The HUSTLA Series: TV writer and funny woman Nadiya Chettiar

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{The Hustla Series highlights the amazing people who are taking their careers into their own hands and killing it. It is important to note that the purpose of sharing these stories is not so we can imitate their paths (because we all know that’s impossible), but instead hopes to serve as a source of inspiration to keep hustling.}

I first met Nadiya when my boyfriend (now husband) was at theatre school in Halifax. I was incredibly intimidated by her, as I believed everyone at the Dalhousie theatre program was so in tune with their feelings and much more mature than I. But luckily for me, years later we both found ourselves living in Vancouver, and we hit it off as two creative women in the big city just trying to find their footing (sounds like the premise of a great sitcom to me!).

As Nadiya and I laughed and supported each other through a series of jobs (including mine at an activist rag, hers at a planetarium), we had the classic mid-20s discussion of “what are we doing with our lives!? Like REALLY doing?”

Until one day when Nadiya actually had an answer to that question. After years of acting (you may recognize her from THIS role on a show called The Best Years!), she had decided that she wanted to be a television writer. I was thrilled to hear she had come to this decision, but totally at a loss for how one does that.

But Nadiya was not deterred. And as you can guess – she HUSTLED. She enrolled in writing classes and called on some of the writers she met through her acting career to help guide her through the transition. It was at this point that Nadiya’s motto to always “Use work to network, never network to work” really came in handy. Nadiya recalls reaching out to her Best Years showrunner who helped a lot in giving her great advice and when the time was right, he introduced her to more writers and like that her network began to grow. Through a series of coffee dates with working writers Nadiya was not only making great connections, as she points out, she was coming in close contact with her dream. Nadiya attributes these coffee dates as her inspiration to keep going. Because—hey—if it was possible for them, it was possible for her.

They say luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity, and Nadiya certainly proved this to be true. As she continued to hone her writing, eventually a writer she met on a coffee date was able to connect her to a job. Now there was no stopping Nadiya.

Beginning as a Script Coordinator Nadiya began climbing the ranks. And she also kept writing. She kept pushing herself to grow. This led to her getting an agent. And she worked her way up in a writer’s room, and is now a full-fledged writer for TV comedies. She even won her way to the Banff World Media and Television Festival where she got the meet “The Fonz.” I’m talking THE Fonz.

Not only has Nadiya successfully become a TV writer—she’s also been employed non-stop. Going from one contract to the next. No small feat in our small Canadian television industry. But it doesn’t surprise me in the least. Nadiya knew the only way to continue working was to be damn good at her job. So she through herself into it, or as we like to say, she hustled.

Moral of Nadiya’s story? Sometimes HUSTLING means COFFEE DATES!  Well, sorta. Network! Don’t expect to do it all on your own because no one does. And hone your craft as much as you can. And be SO open to failing. And then just don’t quit.

Although I am gutted that her success no doubt means she will eventually be leaving me for the greener pastures of LaLaLand, I am incredibly proud of her perseverance. And may it be a lesson for us all that even the jobs that make you wonder, “How does one even become that?” There IS a way, you just gotta hustle.