“Mean Girls” easily became a cult classic, now a movie whose scenes and quotes are widely referenced in memes and in daily conversation among friends. Released about 12 years ago, the movie is a wide success and many of its actors such as Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, Lizzy Caplan, and Jonathan Bennett (to name a few) went on to becoming household names.
So, we bet you’ll never guess which actor became an artist, having studied all sorts of things such as pottery, painting, drawing, and even music theater in high school. Any deductions? That’s right – Mean Girls’ resident mathlete and master rapper “Kevin Gnapoor” (real name Rajiv Surendra) went from writing equations to writing beautiful calligraphy on mainly chalkboards.
In an interview with Architectural Digest, Rajiv explained how he got into typography and chalk art in the first place. “Someone gave me a bunch of old letters from the 1800s.I just remember being so floored by how beautiful the handwriting was. I took those letters to elementary school, and I would copy the letterforms when we had to do handwriting exercises. By the time I was 15 or 16, my script looked similar to that script.”
Having studied the art by himself and in school, Rajiv never really stopped acting either. “As the popularity of Mean Girls was growing over the years, I was interested in pursuing a career in acting, but it was just very, very hard to actually land roles,” he explained. In fact, he even auditioned for the role of Pi Patel in Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi,” a role that ultimately went to Suraj Sharma.
This all came after the Life of Pi’s director Ang Lee went with Suraj Sharma. Yes, Rajiv felt devastated, but he moved on from that with his art. “I got a job at a paper store in downtown Toronto where I actually bought paper for calligraphy. I was lethargically dragging myself through life, and I was talking to the manager one day,” he recalled.
“She knew I did calligraphy and said, ‘We should have a calligraphy event in the store where whatever customers buy, for one day only, they can bring it to your table and you can do calligraphy on it.’ So we did that, and it was a huge success,” he continued. “There was a line outside the store, and there was a wedding planner in that line. When she saw what I was doing, she was like, ‘Why aren’t you doing this full-time?’”
Prior to all of this, the actor turned artist often received questions to which he had no answer to. “People would often stop me and say, ’Oh, what else have you done?’ and the answer was always nothing. And they’re like, ’Why, you were so good in Mean Girls?’ and the answer was, ’Well, it wasn’t for lack of trying. Trust me, I’ve been trying.’ All the while, I continued to do my other hobbies.”
Born in Toronto, Canada in 1989, this multi-talented man does a lot of amazing art in many forms. From white chalk to the classic pen and paper, and even the traditional yet gorgeous method of henna (or mehndi), Rajiv does it all.
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And if you’re curious, here’s what he looks like right now!
On his website, he writes: “Hand-written correspondence is beginning to have such a special role in this digital world we live in. If anything, I hope I have inspired you to turn off your computer, put aside your cell phone, and perhaps write down a few words to someone you care about — the old fashioned way — with letters in ink.”
And as such, he named his company after it. Letters In Ink is his calligraphy / social media name.
Thanks so much for reading!