Tiya Sircar is one of the supporting players in NBC’s The Good Place, but she plays a major role in the show. The 35-year-old Texas-born actress has been seen in countless other TV shows and movies, from Netflix’s Master of None to The Internship.
In The Good Place, Sircar played The Real Eleanor, at least for the first season. Her character was revealed to be the Eleanor that belonged in the Good Place instead of Kristen Bell’s Eleanor. But in the end of season one, Eleanor figured out that this was all a fluke. Architect Michael (Ted Danson) and the other inhabitants of the Good Place – outside of Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tehani (Jameela Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) – were all demons from the Bad Place! That included “The Real Eleanor.” In “The Good Place 2.0,” Sircar’s demon will be playing Denise.
You can follow Sircar on Twitter. She is not married.
Here’s what you need to know about Sircar and her career.
1. Sircar Voices Sabine Wren in ‘Star Wars Rebels’
The biggest role of Sircar’s career isn’t in front of the camera. Instead, it’s behind it as the voice of Sabine Wren, the Mandalorian warrior in Star Wars Rebels. She’s been playing the role since the show started in 2014.
The third season of Rebels was a big one for the character, especially with episodes like “Trials of the Darksaber.” The character eventually decided to stay with her family, which meant she was away from the Ghost crew for a few episodes.
“It was really wonderful and so interesting to get to see a character who is so guarded and so strong and uses sarcasm and wit and snark at every opportunity, to be so vulnerable,” Sircar said in an interview with StarWars.com. “That was new. To play Sabine in this sort of scenario, and allowing herself to be so vulnerable and emotional. It was a very unique experience. On top of all that, really going to this place emotionally, doing the physicality as well.”
The character didn’t even get to say goodbye to some of the members of the Ghost crew, including Hera, their leader. It was tough, even for Sircar.
“I think Sabine is sad. I was sad,” Sircar told StarWars.com. “When I read that, I’m like, ‘But what do you mean she’s not going back?’ I mean obviously, Sabine is loyal and dutiful. My dad has a lot of catch phrases, but one of them is, ‘A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.’ I feel like Sabine feels like a Mandalorian’s got to do what a Mandalorian’s got to do.”
2. She Was Set to Star in the ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Spin-off ‘How I Met Your Dad’
In her career, Sircar has been a part of several pilots and TV shows that never really took off. She had a recurring role in The Crazy Ones, the 2014 CBS comedy with Robin Williams and was in the pilot for ABC’s 2010 series Better With You. Both shows were cancelled after one season.
In 2014, she starred in the original How I Met Your Dad pilot, which was a spin-off of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother that starred Greta Gerwig. As Entertainment Weekly reported in March 2014, she was cast to replace Krysta Rodriguez, who left after the table read.
CBS eventually passed on Dad, but out of the blue in August 2017, Deadline reported that the project is back on. In December 2016, This Is Us executive producers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger were hired to work on it, but they left the project. Since Gerwig and Sircar have both gone on to do bigger and better things, they aren’t expected to return either.
3. She Started Dancing at 2 Years Old & Has a Business Degree From the University of Texas
Sircar has wanted to be in entertainment since she was a child. She started dancing when she was two and began acting when she was seven. When she was at the University of Texas at Austin, she even earned degrees in both theater and business/marketing. Since her parents are both university professors, she took on the business/marketing major to make them proud, even though they didn’t pressure her too.
“I also wanted to challenge myself and do something that’s super out of the box for me, which my business degree totally was,” Sircar told McCOMBS in 2016.
She explained that her business degree from UT’s McCombs School of Business helped her launch her acting career. She landed an internship at the Austin talent agency BLVD, where she also got her first acting agent. After graduating, she worked at Dell in Austin to save up enough money before moving to Los Angeles to start acting.
“I think I have that special viewpoint where I can be creative and be an artist. But my business background is where my creative and strategic sides came together,” she told McCOMBS. “Because of my McCombs education I’ve been able to successfully pursue the creative career I have always wanted in a very strategic way.”
4. Her Next Show Is a Zach Braff-Starring ABC Sitcom Called ‘Alex, Inc.’
The Good Place isn’t the only place to see Sircar on TV this season. Later this season, Sircar will be seen on Alex, Inc., which features the return of Zach Braff (Scrubs).
In the series, Braff stars as Alex Schuman, a radio journalist and father of two who decides to quit his job to start his own podcast company. Sircar plays his wife, Rooni and Michael Imerioli plays Eddie, a scuzzy cousin Alex chooses to be his business partner. Braff also directed the pilot.
5. Sircar’s Breakthrough Movie Role Was in ‘The Internship’ With Owen Wilson & Vince Vaughn
In 2013, Sircar finally won a major movie role, playing Neha Patel in The Internship with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. In a 2015 interview with Telegraph India, Sircar called the film a “career milestone” for her, adding that Wilson and Vaughn gave her a “crash course in improvisational comedy.”
However, Sircar has only made a handful of films. The others include Hotel For Dogs (2009), 17 Again with Zac Efron (2009) and Miss India America (2015).
“Going from film to film is a bit like having one torrid love affair after another… and maybe TV is a bit more like having a long-term relationship,” she said in 2015.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight at the time of The Internship‘s release, Sircar said she was actually told she wasn’t “Indian enough” by Hollywood casting directors.
“I am Indian-American, but I often play ethnically ambiguous roles. I don’t often get Indian girl roles because I’m ‘not Indian enough,'” Sircar said in 2013. “Which is true, I’m from Texas. In this case, it’s an Indian-American college student, and I can certainly identify with that. I mean, she’s much smarter than I am, but I also appreciate that she’s not a dork just because she’s a smart girl. I feel like that’s not represented enough in pop culture these days.”
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