“Punam Patel may be a brown, curvy woman on the surface, but fans of her character Kim on Netflix’s short-form comedy Special see her as a woman with a tender heart and the roar of a lion.”
“It’s important to remind people that you can be confident, and still doubt yourself,” Patel says. “In season two, you get to meet Kim’s family, and see that she has struggles with her identity.”
In real life, Patel’s parents were immigrants who owned and ran a convenience store in Vero Beach, Fla. She says their hard work allowed her to attend a local private school before getting a journalism degree from the University of Florida.
“Now that I’m making my way in this world, and see that I can represent people, I’m really active in anything for Southeast Asians,” Patel says. “I’ve done work with Act to Change, and am part of The Salon Mentorship Program. As for what’s ahead, because of Special, people can see what I’m capable of. But no matter what, the reward is so great when I know I’ve made people feel something.”