It was recommended by a friend that I speak with Natasha Chandel – the funny, outspoken, and sassy Managing Editor of Programming at Maker Studios (Maker TV). He noted that Natasha is a #TDot native who is super creative, and currently develops cutting edge online programming.
He sold me on his suggestion and I decided to reach out to Natasha.
Our phone interview took place while Natasha was stuck in hellish LA traffic. I would be freaking out by the traffic, but Natasha remained calm, cool and collected while we chatted for 31 minutes and 38 seconds. In that time, I learned that Natasha has been writing and performing for television for some time now, and she currently entertains us by injecting some much needed diversity in her content as a Managing Editor of Programming.
She sounds interesting, no? Keep reading to find out how this girl from #the6 is doing big things.
Hometown: Mississauga, ON
Currently residing: Los Angeles
Astrological Sign: Gemini
What do you miss about Toronto?: Everything! My family, my friends, Caribbean food, multiculturalism, the politeness and the niceness of everyone
Must-see shows on Maker TV: “Epic Rap Battles of History”, “The Fashion Statement”, “Ithmamar Has Nothing To Say” and anything PewDiePie. You can find them on www.maker.tv
How did your first job in the entertainment biz prepare you for the industry?
My first job was when I was 16 years old and I worked at Rogers Television. I was a teleprompter. Within a month, I was moved up to camera, then I became a floor director, then a news reporter.
That job prepared me for everything cuz I literally got thrown into live television. I started writing for Rogers Television at 17 as a reporter, and then became an Associate Producer by 18. That first gig prepared me for exactly what television is about – that it is constantly changing…and shit happens. At Rogers you had to be able to do everything. It’s prepared me for everything else I had to face.
You also worked at MTV. What was that experience like?
It was great! I was a producer/writer. I loved the content. I’ve always been into entertainment, pop culture, and music. To report and break some of the biggest news in the entertainment world is kinda cool. I was one of the first people to break the news that Kim Kardashian was pregnant with Kanye’s baby.
How did you get the job?
I interned for VH1 News in my 3rd year of Ryerson University. At that point, I worked at all the major networks in Canada: Rogers, CBC, CITY, so it made sense to do something in the States, so I applied and got my internship at MTV News.
When I finished school, I moved to New York…I saw a posting, I wasn’t sure if I was a good fit – it was for a Digital Associate Producer. I had a comedy web series that I started 6 months before this role for Digital Producer came up. I wasn’t sure if I could be a Digital Producer.
I reached out to the Hiring Manager – she told me to send my resume. And after a few meetings, I thankfully got the gig!
WEB SERIES CREATOR
What inspired your web series Mumbai Chopra?
I was auditioning for an ABC show called “Young Hollywood” and we had to come up with a character based on a Hollywood archetype, so I picked the Socialite. I wanted it to be believable…. I wanted her to be the “Indian Paris Hilton”. I thought, “who’s the most famous Indian person known in America?” I thought of Deepak Chopra! How funny would it be if Dr. Chopra had a materialistic daughter!
LEADING A TEAM AT MAKER STUDIOS
What is Maker Studios?
It is the largest multi-platform network and the largest creator of YouTube content in the world. We create original series and programming and have over 10 billion views a month on all our channels.
How is your role as Managing Editor of Programming different from anything else you’ve done?
In the past I was the producer executing a lot of ideas, now it’s more strategy and working with talented folks who make those ideas come to life.
Is diversity the focus of your writing?
Absolutely. I don’t purposely write “ethnic stories.” If you look at Mumbai Chopra – it’s not necessarily an ethnic story, it’s an American story, but the character happens to be Indian.
Sounds like you have a hand in shaping the way people think.
That’s one of the reasons why I moved a little bit away from acting, and moved into the producing/writing because I would rather be more in control of what that future voice could be. I definitely want us to be represented more.
Do you see a shift with regards to diversity in entertainment?
I think some of the creators and writers like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler get it. They have characters on their shows that happen to be whatever. For example, on Parks and Recreation, you have Aziz Ansari and he’s not just an Indian character, he’s this amazing character that just happens to be Indian. That’s how it should be, not like you are filling an ethnic quota.
What are some other projects you’re working on?
I’m launching a new YouTube channel – LilBrownNinja. It’s more me…it’s Natasha. It’s exactly who I am and what I want to be talking about. It’s me talking about dating life in my funny, sassy, real kinda of way. I’m also pitching a podcast.
Wow, I see why we had to do the interview while she was driving home – she’s a very busy lady!
Totally enjoyed connecting with Natasha and having her share her story. It’s so cool to know that she started out as a teleprompter at Rogers Television, and now creates diverse content for a very appreciative audience. Good job, Natasha! Thanks for talking with me.
To find out more about Natasha, please visit the following sites:
Maker TV: www.maker.tv