Whether he’s portraying a dangerous gang leader on CBS’s CRIMINAL MINDS: BEYOND BORDERS or playing a reserved young professional wrestling with his identity in the award-winning digital series THESE THEMS, Shaan Dasani’s versatility as an actor shines through.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Dasani’s love for theatrics was established at an early age. He began writing and acting at 9 years old, often performing for his large immigrant family at birthdays, weddings and festive occasions.
Being an Indian-American growing up in the American South, as well as a middle child, Shaan gravitated towards storytelling as a way of carving out his own path. But it wasn’t until later in life, when he came to embrace his identity as a transgender man, that Shaan was able to integrate all facets of himself to add a complexity and depth to his work as an artist.
In 2019, Shaan was selected to participate in the prestigious ABC Discovers South Asian actor workshop. He was also cast as one of the lead characters in the award- winning digital series THESE THEMS (dir. Jett Garrison). Shaan’s work as a comedic actor is best showcased in digital series ALIVE IN DENVER (dir. Matt Kazman) and Rain Valdez’s RAZOR TONGUE.
Shaan’s TV credits include CRIMINAL MINDS: BEYOND BORDERS (CBS), EAT YOUR WORDS (Netflix), DOOMSDAY: 10 WAYS THE WORLD ENDS (The History Channel), and GLEE (FOX). He has starred in commercials for GOOGLE and WELLS FARGO, which played in both domestic and international markets.
On stage, Shaan was cast as the lead in The Blank Theater’s THE NOT LESBIANS (dir. Michael A. Shepperd), and in TeAda Productions’ movement ensemble piece, GLOBAL TAXI DRIVER (dir. Leilani Chan). He is a two-time performer at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, taking the stage in back-to-back years: first in an original interpretation of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (dir. Casey Kringlen) and then portraying E.Q. in award-winning playwright Sean Graney’s absurdist dark comedy, PORNO DIDO (dir. Heather Tyler).
Driven by a passion to merge art with social impact, Shaan has performed with activist theater groups such as Artists Rise Up Los Angeles and #Every28Hours, a Watts Village Theater Company project addressing the frequency of African American murders by the police. On screen, Shaan was featured in the BONOBOS #EvolveTheDefinition campaign, which sought to jumpstart a conversation around masculinity and the narrow cultural definitions under which men operate in the world.
Dasani is trained in improv from the world-renown Upright Citizens Brigade and has studied audition technique and scene study with Sue Hamilton and Rain Valdez.
He is a true multi-hyphenate who also knows the art of storytelling from behind the camera.
Before making the leap into the professional acting world, Shaan received his MFA in Film Production from Chapman University and went on to produce & and direct over 30 short films, commercials, and music videos, including a short film—screened live in front of 40,000 fans—for Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman’s Indo-Peace concert held in Australia. More on his production work can be found at www.KarmaTheoryFilms.com.
He is a member of the Director’s Guild of America, as well as the Screen Actor’s Guild.