Teni Panosian has starred as a neck-biting vampire in The Wanted’s music video for their hit single, “Chasing the Sun,” and as Nick Carter’s love interest in the video for his song, “Love Can’t Wait.” She is one of 12 actors who was chosen for the 2011 Disney ABC Television Group Talent Showcase, and is a two-time graduate of the University of Southern California (USC), where she received a master’s degree in communication management. Panosian has taken her writing skills online by blogging about beauty secrets and posting tutorial videos on all things fashion-related under her YouTube channel, “MissMavendotcom.” She recently spoke with the Armenian Weekly about her work, both on and off screen.
Lilly Torosyan: How did you get the idea to start your blog? Was it successful from the beginning?
Teni Panosian: The idea came up during my last semester of graduate school. I always knew I wanted to write, whether for a living or not, and having just gone through an incredible master’s program at USC (also my alma mater), I had this new-found confidence and decided to take the leap. I started the blog with the intention of monetizing it and turning it into a business, which is not typical of most bloggers. Usually, it starts out as just a hobby. As with most blogs, it took a while to gain the following it needed. But I’m happy to say that, almost two years later, it’s doing wonderfully!
LT: As an actress, you have appeared in several music videos and commercials. How was the experience of working on a movie set for “Mac & Devin Go to High School”?
TP: It wasn’t my first time working on a feature film, but it was my first time playing a lead role, so I was definitely nervous to begin with. Thankfully it was a comedy, so there was a lot of room to ‘play,’ so to speak, in the scenes. Most importantly I worked with great people, so no complaints here!
LT: You are also an animal rights activist. When did you make the decision to become a vegetarian and fight for the animal cause?
TP: Like most people, I wasn’t aware of how animals are treated in shelters, farms, and labs, among other places. It all began with my Christmas gift in 2009: My parents bought me a chihuahua (my beloved Bambi) from a local pet store. Yes, bought. Neither I nor my parents had any clue about the overpopulation in shelters (most especially in Los Angeles), but once Bambi became the love of my life, I quickly started educating myself. I think once I found how much I could love this little being, all the other dogs and cats in the world quickly found their place in the front of my mind!
And from that came the logical deduction that if I care so much about dogs and cats, how can I continue to eat cows and pigs? So there sprang the vegetarian diet. And from then on, I just started spreading the word and educating people about shelter animals and, now, animals in factory farms and testing labs. As I suspected, most people simply were not aware of this stuff.
Outside of raising awareness, I’ve also fostered many dogs (and have added one to my little family) and raised money for the cause. On a happy note, the pet store that my parents bought Bambi from turned into a rescue-only pet store shortly after.
LT: Any projects in the future that we can expect to find you in?
TP: Well, the pilot season is coming up at the beginning of the year, so keep your fingers crossed for me!
LT: What are you reading right now?
TP: I’d love to share what I’m currently reading: I highly recommend Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind—it’s a fascinating look into morality and human nature in general. I could go on about it but just trust me and make this your next read.
LT: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
TP: I’d like to say it’s my hope that I’ll be able to continue to raise awareness not just for animal rights but for compassion and humanity toward each other as human beings. I know that my job is so much about material and superficial things—which we have every right to enjoy—but it is and should always be a small part of this life. There are so many other important things I’m passionate about, and I hope that I can share that.