Ambreen Razia’s Ted Lasso Character Was Inspired By A Reem Reality Show
And what job she dreamed of before acting was in the frame.
Ambreen Razia is booked and busy. As well as The Curse Season 2 and Starstruck Season 3, both slated for release later this year, she’s ready for the world to get to know her “chaotic” and “mad” character in Ted Lasso’s newly released series. Like Juno Temple’s Keeley, Shandy Fine is a former glamour model who joins Keeley’s new PR firm, set on a career change, with a penchant for Drama. “She’s very mad. Funny. Very Essex,” Razia tells me, laughing. “I would say things on set sometimes and Jason [Sudeikis] wouldn’t quite get the Essex-ness but he definitely just went with it.” But there’s also another level to Shandy, too, a far more vulnerable side. “She’s also insecure and desperate to make her new career work. It is difference between whether she’s going to have a roof over her head or have food on the table.”
To prepare for the role of Shandy, Razia had a pretty unique method which, frankly, I’m so here for. “I re-watched a lot of Season 1 and Season 2 of TOWIE, just to get into and absorb the ‘Essex girl’ mindset,” she says, smiling. “It was both inspiring and pretty fun!”
Though now she’s starred in Murdered By My Father, Starstruck, and The Curse, Razia didn’t exactly have acting aspirations. Working at a local salon on Saturdays, Razia wanted to become a hairdresser, but at parents’ evening one year her drama teacher told Razia’s mum that she had to give acting a go. And so she did. “I went to college, did drama and I loved it so much that I did a stage and screen course at university too, and I just fell in love with it.”
After leaving university, Razia turned to community theatre and worked with schools, prisons, and survivors of domestic abuse, which is where she was inspired to create her debut one-woman show, The Diary Of A Hounslow Girl on a shoestring budget. “I put the show on for £500. And next thing I know, it was sold out for the four days it was running.” The show was so successful that it got picked up by Black Theatre Live and toured across 20 venues in the UK, and was also adapted to television by BBC Three. “I wrote the show because I needed representation on-screen. I wanted to see a young Muslim girl at the forefront of a story that was positive, funny, bold, and represented the excitement of coming-of-age,” she explains.
It is a theme that has carried through to her most recent play, Favour, which focuses on the stories of three generations of British Asian women and tackles issues of duty, addiction, and motherhood. So beyond Ted Lasso, there’s lots to come from Razia yet.
Learn more about Razia in her Bustle Booth questionnaire below.
In The Bustle Booth
What's your coffee order?
Oat milk latte – extra hot.
What are the saved weather locations on your phone?
London, Edinburgh, California.
What’s your sign?
Favourite overused movie quote?
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” (From Network).
What was your favourite cartoon as a kid?
Johnny Bravo, definitely fancied him.
What’s one movie or TV show you're currently obsessed with?
Who is your celeb idol?
Ken Loach and Tina Turner, they should work together!
If you had to be on a reality TV show, what would it be?
Can’t do it, sorry.
Go-to karaoke song?
Tevin Campbell – “Can We Talk.”
What’s something that’s inspiring you lately?
Shooting Season 2 of The Curse, working alongside a pregnant Emer Kenny in boiling hot Spain bossing every scene!
What is something you would want people to say about you?
“Ambreen? Oh yeah she smells lovely when you hug her.”