Chandra in 2014
(1984-02-28) February 28, 1984
Park Ridge, Illinois
Early life and education
Chandra was born Melanie Kannokada to Malayali Indian parents in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Chandra is a 2nd degree black belt in Shotokan Karate and a two-time bronze medalist in the Pan American games, where she represented the United States in sparring as part of the United States Junior National Karate Team in São Paulo in 2000, Caracas in 2001, and Orlando in 2002.
After high school, Chandra earned a Mechanical Engineering degree from Stanford University. Upon graduation, Chandra initially began working at consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which she left to concentrate on her interest in modeling and acting. She stated that she found the management job “intellectually fascinating” but not something she wanted to do “getting up every morning”.
After her college career, Chandra entered and won the 2007 Miss India America contest. Chandra worked as a model and commercial actress in national and international campaigns for Nescafe, Verizon, Glamour Magazine, P&G, Crocs, Acura, Herbal Essences, LG, and Clinique. In fall 2011, she was selected as one of the five faces of Bare Escentuals international “Be A Force of Beauty” campaign. In fall 2012, she was selected to model in a five-page editorial spread for Vogue India Magazine.
Within a week of moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, Chandra successfully auditioned for guest star role in the CBS hit sitcom Rules of Engagement opposite comedian David Spade. She starred in the CBS show Code Black and has guest starred in ABC Family’s The Nine Lives of Chloe King, NBC’s Parenthood and CBS’s NCIS: Los Angeles. She also had a large recurring role on HBO’s The Brink opposite Jack Black and Aasif Mandvi.
Chandra is also a co-founder of Hospital for Hope, a non-profit providing healthcare services in rural India.
|2011||Rules of Engagement||CBS||Simran||Guest star|
|2011||The Nine Lives of Chloe King||ABC Family||Nikki Amaral||Guest star|
|2012||Parenthood||NBC||Kirstin Mitai||Guest star|
|2013||Writer’s Block||MTV Desi||Vandana||Series regular|
|2014||NCIS: Los Angeles||CBS||Ayesha||Guest star|
|2016||Nashville||ABC||Stephanie Leigh||Guest Star|
|2015–2017||Code Black||CBS||Malaya Pineda||Series regular|
|2017||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||NBC||Lela Samra||Guest star|
|2012||Love Lies and Seeta||Seeta McKinsey||Leading Actress @ Indiefest 2012
Nominated—Best Actress @ World Music and Independent Film Festival
|2013||D for Dopidi||Shalini||Debut Indian Telugu Film |
|2015||For Here or to Go||Shveta|||