Actress Tehmina Sunny has played a variety of characters so far in her career: an ultramodern underground gang member in Children of Men; a deeply hurt character whose life is portrayed over a number of years in The Ground Beneath Her Feet; a quickwitted New York TV reporter whose world shatters over the course of one night in Elevator; and various characters in popular shows like NCIS, Heroes, Californication and Undercover, all due to her ability to pull off multiple accents. Her charm and good looks also add to the package that makes her such a well-rounded actress. She’s had a successful acting debut and continues to grace the screens with her incredible talent.
Sunny grew up in the suburbs of London, England, after her parents made the move from India. At the young age of 10, Sunny’s passion for the arts was already thriving, and by the time she was 15, she received a scholarship for playing the violin, viola and piano. “At school, the arts were pushed and that’s where my passion for music and drama were created,” said Sunny. She was also a finalist for the BBC’s nationwide search for acting talent, despite having no previous training. From then on, Sunny frequently performed in school productions with her newly discovered talent.
However, as she grew older, Sunny decided to focus on a steadier career and studied business information systems at the University of Leeds. “I always thought it was important to have a degree to fall back on if things didn’t work out with my aspirations for the arts.” She specialized in artificial intelligence and computer science, and received her Bachelor of Science degree with honours.
Although Sunny now has a degree in the sciences – and a cool one at that – she has decided to pursue her passion for the arts. “I was pursuing my love for music and I never imagined I would go into acting. I thought, why not. I have never looked back. I love acting.”
Sunny has worked alongside Josh Hartnett in Singularity, which she describes as “an epic, sweeping and riveting tale of an impossible love set across two time period and continents.” She plays Sonubai, an attractive, power-hungry character with cruel intentions. She is currently working on Ben Affleck’s Argos where she plays a Swiss Air stewardess. “I’ve admired Ben’s work as an actor and director for years. He was great to work with. I hope I get to work with him again in the future.”
Sunny has left London and now resides in Los Angeles. “Making the move out to the States was a big challenge. I am so close to my family that leaving them all in England was very tough for me.” She considers her family to be her main support system. Although this gifted actress has earned national and international acclaim, her acting career isn’t all fame and glamour. “This industry is full of challenges and uphill struggles. There are days where I have to take the beat and understand that it’ll all work out the way it’s supposed to. There is always the obvious [worry] will I work again?”
So what’s next for the actress? “I start filming a project in Israel called Amazing Love. I play a biblical character.” Any chance this Indian beauty would give Bollywood a shot? “I do see myself starring in a Bollywood film. Saying that, I definitely have to polish up on my Hindi.”
You can check out Sunny’s website at www.tehminasunny.com
BY PRIYANKA JAIN / PUBLISHED IN THE BEAUTY ISSUE/ SPRING 2012
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF RUSS ELLOWAY