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Verve People
January 29, 2016

Gene Junction: Hannah Simone

Text by Zaral Shah. NEW GIRL © 2014-2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Photographs © 2014 Fox and its related entities. All rights reserved

Sitcom star Hannah Simone on being half-Indian and growing up around the world…

“I think it’s that idea of loving that you should carry forward and share.”

Presently playing Cece Parekh on the Fox sitcom New Girl, Hannah Simone has, since her birth in England, lived around the world. With Los Angeles as her current home, the actress — who has a dress named after her — takes something from every part of her culturally mixed heritage. An avid cook and enthusiastic traveller, she looks forward to movie opportunities, the next season of the show and always being happy.

Growing up around the world
“I am half Indian from my father’s side. My mother is part Greek and part German. We moved homes often and every few years I showed up at a new school. But the great thing about the international school system is that it provides a pretty diverse environment. It’s got a lot of kids from different places and backgrounds, so I never experienced a culture shock.”

A year in India
“Dad brought us here when I was 16 and I went to the American Embassy School in Delhi. It was definitely an incredible feeling and one of the best years of my life as I was able to — for the first time — walk out and not be a foreigner. I loved that feeling of belonging. Last summer was the first time I got a chance to return to the country and it was an amazing homecoming, working on building a school there and being with the children because I have fond memories of going to school there.”

Global benefit
“In the world of entertainment, there’s a niche that’s carved out for South Asians; they say that we are supposed to play generally stereotypical roles on screen, but there are a lot of positive things that have come from being ethnically ambiguous. Yet I wouldn’t be comfortable making a blanket statement by saying that having a background that’s a cultural mix scores over not being from a mixed one.”

International kitchen
“I enjoy cooking and so does my father, who learnt from his mother. I do love to make Greek or German dishes but, as someone who is fond of cooking with her dad, I end up making Indian food most often. It’s amazing how he always has a new trick to teach me.”

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