Nipa Parikh

"Success can't be learnt at school" - Nipa Parikh

Nipa Parikh is a Talent Agent whose lifestyle involves dining with the crème de la crème of the acting and modeling world. A globe trotter by nature, she was born in the busy city of Mumbai only to move to Louisiana and then back into the big-bad city world; New York. And just when you thought she couldn't fit anything else on her plate, she surprises you. Amidst her crazy schedule, Nipa has found great solace in yoga and playing Ambassador to Sunflower Children, a non-profit that supports abandoned impoverished children. If you thought she would hold the snooty trait courtesy of her high-profile job, you're surprised yet again but her incredibly friendly and casual personality. Lots to share and immense advice to give, take notes as Nipa gives Roshni Magazine the lowdown on living in New York, her swanky job and some great advice to achieving ultimate success.

Tell us what you do exactly.
Okay, so I’m a talent agent, not to be confused by travel agent (laughs). No, it’s so funny, people always say, what? Travel agent? And I say no, Talent. In a nut shell, the first thing I tell people is if they watch Entourage, I’m Ari from Entourage. And then people are like Oh! Okay. So I represent actors and models for T.V. commercials and endorsements. So that’s my specific niche.

So how did you get into this line of work?
I actually started off Pre-Med in college, majored in Psychology and minored in Communication. Towards the end, I figured out that Medicine was the route I want to go to. I felt like entertainment was always in me. And then my Junior Summer, my third year of college, I came to New York and I interned at Willomina Models. I got my job a year later.

That’s really interesting.
Yeah, I know. I was at J. Michael Bloom for a year and then there were about thirty of us who left J. Michael Bloom and came to Innovative Artists. And then J. Michael Bloom shut down. That was actually a very big agency for many years. But then when we left, they pretty much had no more business. So we came to Innovative. I’ve been with my team of people for eleven years now. I first started off as an assistant for two and a half years and I’ve been an agent ever since.

What are some of the traits you need, to be successful at your job?
I feel like patience is one of them, believe it or not. You definitely have to be aggressive; just to be an agent in general. It’s kind of like a businessman meets lawyer. You have to be a little shrewd—but in a positive way, in a good way because at the end of the day, you are representing clients. I have some very high-profile people that we represent.

Who are some of the celebrities that you have worked with?
Well our department, one of our biggest celebrity is Tom Brady. My boss, is the main point person. But what we do in our department is that we work collectively. So collectively, our biggest celebrities include Tom Brady, Molly Simms, Petra M M Cova, Bridget Monahan, Chaning Tatum, Yamila Diaz, Patricia Valezquez, and also obviously, Pooja Batra, Meghna Reddy. We also recently started representing Mallaika Sherawat.

So its celebrities from all over the world really, not just in the U.S.
Oh yeah yeah. Our beauty department, the department that I work in, is the Beauty Division. So the beauty department at Innovative, we are actually number one in the country. And that is just from this department, the rest of the agency, we handle actors.

What do you love most about your work and what do you detest most about it?
You know I have to say my clients. I’ve made some really good friends with my clients. The fact that loyalty is a big thing; the fact that I have been very loyal with the agency. And in return, people have been very loyal with me. And I think that says something. Especially nowadays, doing what you’ve been doing for eleven years is unheard of. No one does that in her generation (laughs).

And what do you detest?
That on the same token, I would say long hours.

Which brings me to my next question, how do you balance having such a hectic work schedule with having time for yourself, family and leisure?
I have one word for that: Yoga. I’m a yoga instructor, I’ve been teaching for over five years. I’ve been practicing for over eleven. I teach four classes a week and do yoga about four days a week. And I’m also a big swimmer.

So that is basically your fitness regime.
Yeah, I did a sprint triathlon seven years ago. I was a big runner up until my second knee surgery and then I had to quit. But I’m been very athletic all my life. I think you have to take care of your body and your mind in order to succeed and get ahead because all these external pressures, from work, parental, and social forces, but if you know how to calm your mind and manage your life—you’ll learn to take care of yourself in order to do everything else. So I give all my credit to yoga and the fact that yeah, work can be tedious, yoga helps. My friends too say, from everyone if we had to name one person who is the busiest, it would have to be Nipa. And I can honestly say that. I have a lot on my plate. But I think in a way, one compliments the other and I feel that’s why I’m good at what at what I do. I can multitask but at the same time, my work is so stressful but then I have yoga to balance that.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Ten years from now… well, hopefully married with a few children (laughs). I would still like to continue what I’m doing. Being an agent, is the stressful part—that’s one of the negatives, I would say. And I think it is very difficult to balance a family and a full-time job. I can see myself in the spiritual route as far as my yoga is concerned. Right now the agency is first and then yoga is secondary. In about ten years, I see that reversing. But then on the same token, I think both go hand-in-hand. I’ve gone to a few ashrams before where my yoga clients have gone and my work models have come with me as well. There are a lot of models who are very spiritual and get into yoga, which is fantastic. So that’s another similiarity I share with my models.

What do you feel makes a person successful in your opinion?
Hard work and you can't learn that at school. It is always hard to enter. I was fortunate to start at the desk and later become an assistant. I need to go out and network which is a part of my work. I work until seven and then have a dinner or event. More importantly I've learnt to multitask everything in general. You have to be confident and work your way up.

What do you love most about living in New York?
It's the greatest city in the planet. I was born in Mumbai, grew up in Lousiana, and went to college in Boston. I moved to nyc and also moved up the ladder. You can do everything and anything all the way down to nothing in NYC.

Words of wisdom for the young people who want to get into the same field?
Just do it! I was a Pre-Med student. My father is a physician and my brother is in the same field too. When I decided to get into the entertainment industry, I made a firm decision. Just follow your dreams. There are too many Indians in Medicine, Finance and Law. There are so many opportunities. We live in America where you can create a career. I'm a firm believer of being passionate about your work.

~ Roshni M.
(July 2009)

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