The Vancouver actress talks to CanIndia News about her first lead role in Global’s coming-of-age medical drama series ‘Nurses’ and why she took the job.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Sandy Sidhu found her passion for performing at the young age of 14, entering acting through plays, including a production of ‘West Side Story’. After landing several leading roles in other theatrical shows, Sandy felt an undeniable call to the world of showbiz. Her big break came when she was got the role as Priya on the award-winning hit television series Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) playing the love interest of Jackson Avery portrayed by Jesse Williams. However, Global’s new medical drama series gave her the first lead role.
‘Nurses’ follows five young nurses working on the frontlines of a busy downtown Toronto hospital, dedicating their lives to helping others, while struggling to help themselves. Sandy’s character Nazneen Khan left India to start a new life and her first job (ever) is a nurse in Canada. She comes from a very wealthy family.
Here are excerpts of an interview in which she explains what the project means to her.
Tell us about your latest project ‘Nurses’. ‘Nurses’ is a 10 episode, one hour character driven medical drama featuring a Canadian ensemble cast. It’s even set in Toronto, which I love. It’s really a coming of age series following five rookie nurses, fresh out of school, working the frontlines of a busy downtown Toronto hospital, dedicating their lives to helping others, while also struggling really to help themselves. One of the things that makes this show special and exciting, is witnessing this inextricable bond that forms between our five nurses. I play Nazneen Khan. When the audience first meets her, you discover she’s whip-smart, the daughter of a wealthy family in India who has moved to Canada to reinvent herself and starts her first job ever. The big question is why? Why does she transplant herself to a totally new environment where no one knows who she is? And why a nurse? When she comes from so much wealth and privilege? This slowly unravels as the season progresses.
What made you take up the role of Nazneen?
Having a mother who immigrated from India to Canada and became a nurse and then finding out that your first leading role is playing a character who comes from India and becomes a nurse; that’s not something that happens too often. When I found out I booked the job, I could hardly believe it. So, I knew that I had to look after my character, Nazneen, and give it my best. I wanted to respect her and give her a full authentic life, as best as I knew how at that moment in my life. It’s a privilege to be a part of a narrative that honours all nurses.
How do you feel about your first lead role?
It’s amazing. It’s the moment of realizing that dreams can work out. Growing up, I never saw examples of myself on TV. It created a lot of doubt and confusion in me. Slowly over time, I realized my heart was in it for the right reasons. Then I realized that your heart is enough of a reason for going for it. I never knew if it was going to work out, but now that it has, it’s just truly amazing.
Tell us a little about your journey from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to ‘Nurses’.
Booking ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ was definitely the job that broke me into the industry. Everything really changed after that. I was able to get into bigger rooms on a more regular basis. So, thank you to Krista Vernoff, the showrunner of Grey’s Anatomy, for her belief in me. ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ hired me for a one episode guest star to play Jesse William’s girlfriend, Priya, who was also a humanitarian lawyer. The role was fantastic. After that, I started to book jobs more steadily. ‘Nurses’ was a self tape request from casting. I put it the audition on camera and a few weeks later I found out that they didn’t need to screen-test me. They just hired me off the tape. So, thank you to Global, the producers of Nurses, and our creator and showrunner Adam Pettle for this dream job.
I’ll be in a couple episodes of Apple TV’s upcoming series ‘Home Before Dark’ as Meena Roy. The new mystery drama series is about a young girl who moves from Brooklyn to the small lakeside town her father left behind. The show will premiere this year. Look out for it! You can also follow me on social media at @sandysid. -CINEWS