Exclusively for @ouchmagazineny
Nurse is a new series you star in on NBC. Why do you think medical shows are still so popular in today's culture?
I think we are still drawn to medical dramas, in the same way we’ve been drawn to procedurals, because of the relatability of the stories. We wonder what our reaction might be under the given situations of an episode. When patients come in with either unexpected news or known ailments, I think we all understand it could very well be ourselves. No one is above getting ill or having an accident happen to them. Maybe we’ve been in similar situations in our own lives, or known someone in our family or community who has found themselves in a hospital. And as we know in life, we don’t always get a happy ending, so we’re gripped to the stories and the outcome. We want the patients to win because we want ourselves and our loved ones to win. When they pass away or get news that isn’t what they hoped for, we mourn with them. It opens up our empathy, compassion, and connects us to the community around us through these universal stories and I think that’s why we always watch them.
Do you have any medical background or had you ever wanted to be a doctor or nurse?
I actually have a degree in Cell Biology and Genetics. I grew up on an island off the coast of Vancouver. No one in my family was in entertainment. I didn’t know what to do with my life at 17 and I was applying to universities and deciding which program to get into. My mom is a nurse in real life and I had always admired her selflessness and the impact she made on people everyday. I thought “Hey, I’ll be a doctor then and do the same thing.” That’s really how I chose Biology as my program. However, I had been an artist my whole life and began acting at 14. It took going to university and feeling this emptiness to realize that acting is what I wanted to pursue as a career.
What is the most challenging thing about playing a nurse or doctor? Are you grossed out easily like I am? (smile)
One thing about me is I rarely get grossed out by the human body. I’ve realized from past events that I strangely get really calm if a friend accidentally hurts themselves or something and needs help. I get hyper focused to assist. I may freak out after like “oh my god that just happened.” But I tend to be pretty calm in the moment. I think the most challenging thing about playing a nurse is not getting too emotionally invested in your patients.
What did you do to prepare for the role?
I didn’t do much to prepare. I was surprised at how much I had absorbed from growing up with a mother who is a nurse. I instinctively knew the story I wanted to share and didn’t even ask her for any pointers. The only thing I asked my mom was “Can a nurse have their nails painted” as I knew Nazneen is very feminine in her self expression. That was it. The rest was an intuitive process.
How do you stay in shape and healthy? Any tips?
I’ve always been someone who works out but it always morphs and I definitely take breaks and then get going again. When I was filming season two of nurses this year, I was working out four times a week. Then I got home and I stopped over the holidays. That being said, I go for walks almost everyday since I’ve been home. I’m always moving my body. I’m now gearing up to get back into working out again. I end up missing it. I eat very healthy at home. A simple tip I’d say is cut out refined sugars, like sodas, and then go from there. After you get used to that, start cutting out processed foods as much as you can. Figure out what kind of foods you love to eat, and I promise you there’s a healthy recipe out there you can google that is just as tasty. And it’s important to understand why you’re doing it. I do it because my energy levels sky rocket, my sleep quality is way better, and I’m in an overall better mood. This job can be stressful, so it’s important to prioritize my physical and mental health. For myself, cooking is a big part of that. It also helps to create structure in my day because I’m working around my meals.
What is your favorite food? And the best dish you can cook yourself?
Right now, my favorite meal is a bed of wild rice with sautéed vegetables and organic chicken thighs. My body sings whenever I make it and I have steady energy for hours.
What other plans and projects should we look out for in 2021-2022?
I am heading off to film an independent film in Regina in a week. I’ll share details of the project when I can.
How can fans reach you?
I’m only on Instagram at sandysid. Thanks for your time.