Bio's / Profiles

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Desi Rascals – Meet the Cast: Yasmin Karimi, Ravi Gurtata, Blake Goodman and Anita & Jay Vara

Here’s the next bunch of our Desi Rascals airing on Sky Living 20th January 2015…


Yasmin Karimi 

PROFESSION: Make-up Artist
CHARACTER: Although perfectly groomed and sweet natured, Yasmin is not to be underestimated. She is fiercely ambitious, sharp and savvy, with a multitude of business concepts in development. Her stunning looks get plenty of attention, but it takes a lot to impress an independent woman like Yasmin.

How would you describe yourself?
I like to think I’m intelligent and funny. I think I can be a bit difficult too.

In what sense?
I just like things done in a certain way and I’ll do anything to get them. I am very determined.

What would surprise us to know about you?
I think it would be how much I have changed looks-wise in the last ten years and dress-wise. I used to dress in tracksuit bottoms and trainers. I wore Kappa bottoms and hooped earrings because I thought they were really cool. I was really popular because of my dress sense back then. Sometimes I just wish I could buy another pair of Kappa bottoms! But I don’t know where you can get them.

And you’re a make-up artist, aren’t you?
Yes, I have done so much stuff! I studied business management and then I went on to do law and I worked for a law firm but it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to work for anyone and be in the corporate world so I quit two years ago and decided to follow my dream. I started doing more make-up work and launched my own beauty brand.

How do you feel about cosmetic surgery?
This is a huge dilemma for me because I do want to get Botox. Do you know what the problem is? At the moment it is really easy for nurses or doctors to get a certificate to be trained in cosmetic surgery, it’s only actually a one-day course. Just because you have qualified on a one-day course, it does not mean you know how to change someone’s lip shape or the way someone looks.

What would you say are your best and worst personality traits?
I am really understanding. Even if you were to tell me the most ridiculous or crazy thing I could always put myself in your shoes and understand why you would do something and your reasons. As for my worst quality, I get a bit stressed out sometimes and a bit overwhelmed when I have too much to do.

Do you throw tantrums?
No. I don’t ever get angry. If I’m annoyed at something I’d rather stay quiet and calm myself down.

What motto do you live by?
I think my motto is always carry yourself with respect. In everything you do in life, you should remember your family because, regardless of how good or bad or caring or uncaring your parents are, they’re still your parents and you never want to do anything to disrespect them.


Ravi Gutata

PROFESSION: Works for family business
CHARACTER: Straight-talking Ravi has a captivating personality but beware: he’s not afraid to tell you what he
really thinks. His vibrant dress sense and outspoken personality means he always stands out from the crowd. A director for his family’s hotel business, Ravi likes to work hard and play hard, but always finds time to enjoy a family meal at home.


Blake Goodman

PROFESSION: Financial consultant
CHARACTER: American-born Blake moved to England to pursue a career in football, but was forced to give up his dreams when he suffered an injury on the pitch. Starting afresh he managed to set up and sell his own business before carving out a new career in the city. Blake met Ravi
on a night out a few years ago and the two quickly became close friends. Blake now considers the Gurtatas his surrogate family in the UK.

How would you describe each other?
Ravi: He’s competitive, caring, honest and loyal.
Blake: And good looking?
Ravi: He’s a faithful friend.
Blake: Ravi’s reliable, fun to go out with and a joy to be around.
Ravi: We don’t want to be too nice.

How did you become friends?
Ravi: We met through a friend a couple of years ago and we quickly became like brothers.

What are the best and worst aspects of each other’s
Blake: Ravi is pretty choosy. It’s all about smart choices with him.
Ravi: Is that good or bad?
Blake: I’d say it’s a good thing. He’s also a lightweight, he can’t really drink very much.
Ravi: Blake is loyal to me, which is nice. A negative thing? He wants to be with me everywhere I go, and if he’s not invited to something he always nags for an invitation.

What’s the most mischief you’ve ever got up to together?
Ravi: We had a boys’ holiday to Spain and I think from the minute we left my house the behaviour was pretty bad. It was a messy week.
Blake: A lot of the details can’t be discussed.

Have you two ever fallen out?
Ravi: No.
Blake: Not properly, anyway. We’ve had a couple of arguments maybe, but nothing major.

If you could change one thing about each other what would it be and why?
Ravi: On a night out he can just keep going and going and I’m desperate to go home, I need to sleep. He’s just like a robot, he doesn’t stop. He needs to learn how to go to bed, he doesn’t sleep much.
Blake: I’d change Ravi’s fashion sense. He has a great sense of style which pisses me off, he always seems to buy the clothes I’m about to get.
Ravi: I always get there first.

What songs get you on the dance floor?
Ravi: Hip hop, R&B. When the right song comes on in the club we know what time it is.
Blake: It’s time to drop.


Anita Vara

PROFESSION: Hospital worker
CHARACTER: Although short in stature, Anita is the matriarch of the Vara household, keeping her husband Jay and two sons Prakash and Sunjay in line. Fiercely protective of her beloved boys there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for them – including their laundry and regular homecooked meals. Youngest son Prakash got married to long-term girlfriend Shreena recently and Anita now awaits the arrival of a new woman in her household.


Jay Vara

PROFESSION: Builder / property developer
CHARACTER: Mischievous joker of the pack Jay enjoys nothing more than playfully winding up his loved ones, who all give as good as they get. Jay and Anita have been married for 36 years and despite his cheeky ways it’s obvious that his family are his life. In the past Jay owned a garage and son Sunjay has followed in his father’s footsteps running the successful Vara Technik garage – though Jay is happy to point out where the business could be improved.

How did you meet?
Anita: We were 13 or 14 years old so we’ve basically grown up together. He was walking down my street on the way to school and I was coming out my door and we bumped into each other. Then we kept seeing each other every morning. One day we were just sitting like kids do on the wall on Jay’s
road and he said to his friend, you go and tell that girl I like her and that’s how it started.
Jay: The funny thing about it is we found out afterwards that Anita grew up with my aunty Imla. Back in Africa she grew up in my uncle’s house – it’s a small world.

How would you describe each other in a tweet?
A: Larger than life, he’s kind of big headed, he’s got his stubbornness but I’ve learnt how to break that! His heart’s in the right place.
J: Like my credit card.
A: I was going to say your wallet actually. His wallet is in a good place as well… it’s right there in my handbag.
J: What do I say about her?
A: That I’m perfect.

What is the secret to a successful relationship?
J: There is no secret. You know they say, ‘you can’t live with each other and you can’t live without each other’ – I understand that. And, if she says let’s do it, we do it and that’s it.
A: What I say goes.
J: Because we knew each other at a young age, we have kind of moulded into each other. We’d learnt a lot before we got married. In the Asian community there wasn’t really such a thing as girlfriend and boyfriend so we had to hide and meet each other. We had to be careful about it.

What is the most romantic thing you have ever done?
A: This is funny! Can you think of anything?
J: Yes, I can. We were only kids but she still holds me to the things I said. Like she would say, you promised me that you would take me on the biggest ship in the world. And I did. I took her on one of the biggest cruise ships in the world a couple of years ago so I did make her dream come true.
A: I said for my 50th birthday that rather than having a party, I’d like to go on the ultimate holiday. So I wouldn’t say he was on his own there, he got a lot of hints from me. Every Valentine’s day he will take me out for a meal and he will buy me a bunch of flowers. Even if they are from the petrol station, he will buy me flowers.

What’s been your greatest achievement?
A: Our children.
J: Children, our grandchildren and also my knowledge.
A: Our greatest achievement is us because when we started out there were discussions in the family in terms of caste. But, against all odds, we got married. We had
nothing and everything we’ve got today including family is built up from nothing.

What three things couldn’t you possibly live without?
A: Food, drink and happiness.
J: I think it’s her really.
A: That’s the most romantic thing he’s said for a long time!
J: And I suppose the car.

Stay tuned on for more characters in Desi Rascals here.