Family Karma stars, Monica Vaswani and Vishal Parvani, took some time from their busy schedules to talk with Monsters and Critics in an exclusive interview.
The two Bravo TV stars shared their desire to, as Vishal expressed it, “showcase my beautiful culture.”
Parvani also recalled wishing during his childhood that more “on-screen diversity” existed and revealed whether the show fulfilled his hopes to achieve that goal.
Family Karma star Vishal: ‘Representation matters for so many reasons’
Vishal graduated from Florida International University in 2008. He worked in Hong Kong for a year prior to moving to Los Angeles, California, to pursue acting.
Following three years in California, Parvani returned to Miami to help expand his family’s commercial real estate business (Parvani Commercial Group), focusing on sales and leasing.
The 33-year-old accepted the opportunity to star on Family Karma because he wanted to share his culture.
“I wish that there was more on-screen diversity during my childhood. Seeing any minority group on the screen impacts how others view that group as well as how we view ourselves,” Vishal said.
“This is why I wanted to open up my life; because representation matters for so many reasons.”
In showing Indian Americans in a new way, Parvania hopes to “break whatever preconceived notions people may have had about Indian Americans, due to lack of information.”
The Family Karma stars invited the cameras to film their daily lives, and the results have been positive, according to Vishal.
“I didn’t know what to expect before filming started, because we are inviting cameras to film our day to day lives,” he admitted. “However, I’m truly happy that the show is being well received from our own community and beyond, and I believe we are achieving what I had expected from the show.”
Vishal Parvani shares his hopes for Family Karma
Vishal hopes that Family Karma will “demonstrate the fact that there are many similarities among different nationalities and cultures, and that many viewers will be able to relate to these aspects within their own families.
“Viewers will also learn about our many different traditions, from Diwali Pujas to what is involved in a Roka ceremony. And these differences should be always be recognized and celebrated.”
Looking back at the process to get family and friends on board the idea of exposing their lives on TV, the Family Karma star admitted that “it took some convincing.”
“We tend to be a very private community,” explained Parvani. “It’s not common for us to discuss any problems regarding our lives outside the confines of our home.
“Even throughout the process, it was difficult for us to come out and discuss all our personal issues. We’ve been raised to care a lot about how the Indian community thinks of us.”
But with the cameras always present, they all became adjusted to living their lives while being filmed.
Most recently, after adjusting to having cameras around, the Family Karma cast experienced challenges due to the shelter in place requirements.
“It’s been tough, as it has been with everyone else,” said Vishal. “You have to develop new routines to keep yourself motivated and happy.”
For example, Parvani has been working out at home each day and enjoying “zoom happy hours,” which also helps keep us sane.
Family Karma star Monica: ‘Our very tight-knit group of friends made us a perfect fit for Bravo TV’
Monica Vaswani, 28, was born in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands but raised in South Florida.
After studying organizational communication at Florida International University, Vaswani has been working as an HR software specialist.
“My passion is teaching different genres of Indian dance,” revealed Monica.
Vaswani considers herself “very lucky to be given the opportunity and platform to showcase our culture and traditions within the Indian community in South Florida” on Family Karma.
“We’ve had a very tight-knit group of friends for generations, which made us a perfect fit for what Bravo was looking to share,” she added.
“It’s been such a fun journey so far and can’t wait for you guys to watch the whole season!”
Monica set a goal of sharing her life with the audience.
“It was very important for me to remain myself throughout the process,” clarified the Family Karma star. “I wanted people to see what I’m like on my day to day routine.”
In addition to sharing her life on a personal level, Vaswani hoped that the Family Karma audience would understand the “wholesome community with values and traditions that are being passed down to us from not only our parents who live with us but even our grandparents.”
Reflecting on her culture and community, Monica described them as “progressive yet conservative in many ways, and that balance is what helps us preserve and blend our culture in many ways.”
Family Karma has “not really changed” her life or the lives of her family and friends, added the Bravo TV star.
“I honestly just felt like I got to spend more quality time with my friends and their parents. We’ve been having hangouts like this since we were kids practicing our Diwali dances,” she added.
Bringing the production crew “in on our madness” added to the joy, said Monica.
“We got so much joy off of making them try Indian food and dancing to Indian music with us. It was such a fun experience,” she said. “They really became a part of our family.”
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented “shelter in place” situation. Monica gave Monsters and Critics an inside look at what life has been like in quarantine with her family.
“It’s been a little stuffy the last few days, but honestly, I’ve enjoyed quarantine a lot,” she said. “I love being a homebody so I’ve really had time to relax and spend quality time with my family.
“We’ve been binge-watching our favorite shows, making really cool things to eat every lunch or dinner, playing cards, making TikTok’s, taking walks…I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this time with each other.”