a show, I see the cinematography. I see the actor. I see the lighting. I see so many different aspects of a show now. I don’t think I can just sit there and watch a show normally.”

3. Believe In Yourself

“You are the only person [who] can make it happen. It’s down to you to put all the work in. Ask yourself, are you doing enough? It’s definitely down to you to put the work in and you’ll see the reward.”

Priyasasha’s Career Plans

Looking forward, Priyasasha hopes to “tell lots of stories. I want to create versatile characters. I think the more range you have as an actor, the more exciting it is and I can’t wait to explore that.”

“What I really would like, is to be cast in a fantasy or a sci-fi. I would love to be a fairy or a witch or someone out there with lots of superpowers. I love watching series like that. So it’d be amazing to perform in one of those.”

About Bronia Buchanan and BBA Management

Bronia Buchanan is BBA Management’s founder and senior agent. A prominent name in the talent industry, Bronia Buchanan has a background in theatre production and now supports the talented actors and creatives on BBA’s books. Many of these actors are women. It’s no surprise, then, that Priyasasha has highlighted “the female empowerment in the office” as her favourite thing about BBA Management.

“I think it’s amazing… [BBA Management] really understands you. They listen to you as a client. That’s the most important thing. It’s a teamwork relationship. It’s not just, ‘I work for you and you work for me.’”

“They really care. When it’s an HR situation, they’ll always have your back and they support you at anything. If you ever have a problem on set, they’re like, ‘You can come to us at any time.’ The relationship that they build is very important.”

“I’m very grateful for the opportunities that BBA [has] given me thus far and I’m excited for the future. I think we have a great relationship working together and it’s going to be good. I can feel it.”

Learn more about Bronia Buchanan and BBA Management.

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