Fans of The Vampire Diaries know Tiya Sircar as Season 2’s ill-fated Aimee Bradley. Today, the actress is celebrating this month’s DVD release of The Internship. Starring alongside Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, Sircar makes a splash as overachieving Google intern Neha Patel. We chatted with the rising star to get the scoop on the incredible Google campus, guilty pleasures (read: shoes), and what you’ll catch her in next!
Betty Confidential: We’ve been obsessed with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson since Wedding Crashers. What was it like to work with them?
Tiya Sircar: Well, it was a pretty surreal experience. I’m a huge fan of both of them individually and together- I’m a huge fan of Wedding Crashers. So, to get to actually work with them in a comedy was unreal but so fantastic. To watch them improv and sort of riff off each other, they can kind of do it indefinitely -and it’s always funny. They’re amazing teachers.
BC: What did you learn from the experience?
TS: Well, it was like a crash course in comedy school. I had very little improv experience before doing the movie, so for me it was sort of like just getting thrown into the deep end of improvisational comedy. But I had the these amazing teachers, Vince and Owen, and then also the guys, Josh Brener and Tobit Raphael, and Dylan O’Brien. They’re all so skilled in improv that I was initially very intimidated and daunted by it but once we started shooting it was fun and funny and it was how improv should be. And Shawn Levy is about the best director an actor can work with, he was just wonderful. So, it was just a great learning experience and also just a great life experience as well.
BC: Can you tell us a little about your character?
TS: Yeah, so I play Neha Patel who is a smarty pants; she’s an overachiever, a real type A personality. She knows what she wants out of life and she knows what she has to do to get it, which is to study hard and apply herself and excel. But she doesn’t necessarily have the most real life experience. She’s got it all down-put on the academic side of things but she’s lacking in life experience. She feels like she has to overcompensate by talking a big game like she’s so experienced in the ways of men and it turns out she’s not so experienced. I think Neha’s relationships with Billy and Nick–Vince and Owen’s characters– make her realize maybe she doesn’t have it all figured out and maybe there’s more to life than just excelling in academia. They make her realize that she’s fine just how she is, that she doesn’t have to pretend to be something she’s not.
BC: Can you relate to her?
TS: You know, I can in some ways. I wasn’t this girl in high school or college but I’m an Indian-American girl who’s a kid of Indian immigrant parents so I fully know the pressures of needing to be the best and make the best grades and go to the best schools and get multiple degrees –my parents are both professors and they both have many degrees each, so I know that world, but I didn’t actually participate in it all the way. I definitely can relate to her in that she has the same insecurities that a lot of teenage girls have; I might not have them in the same way that she does but I understand them.
BC: Was the Google campus as amazing as we think it is?
TS: A hundred percent, no hesitation. It’s so incredible. I know it’s real –I’ve been there– but it still is hard to believe that this place exists on this planet. You go and everything’s free, there are juice bars, there are sushi bars, there are nap pods for people to nap and rest up and be productive. Oh! We had this experience–we were exploring the Google campus and I don’t think we were supposed to be doing that, but we took it upon ourselves to go and check things out. It was a weekday afternoon at like 2 o’clock and we happened upon this little bowling alley in one of the buildings on Google campus and it was full of maybe 15 to 20 Google employees bowling and drinking beer… during the work day. If I didn’t want to do my job so badly, I would definitely try and find a way to somehow get hired at Google.
Up next: Fashion, guilty pleasures + more!