Janina Gavankar is about to make June a whole lot hotter. ABC’s summer series The Gates, is a sexy new drama where everyone has something to hide - including Gavankar. The Gates premiers on Sunday, June 20th at 10:00pm.
The Gates, which takes the Brothers and Sisters time slot on Sunday nights, is about a gated suburban community. Janina says: “you think everyone is normal, but actually some of the characters are vampires, werewolves…or creatures that go bump in the night.”
Janina plays the role of Leigh Turner, a cop with a dark secret. Abc.com describes Leigh as, “sharp, focused and good at her job. However, when it comes to matters of the heart, she’s suffered from some really bad luck.” What is that bad luck? You’ll have to watch to find out.
Janina is best known for her breakout role as Papi on Showtime’s The L Word. Her other TV credits include guest starring roles on: Stargate Atlantis, Grey’s Anatomy, The Cleaner, Dollhouse, NCIS and Three Rivers. In addition to acting, Janina is a classically trained musician and is working on several music projects currently.
Actor. Musician. Geek. That’s what the gorgeous 26?year?old Indian?Dutch all American Janina Gavankar calls herself. Best known for her role as Papi on Showtime’s The L?Word, Janina has made appearances on several of TV’s most popular shows, starred in movies, been signed to a major label in a girl group and blazed the trail for South Asians looking to make a mark in Hollywood with every step she has taken. Her versatility as a performer is groundbreaking and setting the entertainment industry on fire.
Growing up with parents who were ardent supporters of the arts, Janina was fully immersed in pursuing music. Classically trained as a pianist and as a percussionist, she says that if you can hit it, she can play it. Vocally, Janina studied opera first, but when she discovered she couldn’t actually sit through an entire opera, she shifted her focus to broadway, rock, and pop.
So, how did acting happen? She didn’t grow up as a budding ingénue with stars in her eyes, but when she landed the role of Maria in West Side Story – her fate was sealed. "I had an out?of?body experience where I was living in a character. It sounds cliché, but it changed my life." Janina says that acting is “a high I've been chasing since”.
After high school, Janina was living three lives. She was studying theater, music and psychology at University of Illinois Chicago; auditioning for everything she possibly could and was a member for Endera – an all girl musical group signed to Cash Money Universal.
All of that work led her to Los Angeles. Janina graciously admits that she found work right away. "I think I had only said 4 lines on TV when I got my first series." She joined the cast of The L Word in its 4th season with the breakout role as Papi, and has done a myriad of TV shows like NCIS, The Cleaner, Grey's Anatomy, Dollhouse, and many others. "I've been infinitely lucky. Hollywood has allowed me to play a wide variety of walks of life."
Janina is a strong creator of various forms of expression and believes in art for art’s sake. As a anomaly amongst the generation of South Asian actors who have had to first pursue traditional fields and put the arts second, Janina can’t wait to see what sort of talent is nurtured from the coming generations who are given the freedom to nurture their passion the way that she was. "They're unstoppable."
Currently Janina is shooting “The Gates” which will premier June 20th on ABC and will take the Desperate Housewives timeslot of Sundays 9pm.