Spotlight: Sara Kiener '06—Since U been gone…to Bollywood!

By Nora Clancy

You’re from West Hartford. What’s it like in Connecticut?

I don’t feel very nostalgic about it. I lived there till I was 18 but I would come and visit Minnesota all the time. I have family here; my parents grew up in St. Louis Park. They met at Camp Ramah, a Jew camp in Wisconsin. Needless to say, they’re divorced now. I went to the same Camp Ramah for five years when I was a little kid…I just don’t feel that connected to [home]. I’m really connected to my parents and my family, but that’s all I go back for. My other friends I visit wherever they are in school. But I don’t go back to, like, party in West Hartford.

How did summer camp treat you?

It’s just like Wet Hot American Summer. I had one roommate who didn’t shower for a month. And then I went to a Camp Ramah in Palmer, Massachusetts. So I guess I am kind of an “east-coast Jew,” but you wouldn’t know if you looked at me. You’d have to have at least 10 conversations with me to really get it, I think.

You spent J-term in Mumbai working in Bollywood. Why Bollywood?

My dad was really into Bollywood. So I started watching, and I thought they were really long but I was really into the dancing and the makeup and the costumes and all that good stuff. I hadn’t been out of the country in five years and I was, like, suffocating. I just found it on jobsabroad.com, and I said: “Okay, I’m gonna take out loans and go.”I just applied for it, and gave them a lot of money. So it didn’t take much. I visited sets, shadowed directors, met photographers, actors and actresses, and went to a Bollywood-styled wedding.

Where did you live?

I lived in a hostel at the University of Mumbai. There was a medical internship at the same time. My roommate was a fashion student from L.A., doing the Bollywood thing too, but more the fashion side.

How did that work out?

I thought she talked a lot. I’m not used to people who are really into half an hour doing makeup. Which is fine, whatever, but totally different than what I get here at Mac. So that was kind of awkward. But it was fun, she would do my makeup too and we would go out.

Did you hit up Bollywood Parties?

Being white, you get automatically invited to everything, anywhere. I met the Bollywood Vin Diesel and the Bollywood Ru Paul, which was awesome. Her name is Bobby Darling, and she was a trip. I went to a Bollywood wedding party. It had an open bar and lots of performers, cross dressing, belly dancers.

You love the singing and dancing of Bollywood—do you have any of these talents?

Only when I’m drinking. I’m a film student, I’m in the media program. That’s just what sets Bollywood apart from all the other movie industries for me. Nothing else has that right now. It’s just really catchy and really pop-ey. I do like to dance. I’m going to start taking belly dancing at Cassandra’s in Minneapolis.

Did you come in wanting to do the media studies major?

I had no idea. I was a religion major, a math major, then psych I thought for like, two days. Then I took Foundations of Media Studies with Clay Steinman, and I knew. A week into it—that was it. I knew I’d study television for four years.

What will you do “the day you graduate?”

Well, I’m applying for an internship in New York City. It’s with a television show. I don’t want to say too much because I probably won’t get it. It wont be my first TV show, either! I worked for Mental Engineering, a local TV show.

In your junior year you missed the deadline to study abroad in Scotland. Had you actually gone, do you think Bollywood still would have happened?

It’s hard to say. I just was feeling really claustrophobic here and I really needed to get out. I was feeling really unworldly, honestly! I just really needed to go—somewhere.

How was Macalester was making you claustrophobic?

It was getting boring. My friendships were getting really tense. But for no other reason than we saw too much of each other. This summer I lived with three friends in a two-bedroom house. It was just crazy. And then like, you know, America. It gets ridiculous and then you have to go.

What are you drinking? Are you a secret wine connoisseur?

I’m drinking some red wine. I picked it because it was half off and I like the label. I’m a secret label lover and cheap wine lover. I like a $12 good wine. There’s one I like. I can’t remember what it’s called—I get it in Stillwater.

What do you do when you aren’t studying film?

We watch Six Feet Under all the time. I have HBO at work and they saw me watching it and gave it to me for my birthday. Then we all got hooked. We get up an hour early to watch it, like everyday.

Have you seen Big Love (HBO’s new series about a Mormon family)?

No. But there was a Mormon in India. He was 26 and a virgin. He was one of the medical interns. It was totally crazy. One night I drunkenly told him that God was dead and that money was the new God, and then I asked him if he was allowed to masturbate.

What was his response?

He said that God frowns upon it, but he understands. He was a sweetie, and my scrabble buddy. He was all about [India], asking everyone questions and trying to learn the language really fast. He was like a puppy, but I don’t know if that’s a Mormon thing or just him.

Besides Mormons in India, what makes you most happy?

I really like when I’ve had four drinks and I’m dancing to something awesome like Kelly Clarkston or R.Kelly.

Kelly Clarkston?

I’ve been a fan since the beginning. I had backstage passes to the American Idol Season One tour. My cousin’s babysitter was best friends with the sixth contestant R.J. So when they came through, since my cousin lives here, he was like “backstage pasess.” I said “What!?” This was when I was a freshman. I was crying and my roommate was like, “You’re lame.”

Did you meet Kelly Clarkston?

I didn’t. It was a big night and there was a producer there, so all the really good artists had to go meet with him. I met RJ, EJ, AJ, Jim, and Nikki—the token idols who the backstage pass people got to meet.

What kind of roommate hates Kelly Clarkston?

Tovah. Do you know Tovah? We are BFs. Put that in writing.