Mannu Sandhu is no stranger to the Lower Mainland’s modelling and media community. In addition to a modelling and acting career in a number of pageants and local film projects, recently she has made the transition to the budding Punjabi Film Industry with the film “Saadi Wakhri Hai Shaan”. Mannu also actively contributes to a number of local charities and community initiatives. We sat down with Mannu and traced her unique journey.
Early Modelling Influence
I was born in India and immigrated to Canada at the age of fourteen. My mom encouraged me to take coaching lessons from a model in India at the age of eleven. In Canada it all started with an Indian wedding show at the Sheraton where I took part owing to this coaching experience. My confidence built after that and I started taking part in various pageants. I took a break to complete my studies. I have a degree in Political Science and I work as a Corrections Officer. From the last five years I am back on the ramp. It started as a hobby and now it is a passion and an active career. I participated in many pageants locally and provincially. Last year I competed nationally for the Miss Universe Canada pageant and made it to the top 20.
My acting career began with “Footsteps into Gangland”. It was a very natural transition for me as a model. My experience with modelling prepared me to face the camera with confidence. I have been very lucky to work with professional artists and crew with all my productions.
The Balancing Act
With a full time job, a modelling and acting career plus the charity work it can be tough to keep the balance. I try to keep my priorities straight and be focussed. My employers are very accommodating and understanding of my modelling career and have always been very supportive. My family is very encouraging so that’s a bonus. I also have a bunch of really close and supportive friends.
Community and Volunteering
Contributing to the community is very important for me. I volunteer with a number of community initiatives and charities. I am actively involved with Mannkind Charity. With them I have travelled to Baru Sahib in India. I volunteer with them on many initiatives. I also fundraised for SOS Children’s village as part of the Miss Universe Canada Pageant.
I won the National Award for raising funds for Nicaragua to build computer centres at a school. I hope to visit it one day. My family and Corrections Branch BC also participated actively in the fundraising. I feel contributing to the society adds a lot of meaning to my work.
It might be big or small; each project I take on is precious for me.
My modelling assignments take a lot of my time. I am working on my second feature film; Saadi Vakhri Hai Shaan. The film is releasing in September. Being a Surrey resident I feel very proud of representing my community and I am also touched by the overwhelming support. After shooting in Punjab for a few months, shooting in BC commenced in May. I also have a Hollywood production in the pipeline and several other projects. In addition to my career on the screen and the runway I also focus on my charity work.
When I commit to a project I give it my hundred percent. People who work with me can vouch for my commitment and passion.
I am also looking at opportunities to work with youth who are committed and passionate but do not often have the support system to follow their dreams.