Quatre Questions for… Avanthika Srinivasan ’16, French and Italian alumna

March 27, 2024

For the next in our series spotlighting our amazing alumni, we caught up with Avanthika Srinivasan, a performer, artist, and French and Italian major from the Class of 2016. Since graduating from Princeton, Avanthika has found success as a working actor, following up her studies in the MFA program of the American Conservatory Theater with critically acclaimed off-Broadway performances in Madhuri Shekar's Queen and George Bernard Shaw's Candida. Read on to find out how Avanthika's experience in the French and Italian Department contributed to her artistic journey!

Why did you decide to major in FIT as an undergraduate?

I decided to major in FIT because of a few reasons: As an aspiring actor, I had started taking a few French theater courses with Prof. Florent Masse and was really enjoying them. Therefore, I was curious to enroll in more classes that would give me a more thorough understanding of the language and culture. The student to professor ratio is also really small which allowed me to get some really great undivided attention from some of the professors. 

How did your FIT concentration shape your career trajectory and the way you perform your job today?

I am an actor—and I would say FIT really helped me get started on that career path. I started out as a Freshman taking FRE 108 and spent my summer in Aix en Provence and Avignon, and from then on, I realized that I always wanted French and French theater to be a part of my life. Little did I know that I would end up majoring in it! My senior year, I got to spend a week studying acting at the Conservatoire Nationale Supérieur d'Art et Dramatique (CNSAD) which truly was an amazing experience and helped give me a perspective into what it's like being an actor in Paris. And also being a part of L'Avant-Scène, the French Theater troupe on campus, I got to experience what it was like being in rehearsal and performance while also pursuing my degree, and that rigor really helped me prepare for the real world of being an actor in NYC.

What would you say to an undergraduate who is considering a concentration in FIT?

Do it! Take advantage of all the resources the department has to offer. The professors are there to help you out, reach out to them for support any time. Try new things while concentrating in the department. I took a translation course which I never in a million years thought I would take, but really liked. And lastly, if you can, take courses that allow you to travel to France and dive deep into the culture. Those classes will help shape your experience as a FIT major and give you a stronger hold on the language. 

Do you have a favorite memory or anecdote from your time in the department?

I would say my favorite memory from my time in the department would be performing my thesis Le Menteur—a play by Corneille. We did it at the Rotonde, and it was truly surreal getting to do a whole play as the lead and having all my friends and family watch it and support me. The four years at Princeton had been a long journey from switching majors from Chemistry to FIT, and deciding what my career would look like. And for that journey to culminate in a successful performance of Le Menteur and mark the start of my acting career was something that I will forever cherish. I truly want to thank Prof. Florent Masse for being my pillar of support during this time as he really was the one who encouraged me to pursue my passion for being an actor and major in FIT.