7 Facts About "Woman in the House" Star Janina Gavankar

Getty | Matt Winkelmeyer

Janina Gavankar's acting portfolio is very impressive, to say the least. Whether you know her from "The Morning Show," are a big fan of her character Ren Bhullar on ABC's thriller series "Big Sky," or have been following her since her days as Luna Garza on "True Blood," you know how seriously talented she is. And thanks to the powers that be — aka Netflix — the actress has returned to our screens in Netflix's new dark comedy series "The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window."

For those unfamiliar (you're seriously missing out, just saying), Gavankar has been acting for nearly the last two decades; Papi in "The L Word" was her first big recurring role. But Gavankar is way cooler and more talented than her acting credits let on. Like, did you know she's a classically trained percussionist and vocalist? Or that she was among the first people — and believed to be the first actress — to join Twitter? She's also one of Meghan Markle's really close friends. Keep reading to learn more about Gavankar, including what industry she'd love to tackle next.

She Was One of the First People to Join Twitter

Gavankar was one of the first people to create a Twitter account, and it all happened thanks to a G5 jet, a private island, and Richard Branson's computer. While visiting the British entrepreneur on his private island, Gavankar met startup investor and tech genius Chris Sacca, who was hopped up on the idea of a brand-new startup called Twitter.

"It was not even incorporated yet. There was no app yet; there was no iPhone yet. No one was saying the word 'app' yet," Gavankar told CNet. "He explained [Twitter] to me, and I immediately understood that it was going to kill mailing lists; it would kill the lag time between message and receiver. So I signed up on Branson's computer right there."

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She's a Classically Trained Musician and Produces Her Own Music

Some may know Gavankar for her acting skills, but the "Big Sky" actress can sing and play a number of classical instruments as well. Gavankar's specialties are voice and percussion. Her portfolio includes covers of Kanye West's "Love Lockdown" and Martin Garrix's EDM single "Don't Look Down" featuring Usher, and her original single "Waiting for Godot." She's even performed alongside Questlove at the famous Carnegie Hall!

She's Starred in Several Video Games

A self-proclaimed "geek," Gavankar has starred in a handful of video games, including "Star Wars: Battlefront II," "Far Cry 4," "After Party," "Hunt the Truth," "Horizon Zero Dawn," and "Forspoken," which is set to release in 2022.

She Wants to Develop Her Own Video Game

In addition to starring in video games, Gavankar said developing her own game is definitely something she's thought about pursuing. "Absolutely! If that's something that's supposed to happen, it'll be a natural evolution," she told Refinery29. "But making a game is like making a movie — just 100 times harder. And it's really hard to make a film. The time will come if it's supposed to. But I have a lot of stripes to earn in the game industry; just because people know I'm a gamer doesn't mean I know how to make a game. So give me time." She added that as the gaming industry continues to grow, she hopes to see more women developers in the spotlight.

She and Meghan Markle Are Close Friends

Gavankar and Markle have been very close friends for nearly 20 years. The "True Blood" actress attended the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's royal wedding in 2018 and more recently voiced her support following Markle's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey. "She's really that girl you go to when you have a problem," she said during a video interview with ITV's "This Morning." "She's just utterly dependable and wonderful."

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​She Made Her Directorial Debut in 2019

In 2019, Gavankar made her directorial debut with a short horror film, "Stucco," which Gavankar also wrote, produced, and starred in. The short, which features Michael Ealy and Debra Messing, centers around a young woman's relationship with depression and guilt. "Stucco" made quite a splash during the 2019-20 movie festival season and was crowned SXSW 2020's special jury winner for creature design.

She Gets Her Work Ethic, Ambition, and Value For Education From Her Father

At the end of the day, Gavankar told "The Hindu," her Mumbai roots shaped her into the woman she is today. "My father, like most Indian-Americans, came here on a college scholarship. He and my mother taught my sister and me about work ethics," she said. "I'm proud to be Indian; it is the reason why I think I'm morally and spiritually okay, even this many years into this very strange business."