Biography

Biography

Samita Nandy is an author and cultural critic of fame. She holds a Doctorate in celebrity culture from the Department of Media and Information at Curtin University, Australia and is a certified broadcast journalist.

With awards valued at $140,000, her research specializes in fame, history of stardom, and celebrity activism. As a Producer and Director of Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS), author of Fame in Hollywood North, and keynote speaker, Dr Samita Nandy has been publicized in media, including CBC, VICE, Flare, Chatelaine, SUN Media, 24 Hrs, Yahoo! Entertainment and many more. Her Doctoral research on celebrity culture at Curtin University in Australia led to publications in the Celebrity Studies journal and a number of book chapters. She is writing a novel, the first part of a trilogy addressing ways in which women can become celebrity activists in the post-Weinstein era of Hollywood.

Nandy has traveled to different countries that include USA, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, India, Singapore, and China and gained proficiency of diverse cultures and languages.  She holds a modeling background from La Cite in Toronto and she appeared for BizR Love Triangle’s music video of “I Quit” (2005) distributed to MTV and Much Music channel. Her film ‘Frame by Frame: Tushar Unadkat’ (2005) has been screened at Rogers Television and the Centre of Media and Culture in Education at the University of Toronto in Canada; London, Leicester, Birmingham’s fashion shows ‘Asian Connections’ in the UK; and Australia’s Media Asia Pacific conference.

Early life

Born in Toronto, Canada, Samita Nandy moved with her parents to West Bengal, India at seven years of age.  As a child, Nandy was trained in the Indian classical dance Kathak and loved watching Bollywood films. Nandy’s passion for understanding talent within popular culture goes back to her high school years when she indulged in portrait art and acting. The artistic expression formed an integral part of her thirteen years of journey in India while carrying a specific sense of individuality from her birth country, Canada. The artistic inspiration came from her beloved mother Saswati Nandy, who was a beautiful visual and performance artist and a Master’s graduate. Her mother received an offer to be the lead actress in a Bengali film as well as in a dance-theatre on stage but was not able to pursue performance due to social and cultural repression in her family circle. However, her mother offered inspiration to sketch artists, especially film-based talents, act, and perform dance movements in Bollywood celebrity culture. Her tutor Ronita Mukherjee was highly inspirational and motivational in pursuing art that led to her research.

Although she excelled in science at Carmel Convent School and Bidhan Chandra Institution collegiate, she transitioned to English Honours at Durgapur Government College with the goal of developing language and communication for social change. After one year of college, she moved back to Toronto where she continued her education with double honors in Mass Communication and Sociology. She received a number of awards including Ontario Graduate Scholarship of $15000 with which she pursued her Masters in Communication at York University and Ryerson University.

When she was two weeks away from her Master’s defense, her mother tragically passed away.  However, she buried her pain and grief in her mother’s strength and the passions that they both shared.  Within two weeks of her loss, she defended my Masters and got nominated for the best thesis award at York University and chose to strengthen ways to communicate talent as an innate force of life.  She took up broadcast journalism at Seneca College where she was also trained in documentary filmmaking.

Career 2003-2008

Before Nandy could apply for television jobs, she got hired for teaching media and communications at the University of Toronto and then Ryerson University.  In classes, she found herself sharing and supporting the talent and communication of hundreds of students who had creative paths to explore and express something unique to all.

While Nandy was teaching, she shifted from portrait art to biography films.  She launched Premiere Cinematic Productions and directed and produced a documentary that portrayed media and arts personality Tushar Unadkat in popular culture.  The film Frame by Frame: Tushar Unadkat focused on his talent as well as the social and personal context in which he broke boundaries and started to shine on his path.  The biography, like her portraits, spoke with a visual language that aesthetically overlapped with symbols of celebrity culture and was situated in contexts in which popular recognition often forms.

The journey in creating and understanding her portrait art of celebrities and biographies demanded further attention in relation to fame. She took up teaching communications and media at Curtin University in Perth, Australia in 2009 and decided to examine the interplay of media, governments, fans and celebrities and map implications of specific fame-based practices in her Doctoral research there. In addition to teaching, Nandy received two full-time grants valued at $120,000 at Australia’s Curtin University in 2008 and completed her doctorate for successfully completing her research in 2012.

2008–2012

After her Doctoral research in Australia, Samita Nandy saw both the academic and public demand for critical knowledge of celebrities and started working on publishing her findings in a number of book chapters and Celebrity Studies journal. She particularly observed that a number of celebrity studies scholars were inspired to make a significant difference in the media and the public sphere.  On her way to receive her Doctorate certificate, she attended the Routledge journal Celebrity Studies inaugural conference in Melbourne, where she chaired a panel and discussed the launch of Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS) with her colleagues and Ph.D. examiner Professor David P. Marshall. When she returned to Toronto, she set up CMCS with the inspiration to apply theoretical perspectives and methodological concerns, and enable social change that academic teaching and research seek.

Career 2012–present

Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS)

The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS) is an international organization and research network that helps coordinating academic research and media commentaries on celebrity culture. CMCS carries a pedagogical philosophy that inspires integration of high-quality research and media skills training in academic and public discourses of fame.  The centre believes in intellectual, aesthetic, and ethical values of bridging gaps in higher education and media industries.  Using the critical lens of celebrity studies, CMCS helps in coordinating research, publications, productions, and commentaries to mobilize informed opinions in media.

CMCS developed in response to needs that faculty, students and media professionals have expressed over the years: to bridge gaps between higher education and media. Since its launch in 2012, CMCS has developed as the only international network examining celebrity culture and other forms of popular art through research and media. In a period of 5 years, CMCS has grown with close to 3000 members that seek and demand the same needs through conferences, publications, and media commentaries. Today, CMCS has grown into one of the most trusted and valuable organizations that give a much-needed voice to both academic and media institutions.

A brief version of Samita Nandy’s CV/resume can be accessed herehttp://samitanandy.com/curriculum-vitae