Insight: Chaneil Kular's Journey to Netflix's Sex Education

Chaneil Kular sits down with the DMY BY DMY team to talk us through his journey from performing in school plays to landing the role of 'Anwar' in Netflix's Sex Education.
Insight: Chaneil Kular's Journey to Netflix's Sex Education - DMY BY DMY

Featuring Chaneil Kular (@chaneilkular) in the Olsen (Brown Lens)

What were you doing before you took up acting as a full-time career?

Before I took up acting as a career, I was a student at Bristol University studying Theatre and Film. Although it didn’t last very long, I’m still glad I went and have made some really good friends.

Can you walk us through your career journey, from when you began acting to landing a role in Sex Education?

I’m very blessed that it all happened quite fast for me. I remember when I first went about finding out how the acting industry works, I realised the importance of having an agent – particularly for tv and film. After a handful of tries and meetings when I was younger, different obstacles were in the way of me securing one (distance, school etc). So, I decided when I was 18 to give it a shot myself. I hired some film equipment from my university department, filmed two monologues as well as attaching a cover letter and some headshots in an email and sent them off. I managed to secure representation from one and from there I got auditions for professional tv and film work. It was about four months into acting that I managed to get the audition and role for Sex Education and the rest is history!

What inspired you to take up acting?

I don’t think there was necessarily a specific moment or event that triggered it, but rather a general love of performing and things overtime (school plays, for instance) and building confidence in my ability to try and pursue it as a career. I always remember growing up that I couldn’t ever see myself doing anything else, so that added fuel to my fire too.

If you could work alongside any actor/ actress, who would it be and why?

There’s a handful of actors and actresses who I look up to, but if I had to choose one right now I’d probably say Riz Ahmed. He’s a fantastic actor I’ve watched growing up and to see him move from strength to strength in his career and continually reach huge milestones is incredibly inspiring, particularly for an actor of South Asian heritage like myself.

What are the biggest challenges you face as an actor that you don’t feel are talked about enough?

I think generally a problem that actors can face – particularly actors from Asian backgrounds – is the issue of being typecast or initially overlooked for certain roles. Especially due to the way things are with Covid right now, not a lot of auditions are being held in the room, which is generally where actors have the opportunity to dispel any pre-existing impressions that people may have about them. However, that being said, I like to think it is a conversation that’s being had and, now more than ever, we’re seeing more three-dimensional characters being written for non-white actors as a whole and through that, more opportunities.

What advice would you give to an aspiring actor/ actress?

I’d say try and maintain a strong sense of self-belief despite any negativity. This industry can be very tough and you’ll probably find that most of the time you will be hit with rejection or you won’t hear back at all – so it’s important to have thick skin and keep pushing forward despite what can be exhausting at times. I think in a world where we have so many tools at hand, if sometimes you feel as though the right role isn’t out there for you at the time, maybe go about trying to create it – although, granted, this is a lot easier said than done. It’s also an industry where talent isn’t the be all and end all – there’s a deal of luck involved too. So just be sure going in that it’s something you really want to do.

What’s next for you?

Well as you may already know, we’re very fortunate that Sex Education was commissioned for a fourth series so there will be more of that to come for sure! There may also be other things in the works too, so stand by.

Chaneil's Round of Speed Dating with DMY

1. What is your go-to drink?
Usually water in all fairness, but if I’m looking for a good time then you can’t go wrong with tequila :P

2. What was the last thing you Googled? 
How people build underwater constructions

3. What was the last book you read?
If You Don’t Know Me by Now by Satnam Sanghera

4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 
London, good vibes, very active and still not far from friends and family – they’re the real home.

5. What is your favourite TV show?
Ramy, Barry and Midnight Mass are some shows I discovered this year that I enjoyed. But looking back I’d say Utopia (Channel 4 not Amazon) and Atlanta are some long-standing favourites of mine.

6. What would be your ideal date?
I’m open to most things to be honest so there isn’t anything specific that springs to mind, but generally good food, cocktails and an activity is a vibe.

7. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Ben & Jerry’s ‘Chocolate Fudge Brownie’ - by the tub.

8. What’s the best and worst purchase you’ve ever made?
Best: Probably my JBL Speaker or my Sonos system at home. I listen to music all the time so just having it on hand or in any room is very convenient. 
Worst: An old vintage jacket I got a while back – turned out it was a bit too old because it didn’t last very long at all.

9. What was your first concert?
The A$ap Mob and Wiz Khalifa

10. Make a party playlist with 3 songs:
- Schoolboy Q ‘Man of the Year’
- Aman Hayer ‘Tharti Hilde'
- Katy Perry ‘Teenage Dream’