Kevin Gnapoor blessed us with this timeless advice in Mean Girls: "Don't let the haters stop you from doing your thang."
The hit movie came out 12 years ago, but actor Rajiv Surendra — who played mathlete and aspiring rapper Kevin G. — followed his character's advice in real life. He traded in his math book for a piece of chalk, and now he's a talented artist and calligrapher. He's been practicing since age 12.
"Someone gave me a bunch of old letters from the 1800s," Surendra told Architectural Digest. "I just remember being so floored by how beautiful the handwriting was. I took those letters to elementary school, and I would copy the letterforms when we had to do handwriting exercises. By the time I was 15 or 16, my script looked similar to that script."
His craft took him through high school, where he studied pottery, drawing, painting, and music theater. "I was kind of an arts slut," he joked.
"As the popularity of Mean Girls was growing over the years, I was interested in pursuing a career in acting, but it was just very, very hard to actually land roles," Surendra explained. "People would often stop me and say, ‘Oh, what else have you done?' and the answer was always nothing. And they’re like, ‘Why, you were so good in Mean Girls?' and the answer was, ‘Well, it wasn’t for lack of trying. Trust me, I’ve been trying.' All the while, I continued to do my other hobbies."
Just like fans were into his risqué rap — "I don't play it like Shaggy / You'll know it was me / ’Cause the next time you see her she be like, ‘Oh! Kevin G!'" — they're also into his beautiful script. His recent work on Garrow Kedigian's "Napoleon's Lounge," a chalk room in Manhattan, was featured in The New York Times.
Yeah, those walls are decorated in chalk. Crayola white chalk, to be specific. Here's Surendra making the magic happen:
Of course, pen and paper is his go-to medium for calligraphy.
His artistry extends to henna, or mehndi, too.
And here he is looking sexy with his hair pushed back (sorry):
"Hand-written correspondence is beginning to have such a special role in this digital world we live in," Surendra wrote on his website. "If anything, I hope I have inspired you to turn off your computer, put aside your cell phone, and perhaps write down a few words to someone you care about — the old fashioned way — with letters in ink."