Actress Annet Mahendru Brings Life to “The Walking Dead: World Beyond”

Photo Credit: Ginny Tucker

Looking for a new show to sink your teeth into this fall? Actress Annet Mahendru has got you covered! The young starlet will takeover AMC and Amazon Prime as she stars in the highly anticipated spinoff series, The Walking Dead: World Beyond premiering October 4th. 

Best known for her role as ‘Nina’ in the Emmy Award winning television series The Americans, Annet Mahendru is constantly adding to her repertoire and gracing the screen with her extraordinary talents. Her impressive resume includes parts in a number of noteworthy television shows such as The X-Files, Grey’s Anatomy, 2 Broke Girls, The Blacklist, and Lethal Weapon, just to name a few. In addition to her Critics Choice nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, the accomplished entertainer was presented with Showbiz India’s Trailblazer Award, and granted the title of “Emerging Leader” as well.

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Eager to learn more about Annet and her new role in The Walking Dead: World Beyond, BELLA connected with the actress herself…

Did you always wish to pursue a career in the TV/film industry?

One thing I know for sure is that I always craved a fantastical life. My childhood was very saturated. I was the only kid, so I spent most of my time completely absorbed into whatever it was I was doing at the moment. I thought everything was special around me and had to be treasured. Of course, what I enjoyed most was observing other kids interact with their siblings within the unique relationship of their parents. I was quite fascinated by the dynamics that occurred when people came together. During my parents’ lengthy divorce at the age of 11, I happened to visit a film set in St. Petersburg, Russia. That is when I realized that a fantastical life can only exist in the movies! Then I did everything in my power to seek out more of this kind of perfect experience whether it was during theatre in high school, dance class, or at acting studios after school. I still am ever curious about it all. Storytelling comes in many forms and shapes; you just have to be aware of it and listen carefully as it unfolds through your uniqueness.

Can you tell me a little more about your character ‘Nina’ in The Americans?

Nina is an ‘office’ act! She is a classic mole of the Cold War era. What is not to love of an emotionally intelligent woman with a Russian accent, who also happens to be a highly trained spy? The fans and critics loved her equally, but she died before she could reap the gifts of their love because that, was precisely her fate. An absolute survivor who could not find a comfortable existence for herself no matter what she did, it just wasn’t in her DNA, yet. I promise this is tangible: Did you know a baby leaves the mother with its DNA cells? We are forever able to evolve if only given the opportunity. That is just one example of overcoming oneself by finding a new perspective and form to relieve our past, our pain, what sometimes can feel to be an unpromising life, and the fear of the unknown. 

What can fans expect to see from The Walking Dead spin-off series?

The Walking Dead: World Beyond is a 2-season exclusive experience of a younger The Walking Dead brigade learning about survival in the post-apocalyptic world. Meaning seeing walkers for the first time, discovering what has become of their stomping grounds, and finding their place and purpose within all that wonderful mess we have left behind for them. There is a pressing demand of the youth like never before to participate in shaping their own existence: not via their phones but by engaging wholly and being holy with life. It is a new look into what living will be like if we don’t come together soon enough to figure out our true place on this sacred earth.

How did you prepare for your role in this series?

To prepare for the role of ‘Huck’ who is an ex-military security guard, I’ve definitely had to tap into my masculine energy. I used to be a mixed martial artist so I must confess this transformation came easier to me than most. No make-up, no heels; just dirt, blood and sweat- how freeing is that! We did a good amount of fight training on our days on and off set with some top-notch trainers from The Walking Dead team. We will also be introducing a whole new set of weapons in our series. To balance the aggressive energy, I took some arial yoga classes on my own time. It’s truly incredible to work against gravity. As an artist, I get to take on different existences and those I believe come to me dependent on where I am in my spiritual alignment on the balance beam of life.

Out of all the roles you’ve ever played, do you have a favorite?

‘Huck’ in The Walking Dead: World Beyond is my favorite character I have created thus far. I truly cannot wait to share her with you. This role is near and dear to me in many ways. It is actually someone I crafted a long time ago in a Groundlings class during an alter ego type exercise. So, she’s just been waiting to come to life for all these years. Huck’s a real fighter, unlike Nina, she gets down and dirty, weapon or no weapon, it’s 100% physical. All that feistiness is topped with a solid sense of humor which in my opinion always saves the day. In other words, expect some fun battle scenes!

What would be a dream project for you?

My next dream project is to make my Indian debut and pay homage to my deep roots that have been guiding me all along. I grew up around my father’s vibrant Indian family and recently learned how to read and write in Hindi for a Bollywood feature which overlapped with my show at the time. However, a perfect script finally came along that I’ve also come on board to produce. The story of this film would take us to Kerala, which is an absolutely stunning location in South India, from what I hear. It is one part in the world that I gravitate to on a molecular level yet is also my one remaining larger-than-life fear to face off, if you get my meaning. How can you be from somewhere and not have been there? And what can possibly happen when you return home…

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