- Family Karma -'Family Karma's Anisha On What It's Like Filming & The Anxiety Of Watching The Show
If you're not watching Family Karma on Bravo, you really need to make time for it. It comes on right after the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Wednesday nights and it will help you unclench your jaw after watching all the Erika Girardi stuff go down. Because what Erika lacks in authenticity and vulnerability, Family Karma's Anisha Ramakrishna makes up for it, times one million.
The 36-year-old is part of the ensemble Family Karma cast, which is comprised of family and close friends within the Indian-American community in Miami, Florida. Season 1 introduced us to Anisha's lovable blend of honesty and shadiness and Season 2, which premiered June 2, gives us even more.
In part one of my conversation with Anisha, we discuss her relationship with the producers, what advice Bravo gave her before filming, and the highs and lows of being on a reality show.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Lindsay for The Dipp: What was it like watching Season 1, which aired during quarantine?
Anisha Ramakrishna: My dad was upstairs, my mom was in her room, and I was downstairs with my neighbor friend. Like, everyone was watching it alone because the anxiety of what's going to happen is nerve-wracking. Especially for your Season 1, you know?
I will tell you, a lot of us were scared because of our culture. We were just so nervous ... Being Indian, we're all about the family and the community, so it was nerve-wracking because there's never been an all-Indian cast in American television history. So shout out to Bravo for making that happen!
Lindsay: Did you get any advice about being on a reality show before you started filming?
Anisha: We got advice, actually, from the team at Bravo and our production team. We're so lucky, to be honest. They just want to make an authentic show and we're an organic group of friends, right? Like, we've actually known each other for 30 years. We're not just some cast that's been thrown together so that there's like, some mosh pit show; we're actually friends. We grew up together. We're family, which is why, like, things that may sound petty are intense, because it's like fighting with your siblings. It's deep.
I think the best advice [we got] was just to be your authentic self, because it's going to come through and the viewer is knowledgeable. The viewers are going to know if you're just putting up a front or if you're not being yourself. And if there's something you're not comfortable doing, then don't do it. If you don't want to be somewhere, if you don't want to be at a dinner, you don't want to go, then, like, don't do it. There was no one like saying like, you have to be there. It was like, come or don't come.
Lindsay: That's what I really appreciate about Family Karma: we hear the producers talking to you in the confessionals and the interviews, and sometimes we see camera people when you're filming in small spaces. Is this production setup something that appealed to you? Because it's not like most shows.
Anisha: I love it, and we actually have some Indian crew members and what's great about that is being with [production] people who were Indian made [the older generation on the show feel] more comfortable. My grandfather, like speaking a Tamil language with the Tamilian producer [made him feel at ease], you know? I think Bravo and the production team were really mindful of making sure that we were comfortable, because there had never been an Indian show on TV.
Lindsay: Are your producers like your therapists?
Anisha: They're our friends and yes, and they've become our therapists. Everyone becomes a therapist. And I said on Twitter during Season 1 in the finale, I said, "this was one, eight week therapy sessions in front of America." That's what happens when you do this. Because for me, for example, in Season 1, I avoided the topic of, you know, my boyfriend and getting married. If the show wasn't there, I'd just tell my mom, like, I'm not talking about this. And I'd go to my room and shut the door, but you can't shut the door on a camera crew of 20.
Lindsay: This season, we see you on your journey to freeze your eggs. Have you always been this open and vulnerable with regard to what's going on in your personal life?
Anisha: I've always been open with my friends. I have a small group of friends on the show, and then I have my friends off the show, but in total, it's maybe like less than 10 people. And so for me, just being Indian was enough of a reason for me to be open because we don't talk about these things in my culture. And then learning after Season 1 that it spans across all cultures... everyone finds it relatable. I have Americans, Italians, Greeks, Mexicans, Chinese people; everyone is telling me like, "Oh, that's me, that's my family."
Lindsay: It seems like the show and your platform has really helped you connect with others.
Anisha: Absolutely. And, also when you're doing [a reality show], you have to know what you're signing up for. You can't give it 50%. I always say, go big or go bigger. And if I'm to be on a show, like, what a great opportunity – how lucky am I that I get to be a part of the first Indian cast ever? It's crazy. So why not just be open? I have nothing to hide.
Lindsay: In the confessionals, when you're sitting there with your mom, I get a little jealous, because it's an intentional, dedicated moment to talk about the hard stuff, like egg freezing and relationships.
Anisha: Let's keep it real: If there was no camera, I wouldn't talk about this with my mom. I'd be at the doctor's getting [the egg retrieval] done in private, and like, you know, not having these uncomfortable conversations [with my mom.] But the fact that we're doing this, like, why not just show you? ... If I'm going to do this, I'm going to give you my all.
Lindsay: Cameran Eubanks from Southern Charm said that being on a reality show causes you to constantly buzz with anxiety, because you just never know what you said, or what will air. Do you relate to that?
Anisha: That was me Season 1. Every week my mom was like, "Did you say the word 'dick' in every episode?" And I was like, "I think so." [Laughs.]
But this season, I'll say I'm very confident with myself. Last season, I wasn't confident with the way I looked and I was at rock bottom – I had just come out of the relationship, I had just moved home. And this season, I'm more confident with who I am, what I look like. And you also become more comfortable with having a crew in your house, and we actually have very similar crew [in Season 2 that we did in Season 1]. It was 90% of the same people. So, I don't think I'm going to have those nerves this season.
Lindsay: Was it an easy decision to do Season 2?
Anisha: I really, really love Bravo. I always joke that like, some people want to be presidents or doctors. I've always wanted to be on Bravo. This was a dream come true. I'm so grateful, but it was tough because of our families — to bring the families on board, especially since our parents come from very conservative backgrounds — you know, this is not normal for us in our culture. We're actually leading the way, we're paving the way.
In parts two and three of our chat, we talk about what it means to be Brown on TV right now, what it's like to be a Bravolebrity, and where she stands with Vishal and Monica. Stay tuned!