Aspiring Indian American actress once worked as an ice cream truck driver.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: If you’ve been to a club or a dance party with people under 30 in the past couple of months, chances are you’ve heard the song “Turn Down for What,” which has basically become the new party anthem. The track, crooned by DJ Snake and crunk rapper Lil Jon, is catchy and full of bass, and the music video is just all kinds of bizarre.
If you haven’t seen the video, check it out below. If you have, then you probably noticed that one of its stars looks desi. Well, she is. Meet Sunita Mani, a comedienne, dancer, and actress who plays a starring role in the music video of “Turn Down for What.”
Mani is an alumnus of Emerson College, a private, liberal arts university in Boston. Mani received a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, Creative Writing, Playwriting, and Short story. While at Emerson, she began dabbling in stand-up comedy, and was also selected by Warner Bros. Productions in Los Angeles to create content for Internet comedy short routines.
After graduating in 2008, she went to the Upright Citizens Brigade for three years, where she received training in improvisational comedy. During that time, she worked various jobs, including in the Creative Outlet Dance Theatre in Brooklyn, the Cognac Live Radio Orchestra, MTV Networks, and as an ice cream truck driver.
It was also during this time that she joined the Cocoon Central Dance Team, where she still works as a dancer and choreographer. Mani is a core member of the team, which specializes in comedic dancing. The trio creates dance routines that also double as comedy sketches, exercising both Mani’s dancing and comedic abilities.
Mani is also an aspiring actress, and has worked in a number of commercials and episodes of online programs. She was featured in “Writer’s Block,” an MTV web TV pilot, and has also been seen in commercials for Burger King and Levi’s Jeans.
Her highest-profile gig so far, however, is easily the “Turn Down for What” video, which has amassed well over 53 million views since going online in mid-March. The video features Mani as the roommate or girlfriend of an Asian guy who gets, for lack of any other phrase, bitten by the funk of the song’s beat. The funk proves contagious, and soon he and Mani are infecting everyone in their apartment building with the song’s bizarre, but admittedly catchy, beat.
As multi-talented as can be, Mani’s LinkedIn page also says that she is a singer and rapper, and also is proficient in Spanish, having studied abroad in Granada, Spain during her time at Emerson. While her IMDb page doesn’t have any upcoming projects listed, expect to see this up-and-coming starlet turn more than a few heads in the near future.
The video for “Turn Down for What” can be viewed below: