Editor: Michael St. Michael @michaelstmichael
Interview: Dylan Jader @thedylanjader
Photo series: Anna Maria Lopez @annamarialopez1
Prune: Your career kicked off with your role as Chirag Gupta in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid films. How did these roles excel your success?
Karan: Everything I do is a stepping stone in some way, whether the project be big or small. You’re always learning from each and every experience. For me, when I first started Wimpy Kid, I’d never done anything aside from a few commercials – it definitely helped launch me into the film world, which is something I’ve always wanted. That helped me get on the map. When I moved to LA it wasn’t like, “this kid is straight out of Seattle and hasn’t done anything at all.”
Prune: With your role as Chirag, you won the Young Artist Award three years in a row. Talk to me about this experience.
Karan: That was kind of crazy. For me, I never viewed myself as someone that is crazy talented or amazing. Just to get recognition that hey, you didn’t suck, is pretty cool. It’s nice to be acknowledged by your own community of actors where everyone is just celebrating each other’s accomplishments, which I don’t think we do very often in Hollywood amongst youth.
Prune: You were only eleven-years-old when you were thrown into the industry. How did you balance growing up with growing your career?
Karan: When I first started, I had no idea what was going on, I was being a kid on set – looking back I probably would have changed some things. I didn’t realize the extent of the film, I didn’t realize it was millions of dollars – for me I thought it was just fun and we were shooting a movie too. As I got older, it was still a fun experience but I began to understand the scope of it more. I realized as an actor you always have to be not just good enough, but great at what you do. Whether that shows on screen or not is putting the extra effort in, working hard. The experiences at a young age helped me mature faster.
Prune: Here you are today, eighteen years old, three million followers on Instagram, and flourishing. Did you ever expect to make it this big?
Karan: Honestly, no. When I had originally gone on Wimpy Kid, I’d just done the movies on my summer break and would come back home to Seattle for a regular school year. I thought that would be my life, being an actor on the side as well but staying in Seattle and going to college at Washington State University and living life there. By accident, I ended up in Los Angeles booking Jessie and was like “wow” this is going somewhere. From that point forward, I was in it to win it, and now I push myself to bigger heights – wherever that may be.
Prune: We’ve watched you play Ravi Ross on Jessie, and now on Bunk’d, for six years. Talk to me about these shows and the impact they’ve had on you.
Karan: Peyton and I both read for Jessie, and it worked in our favor when we were auditioning because we’d both worked together before – it was easy for us to work off of each other. From Jessie, it repelled into Bunk’d, which was a stepping stone for me growing up. It’s given me a sense of family. That’s a big chunk of your life, and being a part of the shows was the best experience of my life. It gave me a sense of stability and a comfort zone to work in. That really helped prepare me for being on the set of Pacific Rim, which is really overwhelming. There’s a lot of things you have to learn, and you have to hold your own when there is so much going on.
Prune: Outside of acting, you recently graduated high school alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood – Emma Rose Kenney, Cameron Boyce, Brielle Barbusca, and more. Talk to me about the talent in your graduating class.
Karan: It’s funny because we never see each other at the actual school. We’re all very much in our own stages, working on TV shows throughout the year. To celebrate a special moment with people who have gone through similar experiences as yourself is very cool and very special. When you’re there it feels like “oh my god we did this” and it feels surreal. We didn’t see each other at school, but we were all in it together.
Prune: You, Cameron, and Sophie Reynolds celebrated by taking a trip to Cabo. What is your favorite memory from the trip?
Karan: I emailed everyone telling them I was going to log out of my accounts and that I wouldn’t be able to check my email for the next five days or so. It was just nice not to think about work, not to think about life. The best part, as simple as it sounds, was falling asleep on the beach. In LA and NY, you always have to be somewhere, everything is such a rush, so it was nice not to worry about being somewhere.
Prune: Outside of acting, what are your other interests?
Karan: Anything I can do to get myself out of the house. My friends and I will hike, hang out, watch shows, do anything it takes to step outside of our lives for a moment. We are so dedicated and love our work so much, but sometimes we need to chill out for a minute and be normal teenagers.
Prune: Do you have a celebrity crush?
Karan: Oh of course, my wife, Jennifer Lawrence.
Prune: We’ll finish with fashion. What is your everyday style?
Karan: If it was up to me, I’d probably be wearing all black or just hoodies. If I’m working on set, every single day I’m wearing hoodies.
Prune: What are your three favorite fashion trends at the moment?
Karan: I know it’s kind of over, but I always liked the bomber jacket trend. I’ve always been a closet fan of flannels, I think they never age out. It took me ages to get into them, but ripped jeans.
Prune: Finally, pop culture pruning. What fashion, beauty, or lifestyle trend would you like to eliminate?
Karan: I would really like to eliminate the normalization of plastic surgery. I get it, do what you want, but I feel like we should be teaching people more and more how to be accepting of themselves.