8 things to know about Singaporean actress Anjana Vasan

The London-based theatre and TV actress recently bagged the prestigious Olivier Award for her role in We Are Lady Parts.

Farhana Subuhan

A punctuation enthusiast who thinks misplaced apostrophes are a crime.

Published: 6 April 2023, 1:40 PM

London-based Singaporean actress Anjana Vasan bagged the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role on Sunday (Apr 2), becoming the first Singaporean to do so.

The annual Olivier Awards recognises excellence in professional theatre in the United Kingdom and Anjana won the award for her role as Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Here are eight facts you may not know about the theatre and TV actress:

1. She is a National University of Singapore alumna

Anjana completed her undergraduate degree in the National University of Singapore (NUS).

An alumna of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, she pursued a degree in Theatre Studies before relocating to the United Kingdom to complete her masters.


Formerly from Chennai, India, Anjana moved to Singapore when she was four.


Following her relocation, Anjana graduated with a Master of Arts in Acting from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2012 before starring in her first film, Sir Kenneth Branagh’s Macbeth.

2. She had her first professional acting gig in Singapore

Anjana was still an undergraduate in NUS when she received her first professional acting gig in Singapore.

In an interview with The British Blacklist, she shared that her debut was in a staging of Eugène Ionesco’s 1959 play, Rhinoceros. However, she put too much pressure on herself, leading to her being “terrified and overwhelmed during rehearsals”.


Anjana said that she second-guessed her instincts and let her nerves get the better of her during her first acting gig. PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM/@ANJVASAN


While Anjana received one negative review for her performance, she shared that she is still “grateful for the experience” as it prompted her to be professionally trained.

3. She was nominated for the prestigious BAFTA award in 2022

The Olivier Awards isn’t the only award that recognised Anjana’s works.

The actress earned a nomination at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) in 2022 for her role as Amina Hussain in the British television series, We Are Lady Parts.

Nominated for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme, Anjana was up against actresses Aimee Lou Wood from Sex Education and Rose Matafeo from Starstruck.


At the Independent Spirit Awards, Anjana was nominated for the Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series. PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM/@ANJVASAN


She also received several nominations in other awards shows for her role in We Are Lady Parts — Gotham Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, National Comedy Awards and the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

4. She played the lead role in We Are Lady Parts

Anjana got her first breakthrough in television through the British comedy series, We Are Lady Parts. 

The series follows an all-female Muslim punk band called Lady Parts as they navigate their music career, personal relationships and cultural identity. In the sitcom,

Amina Hussain (played by Anjana) is fronted as Lady Parts’ new lead guitarist, where the women operate on their own terms.


Other cast members include Sarah Kameela Impey, Juliette Motamed, Lucie Shorthouse, and Faith Omole. PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM/@LAURARADFORD_STILLS


The sitcom also explores themes of gender, sexuality, religion and culture, offering a fresh perspective on the experiences of young Muslim women living in London.

5. She starred in the British spy thriller series Killing Eve

Anjana has also made a brief appearance as Pam, Hélène’s newest recruit in Killing Eve. 

The show follows the cat-and-mouse game between a talented but bored MI5 security officer named Eve Polastri (played by Sandra Oh) and a psychopathic assassin named Villanelle (played by Jodie Comer).

In its fourth and final series, Pam expresses her desire to to be an assassin-in-training in a bid to escape her abusive family.

6. She made a cameo appearance in Spider-Man: Far From Home

Anjana made a cameo appearance as a Queens reporter in the 2019 Marvel superhero film, Spider-Man: Far From Home.


In the film, she can be seen interviewing Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland), along with a group of journalists.PHOTO CREDIT: IMDB


Anjana also made appearances in other mainstream productions, playing a maid in Cinderella, a space officer in an episode of Black Mirror and a protestor in Sex Education.

7. She experiences something “close to stage fright” in theatre plays

Anjana may have over a decade of experience in theatre plays, but she still faces something “close to stage fright” every now and then.

In an interview with Gold Derby, she revealed that while her fear was “never debilitating”, there were times especially during theatre plays when she would question if she could do the job.


Anjana played the role of Niru in A Doll’s House, who is married to a British colonial official, Tom. PHOTO CREDIT: ALASTAIR MUIR


She added that there were also days she felt that being a theatre actress “felt weird”, having to go on stage and speak to hundreds of people.

8. She is also a singer and songwriter

Apart from being a television and stage actress, Anjana also takes pride in being a singer and songwriter.

Following her 2017 debut Extended Play (EP) Too Dark for Country, she released her first album, Strange Country Jukebox, in 2021.

Her album comprises eight songs that she describes as “some sad, some funny and some a bit of both”.


Her album was also available on vinyl record. PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM/@ANJVASAN


Some of the songs in the album are also dedicated to her grandmother and to her younger self.

In an Instagram post, Anjana revealed that the album was created at a low and anxious point in her life and that “the process of creating it kept [her] sane”.

You may like these