On the morning of her Vogue shoot, Anjana Vasan joins me on Zoom from her home in north-west London. Flanked by houseplants and bathed in the dappled sunshine of early spring, the 34-year-old actor is a picture of serenity. Thoughtful and assured, she is a world away from the hilariously jittery, fast-talking, husband-hunting, east London-dwelling student she plays in Channel 4’s We Are Lady Parts, a riotous comedy that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.

The brainchild of the writer-director Nida Manzoor, the six-part sitcom centres on an all-female Muslim punk band who are in desperate need of a lead guitarist. It hinges on a quintet of note-perfect performances: Sarah Impey as Saira, a grungy butcher-turned-singer; Juliette Motamed as Ayesha, a surly drummer who moonlights as an Uber driver; Lucie Shorthouse as band manager Momtaz, who vapes from behind her niqab and has a day job in a lingerie shop; and Faith Omole as Bisma, a bassist and purveyor of feminist graphic novels.

They find what they’re missing in Amina, a PhD student and sometime musician brought to life with giddy comic brilliance by Vasan. “In other shows, you’d think it was incredible just to see one of these characters, but here, it’s all of them,” says Vasan, whose sparkling brown eyes and general exuberance make her seem at least a decade younger than her years. “I never thought the part of a brown nerd who loves folk and country music would exist for me.”

Born in India and brought up in Singapore, she had a brief stint as a club singer before moving to the UK for drama school (“I got my indefinite leave to remain this year,” she later beams). Roles on stage – A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe in 2016 – and screen – Sex Education, Mogul Mowgli – followed, though Vasan admits she got used to playing supporting parts. “I’ve done the understudy thing and a play that literally dozens of people saw,” she adds, laughing. “It was only over a year ago that I had my first lead part.”



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