Meredith Mentors Alumnae Spotlight: Kiran Subramaniam, ’11
Kiran Subramaniam, ’11, is a writer and filmmaker currently living in Los Angeles, Calif. Raised in Cary, N.C., she knew early on that she had a passion for storytelling and sought to explore it as much as possible. Kiran saw that while she adored film, books, and theater, she hardly saw any South Asian representation. She never saw herself or her background in any of the art she consumed, unless it was a harsh stereotype that the world deemed fitting. To combat this issue, Kiran started to create her own content to show the nuances in the Indian-American experience. After graduating Meredith College with degrees in English and Theatre, she moved to Los Angeles and found work as an assistant at a literary management company, followed by jobs at a big talent and literary agency, and later at Steve Carell’s development company. Kiran also began taking acting, sketch writing, and improvisation classes, and started her love-hate affair with Beverly Hills’ cupcake ATM. She worked as a showrunner’s assistant for OWN’s David Makes Man, and most recently HBO Max’s Americanah. Her work has been recognized by the Sundance Institute and various competitions. She finished shooting the pilot of her web-series, aptly called What’s Her Deal?, and is currently taking meetings as a writer for television.
Meredith Mentors: How do you think your Meredith experience prepared you for life beyond the back gate? Either in your career, graduate or professional school, etc.
I never thought I would attend an all-women’s institution. I always thought I’d go to a bigger school like what you see on TV and in movies. After touring bigger schools, I knew it was too much for me. Meredith College prepared me for post-graduation by giving me the confidence I have and enabling me to stick to my opinions and fight for what I want. If I were an 18-year-old in a co-ed environment, I don’t know if I would raise my hand and ask questions due to possible stigmas of being a woman. Meredith’s professors also helped prepare me for life after college. They believed in me and pushed me to pursue my dreams.
MM: What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you are in both your professional and personal life?
My secret is truly being myself. Know who you are, and what your core values and ethics are. Tell your story, because we all have something to contribute to the conversation. Use your personal gift! Another secret is to take everything you can out of every experience. Life is beautiful and fun, but hard; not everything is a straight path. If things don’t turn out how you want, have a good attitude about it, learn from it, and keep pushing yourself to go farther.
MM: How did you end up in your current role?
My first job after graduating from Meredith was an assistant to a literary manager. I put in the work and used what I gained from the many jobs I held throughout the years. However, it wasn’t just about the previous jobs I held, it was about the people I met through those jobs that helped me the most. My colleagues were always willing to pass my information on to “someone they knew”. Through lots of hard work, patience, and support from my peers, I eventually had the opportunity to work on shows for HBO, and even work for Steve Carell.
MM: Do you recommend any pre-professional experiences, such as internships, study abroad, etc.?
If possible, be an intern, for two reasons:
You never know who they know
You get the opportunity to see a post-college world
Internships are a good way to gently lead into the workforce. They get your foot in the door, and if the company is looking to hire, they are familiar and have a relationship with you. If an internship isn’t possible, reach out to someone in your field or area of interest to get a coffee or have a conversation to build that relationship.
MM: What do you love most about your job? What excites you about starting a new day?
My favorite experience while on the job was when I worked on the HBO show, Americanah. The boss of that show was Danai Gurira, and everyone there was a woman. I love making art that moves people and represents all people of all backgrounds. It is very rewarding to tell stories that are real, compelling, and make a difference; they help bring people together. Years ago, I would never have had a shot doing what I do, but now as an Indian-American woman, I can do what I love.
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