Actress and producer Melanie Chandra took an atypical path into the world of entertainment. Born to Indian parents and spending her early years living in a suburb of Chicago, she put her curious mind to use studying the piano, modern dance, and Shotokan karate, earning a 2nd degree black belt and competing around the world as part of the US Junior National Karate Team. But it was her knack for physics and mathematics that ultimately led her to Stanford University, where she pursued Mechanical Engineering.
While working in corporate America in NYC, her longstanding curiosity for the craft of acting drew her to enroll in theater and improv courses during her weeknights and weekends. As her love for this field deepened, she decided to leave her cubicle behind and pursue “the dream.” She moved to LA and quickly landed a series of television roles, including large arcs on HBO's THE BRINK and Netflix's BROWN NATION and guest appearances on LAW AND ORDER SVU, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, PARENTHOOD, NCIS LA, AND NASHVILLE.
She is most well known for her critically acclaimed portrayal of first year resident Malaya Pineda on the CBS medical drama Code Black, from 2015-2017.
Melanie can also be seen starring in the indie films FOR HERE OR TO GO (on Netflix) and LOVE LIES AND SEETA, which earned her “Best Actress in a Leading Role” at the IndieFest Film Awards and a “Best Actress” nomination at the World Music and Independent Film Festival. She’s been profiled in the HBO documentary EAST OF Main Street alongside Lucy Lui, Daniel Day Kim, and nine other Asian-Americans in Hollywood and has been a strong advocate for better representation of South Asians in mainstream media.
As a producer, she is passionate about elevating the profile of women, and especially women of color, both as characters on screen and creatives behind the camera, and is currently developing a slate of television projects with that mandate.