Are you completely enthralled by and addicted to Lifetime’s UnREAL? Well, we here at NoWhiteNoise certainly are. Now in its second season *spoiler alert* we didn’t think that the Lifetime original could possibly get any crazier from last years suicide jaw-dropper, yes… a contestant on the fictional dating show Everlasting leapt to her death all thanks to the over-meddling of the production team. And oh yes, things can, and will get even more insane in Season 2.
Sunita Prasad, a Canadian-born actress, plays good girl London on the hot new hit, but even good girls go bad sometimes. No one is safe from the manipulative wrath of Everlasting Producers Quinn (Constance Zimmer) and Rachel (Shiri Appleby), and man, has London gotten the brunt of it as of late. Hailed by many as one of the most eye-opening, binge-worthy, crazy fun (and slightly sadistic) shows to date, UnREAL sets the stage for the over-produced nature of reality TV, and brings to the forefront some important questions about society as a whole.
Prasad might be one of Everlasting’s newly eliminated contestants, but she still has a lot to say about her character’s journey on the show, as well as insight into surviving a faux dating competition. From refusing to wearing a headscarf for ratings, to tackling a suitor with a serious back injury– London’s on her way out, but Prasad is certainly on her way up! I mean, once you fake vomit on a hot guys shoes on TV, you’re set, right? We had a great discussion about the politics of it all, and what’s next for the shining star!
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Thanks so much for joining me today. To kick things off tell us a little bit about London, the character you play on Lifetime’s UnREAL?
SUNITA PRASAD: London is a girl I don’t think ever really expected to be on a reality show. She’s more reserved, she doesn’t have that baggage or the propensity for drama that the producers typically look for when they’re casting a show. But, like every other contestant, she’s kind of got her own agenda for being on ‘Everlasting,’ and London, I think a big part of why she’s there is she wants to let loose in her own life. She’s found this curiosity to see what it’s like to be a little bit wild, venture into new territories of herself. I think everyone kind of goes through that where they have their wild years in high school or in college, or in your twenties, and she’s never done that and so she sees this as her opportunity to experience that.
MM: It’s definitely her time to let loose. And do things she might not have usually done.
SP: Yeah, exactly.
MM: Did you get to binge-watch the first season of the show prior to filming? What was your initial reaction of the whole concept?
SP: Yes, that’s exactly what I did. I binge-watched it [laughs]. I hadn’t seen it before, and as soon as I saw the first episode I was like ‘oh my gosh, this is an amazing show.’ I got through it in no time flat, and I was really excited to have the opportunity to be a part of it because the writing is so great, and the stories that they tell are so relevant and current with what’s going on in the world.
MM: This show was an overnight sensation… and season 2 really delves into racial stereotypes and prejudices, were you ever concerned that people might be offended by the way these issues were tackled? I mean, the show is far from shy.
SP: Yeah, no. They go for it, but they handle it in such a way that it’s not offending people, if anything it’s bringing up a conversation and it’s making people think. It’s opening up that dialogue about certain stigmas that still exist in today’s society. I think they do a great job of handling that with ya know, they mix a lot of humor in there. And humor kind of breaks it down so it’s not as in your face. The show is still meant to be an entertaining show, but at the same time they will tackle all the issues that are really going on.
MM: Right, I totally agree. I absolutely love everything about the show. Your character is a bit more conservative than the rest of the ‘Everlasting’ contestants, trying to put yourself in her position how do you think she feels having to wear skimpy shorts and tank tops?
SP: That is completely out of her comfort zone. She even makes a point of saying it out loud, like really… is she the only one who has an issue with this? It’s not who she is, and while she did want to go on the show and venture out of her comfort zone, I think everyone’s got their limits and I think she realizes some of the things that she’s been exposed to and some of the things the producers want her to be a part of isn’t where she was expecting to go. It’s not who she is and it is kind of like you said, she’s more conservative than the other girls and it is harder for her to get acclimated to this environment.
MM: She’s definitely not sitting there in a confederate flag bikini making noise, that’s for sure. And since attire says a lot about you as a person, who do you think is the best dressed woman in Hollywood?
SP: I really like the fashion sense Nicole Richie has. I, myself, am not a fashionista whatsoever, I am a simple jeans and t-shirt kind of girl so, it’s kind of like, I look at people like her and I wish I had that kind of style. There’s so many other great people out there. But for me, Nicole Richie is the one that if I could raid someone’s closet it would be her.
MM: I think I would too, so we’re on the same page there [laughs]. Obviously your character was not swayed by the producers manipulative tactics, do you think that contributed to her not lasting long in the competition for Darius’ heart?
SP: That’s definitely her obstacle, because yeah, the producers are out for ratings and she is really sure of who she is and very sure of not wanting to lose herself on the show. That’s the struggle. Can the producers break her down? How far they can break her down? That is her obstacle. Every contestant has something to gain in lasting or even just trying to get that one on one time with Darius, and she wants that too, she is also on the show to find love. But she has to let her guard down more and she has to be more vulnerable for it to work.
MM: Is there anything that you admire about London? How does this character vary from your own personality?
SP: Oh, I really admire that she has a great sense of who she is as a person and will stand up for that. She is not one to be walked on and walked over, I love that about her. I’d like to think I’m kind of like that too, we’re all still figuring it out in life, I don’t think we all have the answer to who we are yet, but I’d like to think that I’m pretty sure of my limits and not letting people push me past them. And in that sense I can definitely relate.
MM: And I mean, do you think London would have cracked sooner if Madison wasn’t her producer? She’s kind of the youngest, and doesn’t really know how to work the angles as well as someone like Quinn or Rachel.
SP: Yeah, in a way, but at the same time even though Madison is new, Quinn and Rachel are still the ones that are in her ear. It’s coming from Quinn and Rachel in a matter of speaking, but I do think that if it were Quinn and Rachel in her face that I think they might be able to break her down a little faster than Madison has. She’s not the most intimidating gal on the show [laughs].
MM: Nope [laughs].
SP: Quinn knows how to instill fear in people and she’s very good at manipulating. So in that sense, yeah, I think if her and Rachel were in her face you would get a different result.
MM: If you had to choose between Quinn or Rachel to be your producer in a real life dating show, who would you pick and why? Nobody wins with either of the options but– [laughs]
SP: That’s a great question. Oh my gosh. I guess in real life Rachel, because Quinn is just terrifying. With Rachel, at least she’s good about playing it off like she’s there for you, she’s on your side and you really get that feeling that eases your mind and makes you feel more comfortable in situations that you’re put into. I think I would have a harder time feeling that comfort level with Quinn, I just don’t think it would be there.
MM: No, Rachel definitely has a way of making it seem like she’s your friend– but still she’s going for throat.
SP: Exactly. She’s looking out for you, sure I’ll do that, you’re on my side.
MM: But in reality, she is not [laughs]. Has being on this show-within-a-show-within-a-show [laughs] made you never want to participate in reality TV for real?
SP: Oh, definitely. It really shines a light on how produced these shows are and how rigged they are in a sense. They know what they want out of the show before it even begins, straight from casting, they actually look out and cast people to define the drama that they want for the show. You just look at them and you know that nothing’s real, but I do think that there have been so many reality shows pushed out in the last year, it is becoming more obvious to anyone that watches that what’s going on is fake.
MM: When you hear them saying they want “suicide ratings” it kind of puts things into perspective, how far networks will go to make money. Do you think this show is shedding light on the reality TV industry and has brought an accuracy to issues surrounding it?
SP: I think they did a great job of showing what it’s like, and just having Sarah [Gertrude Shapiro] who has worked on The Bachelor herself. She actually knows what really goes on behind the scenes, which I think is amazing to have that insight. I mean, you can’t speculate what goes on behind the scenes of every show, you can’t say for sure. But I think they do a great job of giving a more realistic look at what reality television is like.
MM: Oh, I totally agree. Now, if you HAD to choose one reality show to be a part of, as yourself, which one would it be?
SP: This is easy for me, I’ve thought about this. It would be the Amazing Race, I love traveling. So I love watching that show. I love seeing all the places to go, for me traveling is it, if I could do anything for the rest of my life that would be it. It’s that sense of adventure, getting to see some places, trying different things, hands down. Sign me up!
MM: Would you say you have a competitive nature, or would you kind of just be on it for the ride?
SP: Oh no, I would be in it to win it. I’m definitely competitive, I would want to make it to the end. I guess the only thing I would have an issue with would be any of those challenges where you have to eat gross food, or parts of who knows what you’re eating. That would be my obstacle, I think, other than that– I don’t have a fear of heights or water. I would just have to pick a partner that could deal with the eating challenges.
MM: Right? So they could take it off your plate… literally [laughs]
SP: [Laughs] Exactly.
MM: UnREAL has been on so many must watch lists, tell us what’s on YOUR must watch list?
SP: Ray Donovan, which I got into a little late. I hadn’t watched from the first season, but now you can watch anything, anytime. So, Ray Donovan— binge-watched that. I’m excited for the new season that’s coming out in a matter of weeks. Veep is like one of the funniest shows on TV. Veep, I love Veep. And Orange is the New Black. Those are my top three at the moment.
MM: I like to throw in a random question into all of my interviews, if you had to concoct a donut based on London’s personality, what kind of donut would it be and what toppings would be on it?
SP: Oh my gosh, wow, a donut. Hmmm. Maybe a boston creme, or one of those donuts that are filled with something. So on the outside you think you know what you’re getting, but on the inside it’s different than what you’d expect from the exterior.
MM: What’s coming up next for you, can you tell us about any projects we can look out for?
SP: I’ll be in the movie coming out called Crash Pad with Nina Dobrev and Christina Applegate. As well as a comedy called Imaginary Mary with Jenna Elfman.