What can you say about Kiran Rai? Well you can say a lot. From the first minute of talking to Kiran it was obvious how real and humble she was. If we had to put her persona into one word, it would be , "dope." Kiran Rai, most known by her stage name Kay Ray is an actress, host, writer, comedian and the list goes on. She entered the industry with a goal to be a professional actor and maintained a solid following due to her clever viral videos, short films and her naturally humble and fun personality!
Kay Ray's journey in the industry began early when she made the decision right out of high school to not take the traditional desi route. She was planning on going into physiology, but decided to opt out and go into media. She began studying film media writing, audio production, live event production and basically all things film-media related. Working with the brown community first and creating a strong foundation really helped her explore what she really was passionate about - doing more comedy and sharing a platform to talk to others and create a stronger community.
After watching viral videos and seeing the impact early on from some of her favorite pop stars, she knew the effects and reach that social media had. "It's so embarrassing, but I used to watch Justin Bieber and the Jonas Brothers. They used social media and YouTube to reach out to a larger audience." When YouTube came around she realized the power the platform had, stating, "I didn't have to go through an agent or all these people to tell me I'm good enough. I could make content on my own and reach an audience instantly." She made the decision to start YouTube at age 19, but said it took her 5 years to really be confident to get into it. Questioning the social media space was a part of the process, "I didn't see enough people looking like me that I thought it wasn't possible, is there room for me?" After noticing a boost in Youtube personalities emerge, she knew there was space and that all it took was hard work and dedication.
In 2016, Kiran started, "Cha-Da-Cup" a video podcast series that shines light on desi creators, influencers, artists, and politicians. The videos are always fun and really displays Kiran's fun personality as she interacts with her guests.
Cha Da Cup With KayRay FT. Jagmeet Singh (EP. 10)
Although Kiran's family has been very supportive, she explains that the change and understanding of working in the entertainment industry took a little time.
"Our relationship has an open dialogue and not a lot of families have that, it didn't happen over night, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. Explaining certain scenes it can be awkward. I sometimes feel like I'm breaking barriers in my own house."
What Kiran is referring to about , "awkward scenes," is a reference to the web series she stars in, Anarkali. This series is a romantic comedy about three South Asian women born and raised in Toronto navigating love, dating, cultural conflict and family pressures to get arranged marriages. The series is highly relate-able and they just dropped season 3.
"Story telling, film-making, and the arts is so important because we learn through visuals. If it's front of your face, you can't deny it"
ANARKALI WEB SERIES | SEASON 3 EPISODE 1 | HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Kay Ray recently released a parody web series based on "The Bachelorette." A must watch for any desi "bachelor franchise" enthusiast. "We made a mini web series and it's totally a parody, there's no brown bachelorette. We need to show brown people dating on screen and I just want to keep showing it. This was definitely a fun way to show that."
The Brown Bachelorette ~ EP. 1 || KayRay
VEYLEX Question:Kay Ray, what advice would you give any young desi kid out there looking to venture out into media, but is hesitant from societal pressures?
"Our existence is so temporary that there's no point in living a life without purpose and we have so much potential as humans - we're naturally story tellers and its important for us as artists to document what we're doing now because years from now, that's what people are going to look back on and see what kind of life we lived- how did we interact with one another? How did we tell stories? How was our dialogue? How was our behavior? It's all going to be through the arts, through video through music, through film and books. That's important for us to see in the future. When you look at it that way it's so much more powerful and you realize you have much more of a responsibility. Just do you kids "