A desi girl in Hollywood
Noureen DeWulf, an Indian American actress, is currently making waves with her looks and talent, reports
Noureen DeWulf in a still from Breakaway
is a common denominator for film, music, fashion and virtually
every other manifestation of pop culture ó whether Hollywood,
Bollywood, New York, Paris, Tokyo or London? Correct answer:
beautiful women in alluring poses.
American actress Noureen DeWulf understands this fact as well as
anyone, and she has graced her share of magazine covers, posed
for publicity photos, and accommodated the desperate throngs of
photographers on red-carpet runways. In 2007, Maxim
magazine named her to its highly publicised "Hot 100"
list of the most beautiful women in the world.
But DeWulf, 27,
has also combined her acting talent, range and commitment to
become one of the most active and sought-after television and
film actresses in Hollywood today.
Since her 2005
debut in the musical film West Bank Story, DeWulf has
appeared in 18 theatrical and television movies, plus 13 TV
series and mini-series, often in multiple episodes. Her latest
release is Breakaway, a comedy about an Indian Canadian
hockey team. The animated film Zambezia is due out
shortly. She also performs in improvisational theatre in Los
"I put a
lot of pressure to keep working," DeWulf said to the
radio-interview programme Mr Media. "And when Iím
not working, my agent books three auditions a day`85Iíd rather
go to the set and work."
roles also demonstrate a remarkable scope. DeWulf has played a
Palestinian cashier working in a falafel shop (West Bank Story),
a girlfriend with an attitude and a pronounced Indian accent (Ghosts
of Girlfriends Past), Jennifer Lopezís friend and
pet-store employee (The Back-up Plan), and a recurring
role as a nurse in the TV hospital series, Hawthorne.
Many fans of
the TV spy comedy-drama, Chuck, fondly recall her epic
martial arts battle in a yogurt shop with co-star Yvonne
In the 2010
film, The Taqwacores, which deals with the unlikely
subject of Muslim punk rockers in Buffalo, New York, DeWulf
plays the role in a burqa, even as her character, Rabeya,
challenges religious orthodoxy at every turn.
DeWulfís covered face", said the filmís director to the
British film blog EatSleepLiveFilm, "she outshines
the burqa. When I see it now, I donít see the burqa,
I see the person. She knocked it out of the park."
challenging and hard not to accept all stereotypical roles that
get thrown your way," DeWulf said to the online
entertainment magazine Buzzine. "For me, Iíve been
really, really lucky because I have been able to play a lot of
DeWulf was born
in New York City to Gujarati parents from Pune and grew up in
Stone Mountain, Georgia. She is fluent in Hindi, Urdu and
nurtured the dream of becoming an actress as a child, even
though she wasnít permitted to take theatre classes. At Boston
Universityís School of the Arts in Massachusetts, however,
DeWulf threw herself into theatre courses and joined an acting
company in Atlanta, Georgia, during summer breaks. In 2005,
without any friends, connections or agents, she moved to Los
really nervous to come out here," she told Buzzine.
"You put yourself out there, and perhaps you fail, then you
have no job. I was kind of hesitant, but I made the leap of
the contradictions of her strict upbringing and her Hollywood
persona with refreshing candour. "Ironically, it was
because I was raised as a Muslim in the South, that I realised
the value in being true to who you really are," she said to
the fashion and entertainment magazine Details. "Iíve
just got so many things going on inside. I donít know how to
resolve all of them other than being true to who I am."
DeWulf is frank
in acknowledging that many of her film roles are not easy for
her family to cope with. "But as I work in more roles, I
think my parents are understanding. Itís not me doing those
things but the character which Iím portraying," she said
to SAPNA, the magazine for South Asian American women and
At the same
time, she observed, "I love my heritage both as someone who
grew up as a Muslim and as an Indian ó itís part of who I am
and I would never deny it." ó SPAN/ TWF