Netflix newcomer: prejudices and double standards: “Two in one day” star Ambika Mod on her thorny path to success

The British Netflix production "One Day - Two in One Day" based on the bestseller by David Nicholls has been high in the Netflix charts for weeks.

Netflix newcomer: prejudices and double standards: “Two in one day” star Ambika Mod on her thorny path to success

The British Netflix production "One Day - Two in One Day" based on the bestseller by David Nicholls has been high in the Netflix charts for weeks. The series follows the unlikely friends Emma and Dexter over a period of twenty years. As in the original novel, the two always meet on July 15th of each year, and a lot happens in between: job and city changes, weddings, separations. The friendship endures (almost) anything, and later the two become a couple.

The series lives primarily from the main actress Ambika Mod, who for once is not a conventional over-beauty and whose cool, sarcastic portrayal inspires many. But the path into the film industry was not easy for the young actress. The now 28-year-old initially didn't want to take on the role of Emma, ​​even though she had loved Nicholls' novel as a 13-year-old. "All my life it has been suggested to me that people who look like me don't play leading roles in romantic films. That male actors don't fall in love with people like me," she told Elle.

In another interview, she says that she often felt like an outsider in the industry. Mod, whose parents are from India, grew up watching Bollywood films. "Bollywood stars are objectively among the most beautiful and versatile people in the world, but they receive little appreciation in Western media," she says.

Mod grew up in north London. Since she couldn't get any roles in the theater group at St. Mary's College, she concentrated on stand-up comedy. After a few years in the comedy scene, she began acting, getting her first role in a short film in 2018, followed by smaller appearances in series. It only became known to a wider public in 2022. In the dramedy hospital series This Is Going to Hurt, she played junior doctor Shruti Acharya alongside Ben Whishaw and won the prestigious BAFTA Young Talent Award for the role.

But as a person of color, Ambika Mod says she had to prove herself more than her “One Day” colleague Leo Woodall. In fact, there are many voices online saying that Mod doesn't "fit" the role - Anne Hathaway plays Emma in the 2011 film version. "It's the underlying prejudices that are most dangerous. Especially when there are two characters who are completely comparable and one gets more love than the other. Then you have to look at society and ask, 'Why is this happening?' ", says Mod.

In an interview with the British "Glamour" she is also annoyed by how different the reception of the main characters Emma and Dexter is. Many fans seem to forgive the fact that Dexter is the one with the weak character in the series and makes many mistakes. "Dexter has done much worse than Emma. But we never see him apologize for it. And no one expects him to," laments Mod.

"We just don't give female characters or women in general the same respect as we give male characters," she says. Men would be enhanced by roles in romantic comedies, but women would not. “It’s a twisted double standard that shouldn’t be allowed to exist.”

However, she emphasizes positively that her origins are not discussed in the series: "It's not about Emma's experiences as a young person of color in the eighties and nineties. It's about the relationship with her best friend, growing up and getting older ." It is clear to her that she is now in a special, privileged position. She will continue to fight for better opportunities. “I won’t be on the sidelines anymore,” she says.

On her Instagram, Ambika Mod posted that author David Nicholls sent her a postcard on the first day of filming. His words: "There is no character I care more about than Emma Morley. And I can't think of anyone better than you to embody him."

Sources: Glamour, W Magazine, Elle

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