Annet Mahendru

Actor, BreastfeedLA

We’re at a time where gender is fluid and everyone’s really open to be themselves to be empathetic to connect with it all… we sort of play with that gender identity concept and just as an artist, in my opinion, there’s no barriers… so it’s very exciting in that way.

In your opinion, what qualities make a “Power Woman”?

A Power Woman is one who honours her entity in its entirety. Like an instrument, a woman can be played in vast ways but who can argue an orchestra. My most powerful moment was birthing my sons, I was activated to the utmost of me. Not a single cell was dormant, not a single fear hidden, never have I ever been more free.

What benefits and advantages does a company with positive gender equality have over a male dominated workplace?

I think the more we learn to collaborate as opposed to compete, the better our products will be. I worked with my husband, Louie Gibson, his brother, Milo Gibson, and some dear filmmaker friends on our latest feature, Manifest West. Because this was a product of intimate relationships where everyone understood and valued one other without any dividers between us, we truly were able to tell an uninhibited story from every character’s perspective that left any gender issues at the door. I hope to carry that sense of a mutual fight to the next project.

Is there one particular issue in your life you are passionate about? Something that overrides all of your objectivity?

I am very passionate about women breastfeeding together. On one of our family vacations, my multi racial sister-in-laws all serendipitously sat in a circle and fed our children without any bottles or plates. That is pure magic to me! Bond upon bond, what is stronger than that?

What do you think is the number one action we as a society can take toward en-powering women and gender equality? (e.g. affirmative action)? What can we do to continue to support and enhance the growth and presence of women in high profile positions?

The number one step is to remember the number one step of how any of us got a society.

Can you tell us a short story in which you encountered a block due to your gender?

I get blocked up when I choose not to step up to all that it takes to be a woman. Playing Mother Mary in Father Stu gave me a whole other lesson of what a woman can be that I will have to exercise for the rest of my life now. The roles I play illuminate stuff in my personal life, so many gems to take home and incorporate. That is what I weight lift in my ‘gym.’

Was there a defining moment or experience in your life that led you to where you are today? What was it?

I had a boyfriend who told me I needed a serious job to support my passion. First, I left him. Then I dropped all my ‘serious’ side jobs so I can be an artist %100 of the time spent working.

Have you seen changes in the political landscape for women over the past few years? If so, what are they?

I was doing a press junket for The Walking Dead: World Beyond at the Critics Choice Association and Hillary Clinton showed up- promoting HER show! So yes, the political landscape for women has changed.

Is “Education, education and education” one of the top three responsibilities of a civilized society? If not why not? If so why is it prohibitively expensive?

Ultimately, I just want to say it’s important to leave crucial educational decisions pertaining young children in the hands of their parents.

If you could have someone else’s job for a day, who and what would it be? Why?

There are so many actors: I want to be an agent so I can see how they decide who to send auditions to!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Always ask yourself why you are doing something. – My Ma.

What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?

Strange Woman – it was an antique find, my husband and I read it together, I really fell in love with him during that read. He still lovingly thinks that I am strange enough to be an alien. What better mystery is there for a marriage?

What do you most value in your friends?

I love people who are ok with spontaneity.

Which trait do you most uncomfortable in yourself?

Unease is an uncomfortable trait. We can be fine with anything really if we possess or can cultivate a sense of peace.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Likes on Instagram.

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