Ishika Muchhal: Press Kit
Ishika Muchhal (she/her) is an Indian American, LA-based actor, singer, dancer, writer and director.
She is pursuing her BFA in Acting at CalArts ('23), a Lillian Disney Scholar. A California Arts Council "Individual Artist Fellow" and an International Honor Thespian, she has over 70 plays, musicals, films, voiceovers, ads, & competitions to her name, both in English and Hindi.
Theatrical highlights include Edinburgh Festival Fringe (2019), King Lear at A Noise Within (2017), and the world premiere of "The Fig and the Wasp" at CalArts Walt Disney Modular Theater (2021).
A bold advocate for representation, Ishika hosts an interview series called A QISSAA with Ishika: Quintessential and Inspiring Stories of South Asian Artists. This project is the focus of her California Arts Council "Individual Artist Fellow" grant.
Ishika fell in love with the performing arts at age three, training in multiple styles of acting since age 9, singing since 12, and dancing since 5 (performing her 2-hour solo Bharatanatyam dance recital, or Arangetram, in 2018). She strives to use the arts to intersectionally address social issues.
Beyond performance, Ishika is an avid writer, with published, award-winning poetry, creative writing and journalism. She is heavily involved in community and organizational advocacy, leadership, campaigning & volunteering. She has worked with Rotary, National Women's Political Caucus, American Cancer Society, UNICEF, Our Community LA, Foothill Unity Center, and more.
Ishika loves watching movies & TV, listening to music, taking photos, designing, traveling, organizing, & making puns!
Ishika is incredibly hard-working, creative, and takes her training seriously. I was so impressed by the level of passion she has for acting and how she backs that up with dedication and hard work. Ishika has the talent to play a wide range of character types, i.e. dramatic, heightened, comedic, naturalistic/contemporary. [In her sonnet], Ishika did an excellent job of physical and vocal transformation. It was a powerful performance. [In Angels in America], Ishika dove right in and bravely confronted the emotional intensity of the scene. She brought passion & sincerity. ~ Chi-Wang Yang, Acting Teacher at CalArts
I saw The Fig and the Wasp last night and was absolutely FLOORED by you. You showed grace, strength, power, emotion, range, everything that a leading woman can be. You are a force of nature. Congratulations and I pray that you are proud of the mic you just dropped. You are what the Arts needs in this world. Never ever stop."
~ B. K. Dawson, CalArts Staff
"[Ishika] and her partner created a wonderfully nuanced filmed version of their scene from Measure for Measure. The editing overall had a natural syntax, peppered with intelligent cinematic choices highlighting the characters’ perspective. She found intensity in stillness and restraint in the first section of the scene, allowing her to expand more fully and surprisingly at climactic later moments. Her final monologue as Angelo was ... spontaneous, dynamic, emotionally transparent AND full of physical detail."
~ Lars America Jan, Director and Studio Teacher at CalArts
"Jhansi Ki Rani, played by Ishika Muchhal, is an Indian warrior queen ... the first woman of Indian royalty to learn the art of self-defense. ... The effort to dismantle gender roles in Indian culture is effectively portrayed in Muchhal’s performance."
~ Jaelyn Decena, The Cougar Chronicle
"Designer, Juliana Romero and Movement Artist, Sky Spiegel have created this piece in collaboration with the three performers Yunni Lin, Ishika Muchhal and Mady Thornquest. These students bring experience in a wide range of dance forms and performance to create a coherent style of movement that represents their explorations into the abstract concepts of Estés. ... it makes for a delightful visual experience."
~ Richard Beck, Broadway Baby
"Ishika has a lot to offer. She is patient and a giving scene partner. Along with her emotional intelligence, she engaged imagination to use intuitive impulses and create specific images.”
~ Mirjana Jokovic, Actor and Studio Teacher at CalArts
"She was remarkable in her final. Graceful, expansive, pure, peaceful, finding a rawness at her edges. I think her work in both [The] Fig [and the Wasp] and what I saw in class, touched a new trust in Ishika. I saw her own the moment to moment, filling it deeply and to its edges to inform the next moments. Great work."
~ Anthony Nikolchev, Actor & Movement Teacher at CalArts
"I was deeply impressed with Ishika's artistry and the mastery of her craft. I wish I could have captured the positive energy in the auditorium that evening and focused it on a special target--world peace, perhaps. What a gift she is to the world!"
~ Steve Baker, Monrovia City Historian & Treasurer
"You are more than an actor. You are an artist and creator. I see you think about theater and your work like a live painting. I'm excited to see where this work takes you."
~ Kalean Ung, Actor & Voice Teacher at CalArts (Barrantes System)
“Ishika, you have an especially expressive, beautiful face! We can see how much you love your craft and performing. The moments in which you tap into authentic feelings are so riveting! You really stay in each moment and live there, which is lovely. You have an excellent connection to the storytelling and you understand your character. It was a delight to watch and hear you!”
~ Spotlight Review, Music Center
"What I admire most in Ishika is that she has consciously worked to break down her own perceived barriers of language and expression. In the summer of 2017, Ishika worked on creating a dance piece that explores specific sociopolitical issues of stereotyping. Ishika materialized for herself a distinctly radical approach—the ability to intertwine text, rhythm, gesture, movement, footwork, expression, and props while drawing from her classical training in Bharatanatyam. Ishika is alert to learnable moments, allowing herself to recognize new pathways that lead to different world views. Ishika chooses to actively realize her aspiration, flourishing into a thorough young artist with a unique voice of her own. [She is] a young woman of exceptional talent and creativity with a commitment to shaping more just communities-- It’s truly a rare and powerful combination. I believe Ishika has gone above and beyond in her efforts to understand the world around her and artistically respond to it.”
~ Dr. Elizabeth Kurien, Bharatanatyam dancer & teacher (Indian classical dance)
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) BFA in Acting ‘23
Contemporary & classical acting for stage and screen
Rafael-Lopez Barrantes Voice system: air, metal, wood, earth, water
Speech: IPA, Standard American Stage Speech, Edith Skinner, dialects training
Movement: Yoga, Masks, Contact Improv, Capoeira, Alexander Tech., Choreography
Dance: Bharatanatyam (13 yrs), Bollywood, Musical Theater, beg. Jazz, Hip-Hop, Latin
Singing: Pop/Rock, R&B, Musical Theatre, Western Classical, Indian Classical, Jazz
Improv: Fancy Hobo Improv Troupe: Short form games, genre-based long form
Languages: fluent in English & Hindi; some basic Spanish
Accents: Californian, Indian, British RP, Standard American, basic Texan
Voiceover: commercial, audiobook, animation, educational, wellness, dramatic
Production: Producing, Directing, Video & Sound Editing, Public Relations, Photography
Other: Anchoring, Emceeing, US Passport, Driver’s License, Crutches, basic Indian Drums