Do you remember your first celebrity crush? Depending on your age you could have fallen for Andrew McCarthy, Patrick Swayze, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Joey Lawrence, maybe even Freddie Prinze Jr. or Justin Timberlake? But the new generation is crushing on men of all backgrounds thanks to shows like Bella and the Bulldogs, Bunk’d, Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything, and Liv and Maddie. What’s even better is that these young men are all great role models, which is even more important for this generation with every moment of their lives documented on social media.
We recently had the opportunity to talk to Karan Brar, former star of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Jessie, and current star of Bunk’d. He was taking a break from working on a shed with his father over Memorial Day weekend while he could have easily been chillin’ by a pool with other young Hollywood stars. While he may not have an Indian accent, as he was born in the States, he’s just as sweet and intelligent as the character he plays.
Brar’s character, Ravi Ross, is finally coming into his own this season of Bunk’d. We’re about to see a change in his wardrobe and overall growth in his character. As Brar was the first Indian-American actor to have a regular role on the Disney Channel, we talked about diversity in television, what he’s learned from playing Ravi, and why fans tend not to recognize him on the street. You might be surprised why!
Q&A with Karan Brar
As an Indian-American male on the Disney Channel, would you consider the Disney Channel to be diverse? Or do you think there’s still an imbalance?
Definitely! There’s so much room to grow. There are so many people on the Disney Channel that are already starting to break ethnic and cultural boundaries. Stuck in the Middle is another addition to expanding cultural boundaries. Ravi is another one of that. Whatever we can do so that everyone can relate to someone. There’s always going to be room to grow, to make it more diverse.
Do you think the Disney Channel is more diverse than other networks?
I think it’s a group effort at this point. TV is coming back into its prime and we’re producing so much more content than we did before. Instead of it being a competition, [it should be about] how we can make all of our audiences feel more accepted and [our characters] relatable. I feel Disney is heading in the right direction.
As you are surrounded by a diverse cast, do you think it’s made you a more educated and well-rounded person?
Definitely! For instance, my parents have always wanted me to make as many friends as I could to open up my arms to everyone. When you go out in the real world, you want to have experienced it through another person’s eyes. I learn and hope they can learn through my perspective, too. It especially helps with problems in my life. I will go to friends and ask how they would deal with it. For instance, my sister is more confident than I am. If there’s a situation, she will do it headstrong. My friends will say to sit them down or wait it out.
Speaking of education, you’re involved in a lot of charities, most of them supporting education. Why is that your #1 cause?
Education is something that no one can take away from me. It’s always been important to my family. [My parents are] Indian immigrants and they sacrificed their entire lives to come out here for my sisters and I. The whole goal was a better life for us. I try to repay that through my education. It means so much to me because it helps me understand life so much better. Sometimes you sit at school and you wonder why you’re learning it – I’ve had my fair share of Chemistry finals – but it’s something that every kid should value.