Labasa-born Fijian model and actor, Sheetal Deo has landed on the cover of Forbes Los Angeles.
Deo, a former Hibiscus festival contestant, embarked on a life-altering journey to the United States at the age of 18.
In her interview with Forbes, Deo said her move was a leap into the unknown, filled with both opportunity and uncertainty and her life has been a mosaic of challenge, change, and triumph.
Her father, a Police officer, and her mother, a homemaker, provided a nurturing yet traditional family environment.
Sheetal’s passion for the performing arts blossomed early. However, her father’s dismissal of acting as a viable career path and the lack of a local acting industry in Fiji posed significant hurdles.
Despite these challenges, her mother’s quiet encouragement became the bedrock of her aspirations but her life took a poignant turn with the loss of her mother in 2015.
The move to the US was a leap into the unknown, filled with both opportunity and uncertainty.
The cultural shift from Fiji to America was immense, but Sheetal’s adaptability and resilience shone through.
Her unique appearance and talent caught the attention of a photographer who described her as having a “National Geographic face”.
The photograph from this encounter went viral, paving the way for her entry into modeling and acting. However, this journey was not without its share of personal struggles.
Sheetal had to navigate through an abusive relationship, finding solace and support in her mother-in-law.
New York City marked a new chapter in Sheetal’s life.
The city’s vibrant energy and diverse opportunities in the entertainment industry aligned perfectly with her aspirations.
Her acting and modeling career flourished, leading to roles in various projects and her inclusion in SAG-AFTRA.
Her lack of formal training in acting did not hinder her; instead, it highlighted her natural talent.
Sheetal also expanded her skill set, delving into dance and mixed martial arts.
Proud of her Fijian heritage, she stands against conventional beauty standards and advocates for natural beauty.
Her ability to speak multiple languages, including Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Fijian, Russian, and some French, adds to her versatility as an actor.
Sheetal’s belief in appreciating the gifts of one’s ancestors and the natural beauty bestowed by one’s heritage is a refreshing stance in an industry often criticized for its unrealistic beauty standards.
Currently signed with Stefanie Talent, a full-service SAG-AFTRA agency, the Fijian beauty is poised for greater heights in the entertainment industry.
Her significant works are a testament to her versatility and talent, and she continues to work on new and exciting projects.