Meet Rising Actor Shakeil Kanish



Actor and writer Shakeil Kanish is making his dreams as a prominent mainstream actor come true right before his eyes. Coming from humble beginnings being born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, he relocated his life to Los Angeles, California and enrolled in the Lee Strasberg School of Acting. As he is on his rise to stardom, I had the pleasure of speaking with him about his aspirations in entertainment, moving to Los Angeles and what led him to this career path. Check it out below.

Shakeil Kanish Interview

Who is Shakeil Kanish?

Shak: This is always a hard question! I have a new quote for this I started using. “I am just a small boy looking at a big screen hoping to one day be on it!” I am a guy who loves this business. I want to show up and give 150% percent every time I go out there. Not just for my co stars but for everyone around me. I’m always first to show up, and last to leave (unless they kick me out). I’m a BIG people pleaser for better or for worse, and I always want everyone to have a good time, or to be smiling when I’m around. I am a proud gay man who is excited to create amazing characters, tell stories, and hopefully one day tell stories I have written as well! I am a huge nerd! If anyone knows any good DnD groups or wants to talk about My Hero Academia for hours I’m down! Plus Ultra!

How did you get your start in acting?

Shak: I got started at a young age. I think about 5 or 6 I was doing plays for my church and I ended up loving them so much that I couldn’t stop! I eventually started doing musicals. My first one was Into the Woods. I played the character Jack. I am pretty sure I only got it because my voice was so high pitched ( although not much has changed). The more I did, the more I realized that nothing made me happier than being on stage and feeling that energy. Now I am trying to transition over to my new love of television and film.

What made you decide to move to LA to pursue acting full time?

Shak: I made the decision once about 7-8 years ago. I had just graduated college, and was tired of my 9-5 job, which prompted me to go live the dream! So I moved out to LA and it was a disaster. At the time, I thought that I had failed. I thought that my dream was over for me and that there was nothing left for me in the entertainment space. So I joined the military thinking maybe I would at least get to see the world and find something I enjoyed better. While that experience was good, I think it just further proved that there’s nothing in my life that makes me happy like acting does.

Describe your experience at the Lee Strasburg acting school?

Shak: So far it’s been amazing! I was recently the first student that was allowed to curate and completely fund my own event! We managed to pack the entire theater. It was great. I think being at this school has shown me that I can do more than I thought was possible. It also was the best way to make friends living in a new city! There are so many students from all around the world that I get to surround myself with daily. Everyone is incredibly talented and hilarious, which makes me want to work harder and constantly get better by watching the people around me. I am hoping that after 3 semesters, that I have elevated into the actor I know I can be.

What are some ways you stay motivated to become the best actor you can be?

Shak: Staying motivated is one of my hardest things ever. I am so all over the place all the time. Recently I made a manifestation board and by having it in a place where I can wake up and see it all the time, has been helpful. Reminding myself about what I want, and the reason why I’m here is important. I also try to make sure everything I do pushes me towards my goal! One thing that did start implementing into my life is speed reading and memory retention classes. This allows me to learn my lines much faster! I also started learning sign language and that has been a really exciting journey. I want to learn as many skills as I can to stay relevant in the space I am in.

Who are some of your favorite actors/actresses and your favorite films?

Shak: I really love Paul Pescal, Daisy Edgar Jones, Dacre Montgomery, and Nico Greetham. I think I just love how authentically and naturally they can sink into their roles. When I watch them, I feel like I can just see what they are thinking, and they all seem to have fun with whatever it is that they are doing. That is something I never wanna lose you know? I never want to stop having fun doing this. I think if I do, that will be the time I step back and be like what just happened?

Who do you look up to in the film industry?

Shak: Honestly my whole life I don’t think I have had an actor or actress that I have looked up to. I think since moving here, all I have done is work behind the scenes as a PA so if I look up to anyone it’s the people working behind the scenes. It is the people who show up early, work hard, stay late, and clean up afterwards. It is the writers, editors, sound, directors, and production assistants who none of this would be possible without. It always humbles me and just makes me love this industry more knowing that I love EVERY aspect of it. So it sounds cliche but those are my heroes.

What is up next for Shak?

Shak: What’s next for me? I want to start auditioning for more TV and Film roles! Things have been a little slow this year but that has given me time to get everything together. My resume, my headshots, and my training is coming along. I am really trying to take advantage of this time I have been given and I want to hit the ground running as soon as these doors start opening! So I am ready for the opportunities and I am just kind of riding the wave. Also as I mentioned before, I am taking classes and workshops outside of my Lee Strasberg Training. I just finished Killian’s Workshop which was absolutely incredible.

To Follow Shak’s rise to fame in Hollywood, follow him on Instagram @shakkanish.



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