Aadila Dosani sat down with Courageous Nerd to discuss playing ‘Amanda Bobbsey’ in The CW’s Nancy Drew. This is a recurring role from the second season onwards, which premiered in January 2021.
Aadila’s previous television appearances include guest roles on The Good Doctor, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Supernatural, Lucifer and Supergirl, among others.
Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to do this.
Aadila Dosani (AD): Thank you for having me. I’m excited to hang out and chat.
We’ll be talking about your role as ‘Amanda Bobbsey’ on Nancy Drew. First of all though, how did your journey into acting start?
AD: Oh man, loaded question! I’ll take the challenge though, I’m up for it. I started quite young actually. My parents put me into community theatre when I was probably like seven or eight. Those extra curricular things they put you into on the weekends so they have time to do everything. That’s kind of where it started. They actually plucked me out; I was involved in ice skating and swimming, and I did not excel. The truth is that I sucked. I feel like either they were thinking about me or they were super embarrassed because I was the kid that just could not pick it up. They plucked me out of all ice and water sports and put me into community theatre, that’s where I got “the bug” for this jazz.
Then, it kind’ve just continued on from there.
Before joining the cast of Nancy Drew, were you familiar with Edward Stratemeyer’s novels?
AD: I had read all of Nancy Drew novels. I grew up with them, my mom grew up with them. So, we inherently, my sister and I, got those hand-me-downs. She has all of those old-school hardcover books of the volumes. You know, the ones that have faded because they were actually printed. My sister and I grew up reading all the Nancy Drew books and the Hardy Boy books. My mom was such a sleuth. And a few of the Bobbsey Twins books, actually. That was pretty wild that she had them as well – and that was our reading material. So, I was very familiar with the source material.
How would you describe the show and the character of Amanda, to anyone who hasn’t seen it?
AD: CW’s version of Nancy Drew is quite different from the source material. Kennedy, who plays Nancy Drew, is wonderful and she has all of those qualities that we love about Nancy Drew. This series has a huge supernatural element to it. Not gonna lie, it’s quite scary, for me. I don’t do horror. I’m such a chicken. I think ghosts are real, it is what it is. It’s so cleverly written and deals with solving those type of mysteries which I think is so different from the original.
Gil and Amanda, in this rendition, kind of grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. They didn’t really have a very stable – or traditional – childhood and deal with a lot of co-dependency issues. Amanda, my character, she’s really curious. She knows there’s better out there for her. She’s got a lot of hope, wants to experience the world and have friendships. She’s never been in a squad or had groups of friends. She’s never experienced love in the way that she may or may not… in the trajectory of this season.
Also, you’re going to learn that I’m the Queen for spilling the tea. I just have no filter, I’m not creative. Amanda’s really cool because Gil is the complete opposite where he’s really stuck in that dark jazz that they’ve kind of had to live in. You really get to see the two different ways in which these two characters live their life while still being very co-dependent, because they’re twins. Figuring out how they can become more independent in the paths they choose.
Although Nancy Drew premiered in October 2019, you joined the cast in the second season. Was there any nervousness in being a latecomer?
AD: Yeah, absolutely. I’d be a massive liar if I said there wasn’t, there always is. You never know, because the Drew Crew’s so synced that they’ve been friends for so long and they’re such a tight group. I definitely had those anxieties going in because you never know. We’re all such different people and have such strong personalities. You never know if you’re going to click with anyone.
Luckily, these humans… the Drew Crew, they’re incredible. They opened their arms up to Praneet and I and they’re such a family. We were really welcomed into the family. Day One, that anxiety was kind of washed away. Everyone was so amazing and they treated us like we were part of them already. There was no, like, qualm about it – we’re there and now we’re part of the fam. We were treated like family, we are treated like family.
Honestly, that doesn’t happen a lot, I gotta say from working quite a bit. It’s tough, coming it. Like, you don’t always get that love. I most certainly did, I know Praneet most certainly did. It definitely I think took 80% of that worry away, right? Then, you can just sink in and do the work. There’s this feeling you have to be on all the time, if that makes sense?
Your castmate Praneet Akilla plays Amanda’s twin brother, Gil. What steps did you both take in developing their onscreen dynamic with someone you didn’t know as intimately in real life?
AD: Funny enough, Praneet and I are actually from the same hometown, from Calgary. I feel like I say this all the time, I honestly think that had so much to do with us clicking right away. We definitely clicked and had known each other a little bit before, we met early on in 2020. But, exactly what you said, not intimately. We weren’t close friends or anything like that. It was really just through the grapevine or short meets here and there.
We always had that innate connection through being from Calgary, coming from a South Asian background. We were raised the same way, had quite a few of the same experiences growing up. So, it was just very instinctual and innate. Thank goodness, because honestly that was another anxiety I was carrying. We’re always in scenes with love interest relationships or friendships, but that twinning energy is so hard to get if you don’t connect. Luckily, we did so it hasn’t really been that challenging… it’s been quite wonderful, which I count my lucky stars for. It could’ve gone completely the other way and that would’ve been a whole different story.
Prior to Nancy Drew, you had appeared in other series on The CW, such as Supernatural and Supergirl. Can having memorable appearances on a network be beneficial if they need someone with your description/acting talent down the line?
AD: Yeah. I hate to say that’s the case, because… you just always want your work to speak for itself and most times, it does. At the end of the day, there’s the back-end business to it. It’s like the worst thing for an artist to think or talk about, but it’s true. There’s the commerce and I definitely think, they see your face more times, the more recognisable you are and they know you can do the style of that network. It’s crummy to say, but I think so. I totally think so. It’s a fact, unfortunately.
What advice would you give people who want to pursue acting, or any creative career?
AD: Oh, man. I think the first thing… and this is changing because I’ve had to think about this question. I think the first thing I would say is if you think or have any sort of inkling of wanting to do something else other than acting, go do that. Or, try that out first. I feel like trying to become a working actor is not for the faint at heart. It’s not easy, it’s wonderful and rewarding, but there’s no clear trajectory, you know? Like other careers do. You can’t just take a workshop and have a certain skillset that just propels you to the next level.
I’d also say, if that’s the case, if you know you want to do this, say yes to everything. Don’t be picky, say yes to everything. I’ve found that the most magical experience are the experiences where I feel like I’ve grown, as an actor, human and artist. Those ones that I never would have said yes to, I just did. Roles that I had no sort of connection to, you know? It was from those where I was like ‘Holy what?’ That’s what storytelling is.
You learn so much and you get to be transported into these worlds where you never would. That’s what makes you a better storyteller, travelling, you’ve got to experience things to bring something to life, right?
Are there any other upcoming projects, besides Nancy Drew, that you are able to talk about?
AD: I mean, honestly, I don’t know what’s next. I did do a really wonderful holiday film about a month ago, when I had a break from Nancy Drew. I’m really excited about that one because it’s I think the first holiday film to be centered around a South Asian family. I’m pretty excited, I think it will probably come out like way later this year, Thanksgiving-Christmas time. That one was really special because we were allowed to embrace a lot of our cultural traditions. I haven’t really been able to do that on a project yet.
It was just so wonderful to work with people that I’ve looked up to. We speak the same mother tongue, we were always just chatting in Gujarati and Kutchi off-set. Praneet actually plays my brother in that, so I got to say that we’re probably a package deal. Isn’t that wild? I was like: “Okay, I’ll take it.” So, that’s good, but yeah, nothing in the pipeline yet. I’m kind of okay with it. I’m enjoying just living this crazy year we’ve all been through. It’s kind of nice living in the moment and taking it day-by-day. It’s really put things into perspective for all of us.
What do you hope to accomplish with the rest of 2021?
AD: I love it, you’re making my wheels turn. I just wanna get through it. I know that’s kind of lame… I just want to get through 2021 and to continue my self care journey. Like I was saying, I feel like the silver lining of the pandemic for me was having to take a step outside of where I was at and create that safe, really healthy coping mechanism. I’ve only just started doing that and I’ve been doing this for 20 years.
Laying down the foundation for that and I’ve been doing a lot of work on practicing all of those things I find are helping me. I kind of just want to continue doing that because that’s what will help with the longevity of this. I know it sounds cliché and kind of dumb, that’s kind of where I’m at. I just want to take a step back without really being tunnel-visioned by my career and figure out who Aadila is this year.
Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us. Take care and stay safe!
AD: Thank you! You as well, thank you so much. You have the best questions. [laughs]
Nancy Drew airs Wednesdays on The CW.
This interview has been transcribed and condensed. You can hear the full conversation on the Courageous Nerd YouTube channel, linked below!