Yasmine Al-Bustami, Magical Actress from The Chosen & The Philosophy of Miracles
I don’t think there are words in any of the world’s languages that can adequately describe how charming and amazing Yasmine Al-Bustami is. Maybe Latin or Adamic, but I don’t think those languages are spoken anymore.
Yasmine truly is an incredible person with an incredible heart, and she is so captivating to watch on The Chosen. She plays Ramah, Thomas’s possible girlfriend, possible wife, still not sure yet — and she does an incredible job keeping things grounded and relatable.
We chatted about her role on the show but more specifically about the subscribing to the philosophy of miracles in life. We talked about signs that would happen in our lives and how circumstances sometimes feel so divinely orchestrated leading us to magical moments. We also discussed how openness and space is what is needed to center yourself back in life. We also had interesting conversations about immigrant parents and how the traditions she grew up with didn’t always support her choice of being an actress.
Lots of very insightful topics were discussed in this Lemonade Stand Stories Podcast. Listen to the full podcast below.
Who Is Yasmine Al-Bustami?
Yasmine was born in the United Arab Emirates. She and her family lived in Abu Dhabi, but they moved to Texas when she was three. Growing up in Texas was a vastly different experience than growing up in Abu Dhabi (though they can both be extremely hot!), so which place does Yasmine Al-Bustami identify more with? She claims that she’s an “All-American Girl”!
Unlike Yasmine, her family holds more of an attachment to their home country. Because Yasmine didn’t have much of a connection to her native country, her parents sent her to live there when she was 13. Even now, her family makes sure that she eats the food of her background, though, and she says that it’s thanks to her family that she loves Middle Eastern food.
While she might have been born in Abu Dhabi, her heritage is more diverse. Her father’s family comes from Palestine, while her mother is Filipina.
Her family have also influenced her career. Her parents wanted her to get a professional job and pushed her to earn a degree in finance at the University of Texas. If Yasmine weren’t starring in shows, she could have been an investment banker!
Yasmine has starred in plenty of shows and movies during her time as an actor. Her acting career began in 2010 when she appeared in ten episodes of The Originals, a hit television show that aired on the CW network. From there, she continued to act, with her biggest roles coming in The Chosen, where she plays the role of Ramah, and SWAT.
She hasn’t just appeared in television shows, however. There are also some movies under her belt too. Her last role came in 2016, when she appeared in the Netflix movie You Get Me. If you’re a fan of John Legend (and who isn’t), then you may have seen Yasmine performing in the music video for his song “Surefire.” She’s also featured in several internet series and adverts.
Her Hobbies and Interesting Facts
Yasmine loves traveling. While she’s American through and through, she’s been all over the world and even lived in Paris for a little while. She also enjoys making people laugh, which she puts to good use when she appears on I Ship It, a musical comedy show from CW.
Yasmine Al-Bustami Podcast Transcription
Charan: Hey, what’s going on guys? This is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast, and I’m here with Yasmine Al-Bustami as she was-
Yasmine: How do you say your last name?
Charan: What’s that?
Yasmine: How do you say your last name? Sorry, I ruined your great show.
Charan: Oh, no, no, we’re discussing names, and we’re discussing how to pronounce them. My last name is Prabhakar.
Charan: Prabhakar. Just like rolls off the tongue, Prabhakar.
Yasmine: Prabhakar, it’s like Al-Bustami, Al-Bustami rolls off the tongue. Prabhakar, yes.
Charan: Yeah, exactly. You got to do with it the tongue.
Yasmine: I know that helps me. I don’t know why.
Charan: It totally helps.
Charan: But no, guys, we’re so excited for Yasmine to be here. She is a wonderful actress. I had the chance to meet her, actually, at Sundance. We were all hanging out with a bunch of the cast from The Chosen, and yeah, Yasmine plays “Ray-mah” or “Rah-mah,” as Dallas would call her. And she has a wonderful, wonderful job on the show.
Charan: And her performance is so captivating. We’re not entirely sure exactly of her relationship with Thomas, but it’s coming up, maybe a boyfriend-girlfriend, possibly a wife down the road? We’re not sure yet. So-
Yasmine: Oh, now, that’s a lot.
Charan: It’s a lot.
Yasmine: Put it out there. Put it out there. Yup.
Charan: Yeah, I’m putting it out there. We’re not sure. We don’t know. But no, it’s very exciting. And the thing is, I remember the first time I met Yasmine, just such a fun, vivacious personality, just so full of life, so full of just love. And also, jokes, every time we text, you get an automatic text back with some awesome pun.
Charan: And you’re like, “Whoa, this is amazing.” And just the fact that she would put that on her phone app says a lot about her. So, it’s pretty fantastic.
Yasmine: Is it professional? Do you think I should take it sometimes whenever-
Charan: I think you need to have it, absolutely.
Yasmine: I love it, too.
Charan: Yeah, I know.
Yasmine: I love it, too.
Charan: If people-
Yasmine: It weeds some people out, I’ll tell you.
Charan: Yeah, I’m sure it does. Because they’re like, “Hey, what’s going on? What is happening? This is crazy.”
Yasmine: Yup. I can see who can take a joke and who cannot.
Yasmine Al-Bustami Talks About Getting Into Acting
Charan: Yes, absolutely. So, Yasmine, I want to talk a little bit today about your whole journey into acting, if you don’t mind. And then, talk a little bit about how you got into The Chosen and all that fun stuff. But yeah, tell me your story. This is so exciting. Did you always say you want to be an actress or how did that all come about?
Yasmine: I think I can’t imagine, honestly, a child growing up not thinking that they are going to do something artistic, just because I feel, whenever I see children and kids growing up, whenever they’re exploring the world and even during art class and little projects that we would have in school, I just remember how invested everybody was into it. And how excited we were for art class and in anything related to just expressing ourselves artistically, whether that be with our bodies, dance, PE, hands, drawing, all those things. So, I think it was a natural thing for me as is with a lot of people. And I didn’t necessarily explore that.
Yasmine: I didn’t take acting classes. I did your basic stuff in school, like I was in choir. I had to do the plays that were mandatory.
Charan: Yeah, for sure.
Yasmine: I did all those things, but I didn’t necessarily love them when it was school-related. But I remember anytime that I would watch movies or TV shows how captivated I was. And even cartoons. I knew that they weren’t real people, but I wanted to be them. And I never really expressed that to my parents, like, “Hey, I want to do that thing.” Because they were really focused on, they’re very education-based and still very education-based. And when it comes to education, it’s very much the traditional route of it.
Charan: For sure. I know exactly what that feels like, yeah, for sure.
Yasmine: You know. And you know when you come from that kind of a household, brown household. So, they were, anytime the topic of what you’re going to do for your future came about, it was always the traditional route. So, go to school, finish high school, go to college, get a degree in either business, medicine, engineering, law. I didn’t even know anything else existed. So, I didn’t even think to tell my parents, “Hey, I would like to try this stuff.” And I didn’t even think that it could be a career. But I knew that I liked it. I knew I was intrigued. I knew that it looked like fun. So, I did the whole thing. I did the whole shebang, graduated high school, went to college.
Charan: And you live in Texas, right?
Yasmine: I live in Texas.
Charan: Awesome. Love that. Yeah.
Yasmine: Yeehaw. Yes. Amen. Which you went to for the first time-
Charan: I did.
Yasmine: I’m so sorry. I feel I-
Charan: No, no, look, the weather was crazy over there.
Yasmine: Oh, my gosh.
Charan: It’s insane. We even talked about that a little bit when we talked all that time, but yeah.
Yasmine: We need to. I’m sure everyone has touched on it. If you talk to anyone from The Chosen after, that’s the first thing that people say, you know what it’s called now? “The Freeze.”
Charan: Yeah, oh, really?
Yasmine: That’s what people call it, “The Freeze.” Yes. That’s what happened. So, a group in Texas, and that’s the other thing is it wasn’t… when you think about Texas, there’s actually a lot of artistic people that come from Texas. A lot of actors come from Texas too. But depending on where you grew up and what your environment is, not everyone is out there saying, “I want to be an actor. I want to be a singer.” Everyone’s also following the traditional route.
Yasmine: So, I don’t feel like I had anyone around me, really, who was trying to pursue anything different, and different by, meaning, again, nontraditional. And I think slowly that is changing, thankfully, whatever the definition of traditional-nontraditional means. But I went to college. And I remember coming across… I got my degree in finance. So, while I was studying finance, I remember coming across casting calls.
Yasmine: Yes. And obviously, that’s for actors, actresses, it’s like the audition process. So, you see that, you go to that audition, you get it or you don’t get it. And I came across that. And I was like, “Oh, this seems like fun.” But because of my classes, and I also had a job, I didn’t have time to go to those things. But I remember keeping it in the back of my head.
Yasmine: And I remember thinking, “That sounds like fun, I want to try it.” And then I graduated. When I graduated, I hated my degree. And I did not want to go into finance anymore. And this is funny, and I wonder if you’ve had the same experience too.
Yasmine: But because of my experience, I realize how important teachers and professors are, because they really, I think, make it or break it, depending on their passion, how involved they are, how much they love the subjects and are enthusiastic about it. And my last semester, I had a professor who knew exactly what he was talking about but just was not having any fun, which did not make me have any fun.
Yasmine: And all the professors before him, they all brought in life experiences. They were all really enthusiastic about it. They all had the background and so brought in their knowledge about it, taught us things that were not in the textbook. So, that was fun for me. And then, this professor was “by the textbook.” I think he was working on his PhD, so it was just to checklist this class, to just check the-
Charan: Check the boxes, you have to teach it, right?
Yasmine: Yes. Yes. So, it was not fun. And then, I was like, “Oh, if he’s not having fun, I’m not ready to do this right now. I don’t want to go into corporate.” I wanted to go into investment banking. And then said no to that. And then, I was like, “Look, well, I like business. I just don’t think corporate is good for me right now. What else do I like?” And this is when my creative side came back out. And I was like, “Oh, maybe I’ll manage bands.” So, I thought about band management.
Charan: Wow. Wow. It’s amazing.
Yasmine: Yes. Because I love music, I still love music. But I was like, “Oh, this, I think, would be such a great fun thing to do.” I was going to little small concerts here and there. I love coffee shop concerts, very intimate venues. And I was like, “I feel like that would be a fun time.”
Yasmine: And so, I found an internship in Austin, went to Austin, did that. Did not like my time in Austin, Texas, while I was there, but I was committed to this internship for about three months. And then, I remember the casting call website I came across. And I was like, “Oh, well, let me try this, and see if I can be doing this at the same time just to get my mind off of, just to do something fun.”
Yasmine: And obviously, with University of Texas in Austin, they have a great film department. So, I came across a good number of casting calls from their department, a bunch of student films, but went and did that, got one of them. It was a study abroad video for them. And I had a blast. And I remember enjoying that. So then, I said, “Okay, whenever I go back to Dallas, I’ll just keep doing it.” And I just kept doing it. And there you go.
Charan: Well, it’s amazing, because I love your journey to acting really came because you were looking for the thing that made you come alive, right?
Charan: And I remember, I was a business major in my university as well. And the first semester of being a business major, it was more of a, well, yeah, that’s the logical thing to do. It’s a logical thing.
Charan: I mean, I-
Charan: I’m good with numbers, and I understand that type of stuff. So, I did the first semester, took a lot of the generals, and did pretty well. And then, I remember my second semester, and I had a Christmas break, and I went to my second semester. And as I did, we were taking an accounting class, and I felt like I just wanted to die. It was the craziest thing.
Yasmine: Was it Accounting 1 or Accounting 2?
Charan: Well, it was Accounting 10, which is the second version.
Yasmine: Oh, yes.
Charan: So, my first day of the class, I literally was, every bit that that professor has spoken, I know he was a good professor, and he was teaching some good stuff and everything, but everything in my soul was rejecting this.
Yasmine: You feel it. It’s just a feeling. Yeah.
Charan: And I remember feeling so exhausted and being so bummed that I was feeling so exhausted, because I’m like, “I just barely got out of a Christmas break. I should be totally stoked and excited.” And nothing about it felt good. And I remember driving home from class, depressed, just depressed. I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, this is awful.” And I just knew I couldn’t go back. I really couldn’t go back.
Charan: So, I was stressed out, and a friend of mine, his dad, he was a mentor to me. And he and I were chatting. And he said, “Charan, well, maybe business shouldn’t be your path.” And as he said that, it was as if like this huge weight that I didn’t even know I had, released, it just dropped. And I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh, you’re right.” And they just felt so good to say, “Business is not my path.” And so, I still-
Yasmine: Because up until this point had you always been saying that business is-
Charan: No. I was trying to follow the traditional model, right, of what our parents were wanting us to do. And I knew, my parents were like, “Hey, medicine or businessman or corporate or whatever.” And so, I was like, “Well, I pass out at blood, so doctor is not for me, so I’m going to go ahead and try the business path.”
Charan: And it just felt heavy, very heavy when I was doing that. But I realized, you know what, there are some good classes that would be really beneficial for me. So, I did make business my minor and still make, okay, I also have some of those classes. And I’m glad that I did that. But it was while I was in college that I realized, I think I really want to give acting a shot.
Charan: And the moment I realized that, I’m like, “Okay.” I don’t even want to… I decided not to major in acting, because I just didn’t want to make it a grade. I wanted to do it for fun.
Yasmine: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Charan: The idea of attaching it to a form of a grade or an education didn’t feel good to me.
Yasmine: Yeah, I get it. Yes.
Charan: Yeah. So, I’m like, “You know what, I’m just going to go and do whatever I can to get out of school as fast as I can so I can go be an actor.” But-
Yasmine: And you would never thought about acting before?
Charan: It was interesting, because I had done a little bit… I did plays in high school, like a couple of plays and stuff, [crosstalk 00:14:49]-
Yasmine: Were they mandatory or by choice?
Charan: I know. I know. Seriously, right. I did it by choice. And it was fun. But my favorite part of it was the end of the year in our high school, we would actually make these homemade movies. And some people hated it. And I’m like, “Dude, this is the best part.” I loved making those movies. It was so fun. So, I always knew that that was fun for me. But then, I was like, “Well, that’s fun. I need to get a real job.” I need to go and focus in a career.
Yasmine: Isn’t it funny? Isn’t it funny, you associate it because it’s fun?
Yasmine: It’s like, “Oh, this can’t be a job. This is too much.” Because you see maybe your parents or your grown-ups in your life growing up, and just people complaining about work, so it’s like a given that you’re supposed to complain and not enjoy it. It’s interesting, that mindset. Yeah.
Charan: It’s so interesting. So, I’m buddies with an actor named Corbin Allred. He’s a really good friend of mine. And he was a kid actor. He’s been on tons and tons of shows. Had his own TGIF show back in the day. And his dad, this was probably back in 2002 or 2003, pulled me inside, and he looked at me in the eyes, and he’s like, “Charan.”
Charan: He’s like, “Whatever you do in life, don’t do what I did.” And I’m like, “What? What do you mean?” He’s like, “Look, I became an accountant because I wanted to take care of my family, and it was going to be a stable job and everything. But I hate accounting.” And I’m like, “Oh.” And he’s like, “I hate it. And I spent 40 hours a week of my life doing something I absolutely hate.”
Charan: And I’m like, “Dude, that sounds terrible, that sounds awful.” And he’s like, “Look, I do get joy from other things, like my grandkids and stuff like that.” But he’s like, “Go do what you love.” And I always remember that.
Yasmine: Yes, yes.
Charan: It’s such a powerful thing. And so-
Yasmine: And who was that, that said that to you, again?
Charan: It was my friend’s dad, my friend’s dad, Corbin’s dad.
Charan: And it was just like, he had sorrow in his eyes because he’s almost giving me a warning about it, right? And so, I realized, okay, I need to definitely do something that’s going to inspire me and excite me and all that stuff, right? But I love that, that’s what you did for yourself to you. Because you were exploring different options, and you realize, okay, corporate business is not for me, maybe I’ll manage bands, go to Austin, didn’t feel like that’s completely right for you, so you’re like, “You know what, but I love the acting side. I’m going to keep trying to do that.”
Charan: And it’s amazing because you love it and you’re so passionate about it, I think that’s why you succeed at it. And I feel like you have this extra light and this extra brightness when you talk about acting. And I think people find that contagious, because people are attracted to things that are bright and full of light and joy and all that stuff, so.
Yasmine: I sure hope so that’s what people are attracted to. I wouldn’t know that.
Yasmine Al-Bustami Talks About Working in LA
Charan: No, seriously, no, it’s amazing. So, you moved to LA, and how did you start that whole journey, because that’s a whole thing?
Yasmine: Yeah. You know, man, that is a whole thing. Well, I haven’t thought about that in a while. But I don’t know how you live your life. But for me, and I’m still trying to figure out if I still want to continue living my life this way, so I do. So, I don’t think things are… Oh, man, I don’t even know where to start.
Charan: Yeah, get in there, though.
Yasmine: Oh, man, [crosstalk 00:18:24]-
Charan: I want to hear the philosophy behind it, too.
Yasmine: Oh, there’s philosophy.
Yasmine: So, I do believe in things. I don’t want to say I do believe in it. But I do not ignore the fact that things happen in your life that are signs that come to you. And you can’t ignore the fact. I definitely don’t ever want to tell myself, well, that’s just a coincidence. I don’t think things, well, first, I’ve mainly don’t think things are coincidences because I feel that just makes life boring.
Yasmine: So, I like the aspect of thinking like, “Oh, there’s a meaning behind that.” That means something to me. So, I like holding on to that kind of a philosophy. So, it was a string of those kinds of moments that happened, where I was already thinking about it. And obviously, if you’re in this industry, it’s always on, it’s a topic of conversation, like, “Are you going to move to LA? When are you moving? Do you want to? Do you want to move somewhere else? New York or LA?”
Yasmine: So, that was always part of the conversation. I never really took it seriously until, at first, the first thing that I got was I got my manager. And my manager is actually the one who helped me move out. So, he was the one who talked about everything, and he was from LA, he lived in LA, and he, like managers do, guide you with the business side of things, and what you need to do, what the next steps are. So, he was really a big part of it.
Charan: I love that.
Yasmine: And then, other life things happened. And then, I’m like, “Oh, I guess all of these things are pointing me towards LA.” So, I just did it. And I just went. And I really didn’t think too much about it. Once I started seeing all those things, I was like, “This is the right moment.” So, I just did it, awesome time. I drove by myself from Texas to LA, had my Uhaul.
Yasmine: And that was six years ago, almost seven years ago now. Oh, my gosh. So, that’s how that came about. I really think not just with this decision but just a lot of life decisions. Nothing, I know, whenever we have these kinds of conversations, important life-altering conversations, people wait for the right moment, or people wait until things are perfectly put into place, when it feels right.
Yasmine: And I just feel like there’s never a perfect time or a perfect moment. And sometimes it is just best, like I’ve learned in my life to just jump and do it, because you’ll always find something if you think about it. Paralysis by analysis. If you think about it too much, you can find that one thing that will still hold you back. And then you’ll just always be held back, I think.
Charan: I love that philosophy. And I actually live my life a lot by that type of philosophy.
Yasmine: It’s fun. Yeah.
Charan: I don’t know, my entire life, if I look back, it’s just been nothing short of miraculous, so many different things. And so, see, I’ve always had a spiritual belief, a belief in God and everything like that. And when I look at my life and see all the things that have happened, there’s just no way that someone wasn’t divinely appointing certain things.
Charan: Like, guide me in the path that I was going to be guided to. I started my acting career in Utah, and I never, I never thought I was going to LA. I just didn’t think that it was going to be a part of my plan.
Yasmine: And you grew up in Utah, right?
Charan: I grew up in Utah. Well, I was born in India, but we came to Utah.
Yasmine: Yeah. Did you have family in Utah? Is that why you all came to Utah?
Charan: No, we just had friends there. And my dad went to school here. And it was just this crazy thing, right?
Yasmine: I want to meet your parents.
Charan: Yeah. They’re good folks. They really are, really amazing folks. But when we came here, I was a kid, and even us coming here was a miracle. We kept getting rejected on our visas to come to America.
Charan: And so, we didn’t really know what to do. But then, my mom, when she was a young girl, she went to, she saw some video about Jesus Christ. And she had this instant-like connection to him.
Charan: And so, when she got older, when we kept getting rejected, and we grew up Hindu, she snuck out of our house, and went to a Christian church with this girl that worked with us and prayed to Jesus that we get our visas. And two weeks later, we got our visas. And we ended up coming to Utah, of all places, and then just grew up here and had a great, great life.
Charan: And then, had all these little things happen, like even me getting into acting, how that all came about, it was such a miracle. And we can go on that another time. But all these miracles happen. And then, in 2008, because I had been feeling a little stagnant in Utah, and I wasn’t feeling I was getting all the opportunities I wanted. And then in 2008, I happened to do a film where I was the only Utah lead actor, the other four were all LA-based. And they’d been in tons and tons of movies. Like Alexa Vega, I don’t know if you know who Alexa is?
Yasmine: Her name is familiar.
Charan: She’s in Spy Kids.
Yasmine: Oh, yes, yes, yes. Yes. She’s a woman now, I think.
Charan: A woman now, yeah, absolutely.
Charan: Yeah. But she became a good friend of mine. And we were chatting, and they’re all like, “Charan, you got to come to LA; we will help you. Utah may not be the place for you.” I’m like, “Okay, maybe.” And then I ended up hanging out, this was so random, but I hung out with Ben Stiller in Utah.
Yasmine: Is he so funny?
Charan: He was the best.
Yasmine: I would love to meet him in person.
Charan: He was so nice and he was so encouraging of my acting journey.
Charan: And he’s like, “Hey, when you go to LA, hit my production company up.” And gave me their info and stuff, and it was just super nice stuff, right?
Yasmine: That’s so sweet, yeah.
Charan: All these things kept happening that I’m like, “I am not doing this.” But I am going [inaudible 00:25:05]. And that’s the important thing is [inaudible 00:25:07]. It’s like if you’re constantly waiting and waiting and waiting for the signs to happen, it tends to not happen. But if you’re like, “You know what, I don’t see the future. I don’t know what the future is. I’m in a direction towards something. It is dark, but I’m going to keep going for it. And hopefully, the paths will be illuminated.” It illuminated, and little things happened here and there. And it’s amazing because you’ve been in LA for six, almost seven years now. I was in LA for nine years.
Charan: But it’s interesting that in your short, well, in your time in LA, not short, you’ve been able to do some really, really cool projects. You were mentioning about The Originals that you did.
Charan: And all these other like fun projects. So, how did those things all come about? Was it just because you got out there, your manager puts you in front of the right casting directors, or we’re like different things happening that made that happen?
Yasmine: I think it’s a combination of all those things, because it’s really, see, okay, man, sometimes an hour is not enough.
Charan: I know.
Yasmine: Like even just those miracle things you were talking about, I’d love to get into what, those were for me, and then what, because you said another time-
Charan: We will, we will.
Yasmine: I want to know now.
Charan: We’ll chat, we’ll chat, we’ll chat about those, for sure, those are going to be the good things.
Yasmine: So, for this, just your traditional, again, to use that word, just going into a room auditioning or a tape, because those are becoming popular. So, definitely a lot of them came from those kinds of things. A lot of them, too, were self-submissions. So, a lot of them were from me, and me going into, even though I had a manager, even though I had an agent, I still didn’t stop looking for things for myself, because I’m aware that they also have other clients and they have to focus on them too. So, I would like to still focus on myself.
Yasmine: And because of that, I was able to get some projects that lead to other projects just because of the connection that I made. And I know that some people, and some people did tell me like, “You shouldn’t do that, that’s not going to look good on your resume.” And a lot of it, I wasn’t trying to look good, honestly. This was, again, from what we were talking about at the beginning of this conversation, was just fun.
Yasmine: It’s just fun. For me, it’s definitely a lot about people. And so, if I meet people that I just really want to work with, who I just think are creative, and who are funny, and who I think I would have a good time, because it really is about the experience for me and the journey. I want to do it. And thankfully, some of those turned into other things because they either did other projects or they knew other people that needed me.
Yasmine: And so, it’s been a combination of both. Yeah. So, what you were saying earlier about, even though it seems like the path is dark, or even if people are saying no, or whatever words that you’re hearing people are throwing at you about what you should do or shouldn’t do, I think it’s just that it goes back to that feeling again, does it feel right for you?
Yasmine: If this feels right, why not? Like my manager was saying no to some projects, and I was like, “Well, I want to do it.” So, I wouldn’t tell him and I would do it. That’s a bad, probably, advice. But hey, I’m here.
Charan: Well, it’s interesting, because I know for me, from back when I was in high school, I had a buddy that we would always be like, “Hey, dude, let’s make some memories. Let’s go make some memories.” And we’d make these little videos. And they were so fun. And we would just laugh and laugh. And sadly, that same buddy had an accident. He passed away right after high school. But I remember looking at those videos and being like, “Oh, my gosh, this is so precious.” The memories that we made-
Charan: … they’re precious. And so, for me, it was always about that.
Charan: Like creating projects with my friends and doing fun things like that. That spoke way more than how much money am I going to make, what is this going to do for my career and all this stuff, because it was interesting, my career in LA started blowing up. There was a point where I remember constantly doing these shows, and the different TV series, and things like that.
Charan: But while I was doing that, I kept thinking about the experience that I had with my friends when I was doing those things. That joy that I felt, that feeling of aliveness. I don’t necessarily always feel that with the crew here. Not that it’s bad or anything like that, it just wasn’t that aliveness, that passion and stuff.
Charan: And so, that was actually the big thing that what inspired me to be like, “You know what, I’ve learned a ton in LA, I’m going to always keep my representation in LA. And if something comes up that I can send it into tape for, I’ll go and do that.” But I feel like I would rather produce and create my own stuff with my friends. I’m going to get more of an experience.
Charan: And so, that’s what I do. Right before The Chosen, I finished producing this feature I was telling you about it. And I’m telling you, it was so much fun. We went all over Utah. I was with my friends. And we were running around shooting things. And yet, we had a big enough budget to make them look awesome. And when I see that whole experience happen, I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, that’s what it was.” That whole thing made it so alive and so joyous. And it wasn’t just the acting. It was everything about it. It was the behind the scenes. It was all the jokes we were sharing. It was-
Yasmine: The best part.
Charan: … a random, so and so has a dinner. And this one time when so and so was hurting and whatever and then we were helping them out, or whatever. All those things made it, the experience of it, right, the experience of it.
Yasmine Al-Bustami Talks About The Chosen
Charan: And so, I want to like lead all that stuff up to talk about The Chosen, because I know when I hung out with you crew, that one time, I’m like, “Man, these guys look like they’re having a great time.”
Yasmine: No, we’re having a horrible time.
Charan: Yeah, just a horrible-
Yasmine: It’s not a phase.
Charan: … horrible time, yeah. So, how did The Chosen come into your life? I want to talk about the miracles of The Chosen as well, but yeah, it was-
Yasmine: A lot, right?
Yasmine: Yeah. And you’ve been through it, because you know a lot of the folks, so you’ve heard it up until this point. Again, it came as an audition from my agent, and did the tape. I actually auditioned for another role, didn’t get that. And then, it came back again, probably a few months, a year later. And it happened to be the role of Ramah.
Yasmine: And it’s just so funny, again. I love looking back and seeing how things play out. And Ramah hit, obviously. And you know, it’s funny, because I was in LA at the time and then this was shooting in Texas, the episode that I was in for Season One, Episode Five, the wedding episode. And I just remember thinking, I was obviously, I love working, but then, also, at the same time, I get to go to Texas, too.
Charan: Yes, seriously, that was amazing.
Yasmine: And in Dallas, that was the other thing. It was like at home, home. So, I stayed with my family.
Charan: That’s amazing.
Yasmine: Went to go work, they’re like, “We can put you up in a hotel.” I’m like, “No, I’ll stay with my family.” And so, it was like a win-win for me. And because of that, that holds another place in your heart when you can work at home, like what you were saying, yes, you got so much work in LA, yes, all the opportunities are here. And it’s everywhere now.
Yasmine: But at a time it was here that there was still something about being home with your friends, with your buddies that is on a different level. And it’s so funny, because you realize that, like I realized that now whenever I see the same people working over and over and over again, I’m like, “I get it. Y’all just really like each other, so why not? And y’all are having fun probably.”
Yasmine: So yeah, that’s how The Chosen came about. And then, obviously, they’re such an amazing group of people. And everybody with all the… that’s what’s so funny to me is with all the different personalities involved, cast and crew, how everyone just still gets along, even on people’s bad days. I love how accepting and understanding people are when someone just needs a day, too, or is even just having a day, people are really understanding.
Yasmine: And so, we all allow each other to be ourselves. I think that’s the thing, is because we’re all in it, especially in the conditions that we were in. Because we were all in it together. It made us closer, which also allowed us to just be even doubly understanding of, “Oh, that person, we’re going through some crap right now. So, this person, just let them… If they need me, I’m here. If they don’t, and they want to be by themselves, let them. No one’s taking it personally.”
Yasmine: So, it was just nice to feel that camaraderie through not just the regular… you saw a lot of good times, but even the really hard, really tough times. And God bless Dallas. Oh, my gosh, I can’t even imagine what, because we were talking about him earlier and all the stuff that he goes through.
Charan: It’s so interesting. He’s such a good man, I mean. I remember-
Charan: I mean, he’s okay, I mean, whatever, fine. I mean, he’s, you know-
Charan: No, it was so interesting. So, I knew about the project because I think I told you, the Angel Studio side, the video, I’ve known those guys for a long time. And they’re good buddies of mine. And so, I knew about The Chosen before it was The Chosen. It was just The Shepherd. It was a short film that they used to get the funding. And it was even a rough cut of that short film.
Yasmine: Have you seen it? I still have not seen that short film.
Charan: Yeah. Yeah. I saw it forever ago. And it was a rough cut. And I remember even watching it, and it was low budget, but it had such good characters and stuff. And then, after it, it was a video of Dallas talking about what he wanted to do with the show. And then, no one knew what was going to happen. We’re like, “All right, well, let’s see if we can raise some money for this show.” Right?
Charan: So, it was just a big thing. So, my show was next on the docket to come out. So, we were all waiting in anticipation for how The Shepherd was going to do. And then, it just blew up. It blew up. It was the craziest thing. And I’m like, “No way.” And I know it blew up enough for the first four episodes to be filmed.
Charan: And I am a part owner of a company that did some of the visual effects for those first four episodes, for the first season.
Yasmine: How nice.
Charan: Yeah. And so-
Charan: … we got to work a lot of the… I got to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes and everything like that. Jeff Harmon, who’s a good friend and one of the founders of the Angel, connecting me to Dallas. So, Dallas was like hitting me up personally about auditioning for the show. So, we were trying to figure out what would be a good rule. And it was tricky, because I am an East Indian, for sure. And I definitely look East Indian. I don’t look, Middle Eastern. And so, we were trying to figure out what would actually fit and be appropriate. We were going through that whole thing. But I remember I was at this event, this Christian event in California called NRB.
Charan: And there were four episodes of the show just finished. And at this event, we were actually with The Chosen, promoting our own biblical product that we had created. So, I was working side by side with Dallas and Chris, and that’s how I got to meet Chris and everyone.
Charan: And Jonathan was there and we were chatting, and Jonathan was like, “Dude, I hope this does well, because there was other shows that were being promoted.” And I’m like, “Dude, I think this is going to go, man. Once enough people see it, I think people are going to latch on to it.” But the extent at which it’s gone has been unbelievable.
Yasmine: You just never know, right? That’s why I love hearing stuff like that what you were just saying of Jonathan being, “Man, I hope people like it. I hope this happens,” and then to be where we’re at.
Yasmine Al-Bustami Talks About Miracles on the Set of The Chosen
Charan: And I remember the conversation… and I remember the convo, and this was all before, and I said, “Dude, I’ve seen some of the episodes, and you do really great in it, and so I really think this is going to be awesome.” And yeah, it’s just a combination of so many miracles, so many things happening. And it’s cool, because I’d love to hear more of some of the miraculous things that you’ve actually experienced being on set. If you have anything come to mind, I’d love to hear.
Yasmine: I mean, the most, oh, my goodness. Just because we’re just fresh off of set. I’m thinking of the most recent times that we just went through, which is, and that’s the longest that I’ve been on set because I was only in, I was only there for a week for season one. But for season two, man, first of all, I don’t even know if season two was going to happen.
Yasmine: I’m pretty sure, behind the scenes, everybody, production was saying, “Oh, no, it’s going to happen.” We would hear from them. But I had not, we’re supposed to… rumor was, is that we were supposed to go back in last October, November. And I think June, maybe July hit, the beginning of July, and I still had not heard anything. We had a table read.
Yasmine: I was like, “Okay, so I we had a table read for a little thing for season two.” And I was like, “Okay, it’s written, some of it is written. I haven’t seen the whole script. I haven’t gotten any travel information.” I wasn’t getting anything. So, I was like, “It’s not even going to happen.” Because it’s also during COVID and the pandemic, are they going to push it?
Yasmine: Are they not going to do it? Are we going to, what’s happening? So, that alone in itself, I was shocked that we went through with it because it was during COVID. And they handled everything great. A lot of testing. A lot of testing.
Yasmine: So, that was the first thing for me. I was like, “Wow, we’re making this happen. How is it going to happen?” And then, seeing how it did happen, especially during the pandemic, was miraculous for me. And then, I think and obviously you thought, especially during that time, I think we maybe had one snow day, one or two snow days where it just randomly snowed.
Yasmine: But then we get to Texas. And oh, my goodness, it’s so funny, because you think that our location is just, if you look on a map, it’s so desolate, it’s in the middle of nowhere, nothing else is around. But all my goodness, we have such a problem with planes. We were right by an airport. I don’t know if you know this.
Charan: No, I didn’t know that.
Yasmine: But those planes, well, we don’t have to talk about that with Chad, because I’m sure Chad doesn’t want to think about that anymore. But all the little random things that could happen, that could go wrong, would go wrong. I feel like we went through every weather experience. After tornado, it definitely rained.
Yasmine: You were part of The Freeze. And that was another miraculous thing. Seeing what we could pull off during that. And honestly, props to my cast mates, because sometimes when I see footage of just anytime that we were doing stuff on set, because I haven’t seen some of the footage recently, but remembering how cold it was, and seeing how warm people are making it look, I’m like, “Wow, y’all are talented. Y’all are so good.”
Charan: Oh, man.
Yasmine: I know. And then, again, everyone else just pulling through, doing it with those, oh, and then, man, because of the rain, how muddy it was, because we do everything outside. So, seeing what we could make happen. And seeing, again, it blows my mind when it’s a hundred plus people that are around you.
Yasmine: And everyone just has to be on their game for it to be pulled off, and we pull it off. I think the main thing for me besides, like the second thing that comes to mind that’s a major thing for me besides the weather and what we went through and us being able to go through it is, and I don’t think I’m giving anything away, but we did, because it’s out now, we did a one-shot.
Charan: That’s what Jordan was telling me about, yeah. Oh, my…
Yasmine: Oh, my goodness, what a day.
Charan: I know. He was telling me about that.
Yasmine: And then getting it at the very last absolute second that you could get it out because the sun was going down. And it’s like, “This is all we have. The sun will be gone. We have to get it now.” That was something, and oh, the person that I felt for that day was definitely the Steadicam op.
Charan: That’s what he was saying.
Yasmine: God bless that guy. I think his name’s Chad. I wish I knew his last name so I can give him a shout-out, because 15 minutes he had that thing on his back. And he looked like a transformer with everything that was going on. And he did it. But obviously, he was so tired in certain points, and he just had to give up. So, I was like, “Oh, I just want to hug you and give you an apple pie.” Amazing. Yeah.
Charan: Oh, my gosh.
Yasmine: And God bless you for being there during that time too.
Charan: It was so interesting, it was so crazy. I remember, so before your season two started, I had lunch with Chad in Utah. And-
Yasmine: Chad makes me smile, I love Chad.
Charan: And so, we went and we had lunch, and I’m like, “Dude, how’s it going?” Because he was telling me of some of the struggles he was facing, trying to crew up. And the thing was, it was COVID, but there were productions in Utah, so most of the crew had already been taken.
Yasmine: Yeah, yeah.
Charan: And he’s like, “Dude, I don’t even know what to do.” And I’m like, “All right.” And I’m like, “What positions do you need to fill? Tell me what positions, because I feel like I know a lot of these people and I can refer you to people.” And he’s like, “Okay.” And so, I just had a bunch of people e-mail some of whatever he was looking for. But it was so interesting. And it was great because I got to see a lot of the Utah crew on, right, and they’re buddies of mine, so we’re all hanging out and chatting about different things. But it was interesting because, so the LDS Church, which owns that set, never lets any other production-
Yasmine: That’s the other thing, yes.
Charan: … ever lets any other production other than LDS Church itself film on there. And so, that was a huge, huge thing. And so, many people were involved, little by little encouraging people and stuff. And some of the people that I even came with to Dallas were part of the people that helped to make that whole thing come to pass, make it come [crosstalk 00:45:25].
Yasmine: Yeah. Wow.
Charan: So, it was so interesting to see that happen, because never before. But what’s also interesting is, in the church that I go to and stuff, there’s a lot of, a lot people aren’t big fans of the content that we put out. It’s the funniest part. It’s so interesting. But they love The Chosen, they love The Chosen. They really feel connected to the way Dallas portrayed that.
Charan: And in a sense, a lot of people have regained their own faith because of The Chosen. Isn’t that so interesting?
Yasmine: I feel like this is why, because this is what I hear a lot when people say that. It’s usually because of how grounded the characters are.
Charan: Very grounded, very real. You can see that in this version, they feel like Jesus is approachable, that he’s our friend.
Yasmine: It’d be perfect to be his buddy.
Charan: And that’s because a lot of people, for whatever reason, they feel, and I’ve seen this within my own church and everything, that a lot of people feel very shamed. They don’t feel like they can actually connect to Jesus.
Charan: I also feel that way. But-
Yasmine: Oh, good.
Charan: And so, when The Chosen came out, I’m like, “Dude, you, guys, are doing some massive healing for a lot of people.”
Yasmine: Yes. Yeah. I feel like I stopped as a human, like I was doing everything wrong.
Charan: I know, man. And the thing is-
Yasmine: Oh, my goodness.
Charan: … so one of the guys I showed, oh, no, you met him, you met him.
Yasmine: Which one?
Charan: His name is Kurt Brown. He came with me. He’s my bishop of the congregation that I-
Yasmine: Yes, yes, with his wife.
Charan: Yeah with his wife, right, [Katie 00:47:11].
Yasmine: Yeah. Oh, that is so sweet.
Charan: So, those guys are super, super duper cool. And he’s a financial dude. He was at Wall Street. He did all kinds of fun stuff. And now, he’s back in Utah. And he’s running this congregation. And he always tells people, because a lot of times he has meetings with people, and they’re trying to share all the things that’s wrong in their life and they need some help.
Charan: And his advice is to them is like, “Hey, I want you to watch a show called The Chosen.” That’s the first thing that he says. To encourage people, he’s like, “Go watch that show. See what it really is like.” So, he really, really wanted to come to Dallas and to be a part of it. He was going to be a Christmas present for his wife to do that.
Charan: So, that’s why we were like, “All right, well, let’s make this happen.” And so, I hit Dallas up. I’m like, “Dude, what do we need to do to make this happen?” Because he donated some money and all that stuff, so we all went out that way. And I remember getting the messages like, “Hey, it’s going to be chilly. It’s going to be cold.” But I’m like-
Yasmine: It’s just a little chilly, bring a sweater.
Charan: [crosstalk 00:48:16] It’s Texas. It’s Texas. It’s going to be fun. I’m from Utah, come on. And then, I get there. And I’m like, “What the crap? This is horrible.” I didn’t realize how cold it was.
Yasmine: Oh, my gosh.
Charan: So, we bought a ton of stuff.
Yasmine: And that’s not to say, y’all were so sweet, too.
Charan: Yeah. So, I don’t know if you heard about the whole handing out of the hand warmers. I don’t know if you know that?
Yasmine: Yeah, you mentioned that. Well, because remember you were saying, because I saw you just a brief moment and was able to say hi. I said something about it being so cold, “I’m so sorry.” And you’re like, “Yeah, I had no idea that it’s going to be this cold.” We all went out to go buy some hand warmers and passed it out to 2,000 plus people.
Charan: I know. So, it was the Harmons that decided to buy. And they went to Walmart and they bought everything there.
Yasmine: Oh, my gosh, yeah.
Charan: It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough. And so, I remember handing them out to people, and legit, people started crying. They were so happy. And I’m like, “Dude, is this like loaves and fishes right now, is that what’s happening right now with the hand warmers?” And I’m praying that they were getting replenished in the boxes, but they weren’t.
Charan: But I’m like, “All right, sorry guys, we are out, but if we could share with each other, that would be amazing.” But it was crazy, man. Because I remember when I didn’t have my gloves on, my hands instantly froze. And poor Jonathan, just doing his thing, and I’m like, “Dude, it is so brutal for you, man.”
Yasmine: Especially when that wind would come through, too. And then, it’s so funny, it would get so cold that Dallas, I don’t know why, but his face hairs end up getting icicles on them. You’ll see icicles-
Charan: No way.
Yasmine: … yeah, on his eyelashes, on his eyebrows. I’m like, “How are you? Are you sweating? But then, also, it’s freezing?”
Charan: Yeah. Oh, man. And he was [crosstalk 00:50:09] and get to everybody. And I was telling Jordan this too. I remember every set that you’ve gone is different, have a different energy and different feel, and you’re trying to navigate your way around, right? And I remember feeling that a lot in LA. Different sets have different energies. And some sets, I wouldn’t even expect it to, was super-duper warm and welcoming. Like Criminal Minds, I was on an episode of that. And they were so kind to me, just so nice. It’s unbelievable.
Charan: But I remember when I got to The Chosen, just everybody was just so warm and welcoming. Austin was the first person I met. And then I met Jordan. And you guys were so kind and so nice.
Yasmine: Was this in, you said, in Utah?
Charan: This was in Utah when-
Yasmine: Yeah, because we had dinner.
Charan: We had dinner, right?
Yasmine: Yes. That’s where I met you, I think.
Charan: Yeah. That’s where we met. Yeah. But I filmed my scene a couple of days before or a day before or something like that. And I remember just like-
Yasmine: Those guys, yeah.
Charan: Yeah, it was just such a warm, good feeling. And I was like, “This is going to be great. It’s going to be so fun.” And sweet Dallas, right when we got to set and stuff, he stopped the crew, stopped everybody, saying, “Hey, guys, I have to tell you about this huge thing that happened.”
Charan: And he’s like, “We didn’t know who our actor was going to be, and then all of a sudden Charan suddenly showed up.” And I was like, “Dude, you’re making me blush.” And then, he’s like, “Oh, and he’s going to kill it.” And I’m like, “You don’t know that. I just got the sides last night. Let’s see what happens before we make those type of prophecies.”
Yasmine: Oh, don’t doubt Dallas.
Charan: I know. I know. And so, hopefully, hopefully, it turned out okay. But no, I really loved what you guys are doing, what the show is about. And I’m excited for, I’m very excited for the future of the show and honestly-
Yasmine: I’m so excited you got to be a part of it. How fun, how fun, especially because you were there since the beginning and saw how much that everybody went through. And now, you’re part of the family.
Charan: Fun family.
Yasmine: You’re going through some things, too.
Charan: It’s interesting, because I feel like I’ve been a part of the producing family for a little while, even though I’ve been on the outside, but to be a part of the cast as well has been nice. But it is funny, because the Harmons, in Dallas and Chad, specifically Chad, they tell me some of the needs of the show that the cast don’t even know about. So, I’m talking to Jordan. And he’s like, “Oh, wait, what?” And I’m like, “Yeah, I know, dude.” It’s like random stuff.
Yasmine: Thanks so much. Yes. I’m telling you about the stuff that we’re going through. I know that they’re also going through some things. Because sometimes we’ll hear about it, so I’m like, “If that’s just tip of the iceberg, there’s got to be more.” Because obviously you’re not going to remember everything or share everything, so man.
Charan: It’s awesome.
Yasmine Al-Bustami Talks About Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Charan: So, I want to change the topic real quick as we’re talking about these things. Everybody in life, any creator, any person, they face moments where they are dealt severe lemons. And then, they have to figure out how am I going to turn this into lemonade?
Yasmine: The lemonade. Oh, I get it.
Charan: You get it now. You totally get it, right?
Yasmine: Oh, I love that.
Yasmine: Oh, how fun. I feel like I ruin every little intro you have and it’s no good, I’m sorry.
Charan: No. No, no, no, I’m glad you did. I’m glad that you did. This is the best. So, I want to hear about a moment in your own life where you’re like, “This was a hard lemon. And I need to figure out how to turn this into lemonade.”
Yasmine: You know what? I’m going to share something that I’m still struggling with, because I just had this conversation yesterday, but it’s been more of a constant conversation just because The Chosen has come out recently. And people like, “Oh, you must be so proud.” “Yes.” “Oh, I’m sure you’re sharing it with people.” “Well.” “Oh, I’m sure your parents are really proud.” “They don’t know. My parents don’t know.” And-
Charan: What do you mean they don’t know?
Yasmine: They don’t know that I’m on the show, unless they randomly come across it. So, that’s something with my background of being coming from a Middle Eastern background. They never really fully accepted. We never really had that conversation where they said we love what you’re doing. I never felt that acceptance from them.
Yasmine: They knew I was doing it when I first started, because I told them and I was excited about it. And that’s because I shared that with them, that’s how I also know that they didn’t like it. So, they would sometimes, and it’s mainly my dad, my dad’s the Middle Eastern one, and he’s very “old school,” so he’s the one that gets, who sees it that way more so than my mom.
Yasmine: My mom’s actually really supportive. But I don’t really share anything with her because I don’t want her to feel like she has to keep anything from my dad. So, they will really only see things when maybe a family member randomly has seen something or a family friend has seen something. And they’ll be like, “Oh, your daughter, that’s awesome. She did this thing.”
Yasmine: And then, they’ll tell me, they’ll be like, again, mainly my mom, my mom will be like, “Oh, you did this thing? How was it out? That’s awesome. That’s really cool. We saw it.” And in the back of my head, I just know, I’m like, “Yeah, but Dad doesn’t like it.” So, that’s been a struggle, and it’s still a constant struggle. And this whole time that I’ve been acting, I’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with that, and come to terms with that, and just know how to deal with it in a way where I can still move forward and still want to do my work, not feel guilty.
Yasmine: Because with that kind of a struggle, I feel like, obviously, in any struggle, you go through a roller coaster of emotions, some days are good, some days are bad. And depending on, it’s like trialing and erroring which ways are efficient in handling those struggles. And so, for me, that just happens to have other people’s emotions involved.
Yasmine: And they just happen to be my parents. And so, that’s really important to me. I want them to be happy. I don’t want to cut, I’m not trying to cut ties with my parents at all. So, it’s that balance for me of trying to figure out, and this is what I have decided to do for myself; it works for me. I find the balance of still maintaining a relationship with them, which I still have, but realizing that I can’t share everything with them.
Yasmine: But then, that also has translated into just life. Because I’d like to think I can be an open person. Once I get really close to, I want to share everything with somebody, but realizing that there are some people who, even if you’re maybe really close to them, sometimes some people who really just want to get you or to understand you just don’t and won’t.
Yasmine: And maybe they’ll understand other parts of you and things that you do in your life. But then, for whatever reason, maybe they won’t accept or understand other aspects of your life, which is why I’m happy that I have, I think, a good support group around me who, depending on what I want to share or depending on who I need to talk to, I know who those people are that I can go to.
Yasmine: It’d be nice if there was just that one person who can go to about everything. And I know some people have that. But I know it was also really hard to find. So, I’m just really happy that I have… I created a support group for myself who, if I ever do need to have a conversation about a certain thing, if someone doesn’t understand it, then I know I have another person that I can go to. But that’s definitely a constant struggle that I’ll be going through.
Charan: That’s so interesting and really profound. I think about my own parents accepting me being an actor, right?
Yasmine: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Charan: And how that went, because initially, same thing, my mom was a little bit more open than my dad. And my dad was like, “Are you throwing your life away? What are you doing? Why are you doing all these things?” And initially it was like that. But it’s interesting because he’s gone through his own thing. And he’s changed quite a bit. But it required his own desire to change.
Yasmine: Yeah. Yeah.
Charan: [crosstalk 00:59:03] get rid of the narratives that he’s told himself about what things are supposed to look like and be like and feel like. I remember when I first got to LA, because he thought this is going to be a fad, and I will get something else and get a real job, right?
Yasmine: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Charan: And then, I got to LA. And of course, it’s hard. It’s not it’s not completely easy. And so, so many times I’d be struggling with finances, with money.
Yasmine: Yeah, yeah.
Charan: He’ll take those times as the moments to point out, “You need to get a real job. You get a real thing and put this off to the side.” And it was such a difficult thing, because here’s the thing. From a logical perspective, it makes complete sense.
Charan: It makes complete sense. And so, I completely understood where he was coming from, but I just knew that it wasn’t making me come alive.
Yasmine: Yes, yes.
Charan: And the other thing was-
Yasmine: And why would you want to live life feeling not alive? What’s the point? You’re going to… yeah.
Charan: Yeah. And for me, I mean, I can see that and for you, obviously, you can see that as well.
Charan: I realized I had to feel alive. For me, I have to. Whatever I do, as long as I’m feeling alive, then I’m still [crosstalk 01:00:25]-
Yasmine: Yes, yes, yes.
Charan: Right? And so, it was a constant struggle. But what I realized was more than anything, my dad just wanted me to be successful. He just wanted me to be happy and successful. That is really where I personally had to come down to, right? And once I could realize that, and then I’ve started booking more things that were a little bit more, okay, a little bit more notoriety and more things were coming out.
Charan: And like you said, extended family or other people would be like, “Oh, my gosh, that’s great that Charan is doing this.” He’s like, “Oh, okay.” And so, he got to see like, “All right, this is a little bit different.” Honestly, when I moved back from LA to Utah, because I moved back because of the CW show I was telling you about, and I was a regular-
Charan: Outpost. And then, after that, just a lot of different commercials came through Utah. And Utah is, I’m so busy as an actor in Utah, way more than LA, which is fun when I think about it, I really am. And then, he just started seeing, okay, wait a minute. He ultimately wanted me to be happy. And he ultimately wanted me to have success in what I was doing. And he saw that I was having a bit of both. So, [crosstalk 01:01:46], I can see that. But it is tough. It’s tough because, man, I mean, ever since I was a kid, all I wanted was my parents’ approval, right?
Yasmine: Yeah. Yeah.
Charan: I wanted them to be excited and happy for you, and all that stuff. And the more traditional they are, the harder that is, I feel, especially if you’re trying to do something completely outside of tradition. And I think it probably would be harder for a female than a male.
Yasmine: Oh, man. Boy, I’ll tell you. Yup. And firstborn, too, I’m his first, and he only has two daughters. I’m pretty sure, I’m not pretty sure, he definitely wanted a boy and then he got me. Not to say that he’s not proud. I know he loves me. Oh, yeah, you feel, yeah. You see, I think the reason I brought that up is because he raised me like a boy.
Charan: Okay. This is amazing.
Yasmine: Until obviously, until I hit like puberty, and then he was like, “Oh, she’s a woman.” But it’s funny, whenever I was growing up, I’m very much, I think, more of a tomboy. And I think it had a lot to do with how my dad taught me how to deal with situations and things. And it was very confrontational. Not in a bad way, I think, but just speak your mind and do… that’s why it’s so funny. It’s funny. I wonder if you feel this way. It’s funny to me, and putting gender aside and traditions aside, but just, my parents are the ones that brought me up. Your parents are the ones that brought you up.
Yasmine: So, I think, there’s got to be some correlation to how I think as an adult now, because my parents instilled certain values, certain morals, certain ways of looking at life. How I see the world, how I see people, what I want out of life did not just come from, I mean, yes, it came from life experiences, but a lot of it came from my parents, because I spent a lot of my time with my parents.
Yasmine: And my mom, for instance, she is Filipina. So, my dad is Middle Eastern, she’s Filipina. So, even just by that example, for me, and my parents traveled the world. And just alone by that example, that’s such a worldly view and such an open-
Charan: Outside-of-the-box thinking, yeah.
Yasmine: Yeah. But to me, it makes sense now, speaking to you as Yasmine at this day and age, in this present moment, I’m like, “Well, it makes sense that I would be where I am today and how I am because of my parents.” That it’s also funny to me, but I would also have the conversation with you of, “Yeah, my dad doesn’t really like what I’m doing.” So, that is still something, also, that is very fascinating. But I think it’s awesome that your dad has started opening up.
Charan: Well, I’ll tell you what, it came from him, I would say, opening up his own spiritual practices in Hinduism and all that stuff.
Yasmine: Ah, yeah.
Charan: It’s interesting, so my mom, my parents divorced, and my mom was remarried. And she’s now single. But through her second marriage, we have a sister, but really, it was just my brother and me growing up, and I’m the oldest. So, as the oldest, it’s almost like, the responsibility is put upon you to be the example for the family and all this stuff.
Charan: And so, I remember thinking as I was growing up and everything, my dad had set rules, because in a way, and he told me this, the way I turned out, he felt, reflected more about his own identity. And so, he was owning the outcomes of my life to does he have value. And that was a really interesting perspective when he was sharing that with me, because I know he was like, this is a while ago, but he was bummed that I hadn’t found my wife and gotten married and had a regular type of thing. And I’m like-
Yasmine: Yeah, you’re doing it all wrong.
Charan: Yeah, I’m totally doing it wrong. And I remember as he was having this conversation, I remember him telling me, he just felt disappointed in himself. And I’m like, “Wait a minute, let’s explore that a little bit. Why are you disappointed in yourself? Do you feel I’m a failure? Because I definitely don’t feel I’m a failure. I feel I’m doing some really wonderful things and doing things.” And as we finally started talking about it, and he opened up as well, I realized there’s a certain type of tradition and a certain type of narrative that probably your dad has; my dad definitely had it. And as he is learning to let those things go, and learning to realize, hey, those are just ego.
Charan: Those are just stories that we’ve told ourselves to feel, like this is exactly how it’s supposed to be. And then, my dad was, he decided to let a lot of those things go. Because he started to see, my brother and I were, it’s interesting, we couldn’t have been grown up more differently.
Yasmine: The opposite? Yes.
Charan: Completely opposite. I was more-
Yasmine: Me and my sister.
Charan: I was more of this straight-A student. I’m in school, all that stuff. My brother dropped out of school. He just completely rebelled.
Yasmine: Yes, yes, yes. That’s so similar to my experience.
Charan: Yeah. And so, it’s so interesting, because I have a great relationship with my brother. We’re really good friends now. But he had to go through life a very different way than how I went through life. I was a little bit more of the obedient guy, just with all the stuff. He was like, fought against the system, fought against the society, and he had all kinds of problems.
Charan: But in that, he and my dad butted heads all growing up, massively, growing up, so much so that they both were what they needed to soften each other. And so, now, my brother has become humble and so has my dad. And so, now, that whole perspective has changed a lot. But it’s taking a lot of time. And it was a pretty big, grueling process. But once we got to that point, it was pretty great.
Yasmine: Well, that’s the thing, is that it takes, you can only do so much. When you feel like you really want to, do whatever you can to, what you were saying, to soften everybody, to let everyone know that everything’s fine. You can only do so much because it takes them doing something, too, and what you were saying about your dad; it had to come from him.
Yasmine: He was the one that had to actively make that choice then did it only happen. But without that, you can have all the conversations you want. You can try to explain yourself as much as you want. And that’s what we were talking about earlier. Some people are just not going to understand or accept or get it until for whatever reason something happens with them where they’re like, “I do.”
Yasmine: They have to tell themselves, “I do want to understand, I do want to get it, I do want to live my life another way,” which I think is so admirable. When someone, especially at an older age, I actually really love seeing that. And it’s something that I tell myself of, I try to remind myself of what kind of an older person I want to be, like a grandma, like when I get to grandma age.
Yasmine: And I want to still be malleable. I still want to be able to say, I want to change my mindset. I don’t want to think that I know everything all the time. And I think that’s why I go through life trying to be, this may sound bad, but a little naïve. I still want to have a learning mindset. I want to keep learning. Yeah.
Charan: I love that. It’s the empty cup mentality, right?
Yasmine: Empty cup, yup, yup.
Charan: If you keep an empty cup, then you will always keep learning. But if the moment you feel like you filled it up, there is no room for any more, right?
Yasmine: Yes. You have to have an empty cup because you need to be able to pour lemonade.
Yasmine: Did that work? Did that work?
Yasmine Al-Bustami Talks About What Brings Her Joy
Charan: That worked. That really tied it in. It was good. That was amazing. Oh, so good. Okay. So, last couple of questions for you. What brings you the greatest joy right now?
Yasmine: Ah, oh, my goodness. Sitting in a park, an empty park, with a breeze and sunshine on me.
Charan: Oh, my gosh. That is amazing.
Yasmine: That gives me the most joy right now.
Charan: That is amazing.
Charan: Because I-
Yasmine: You, too?
Charan: 100%. For me, it doesn’t have to be a park, but as long as it’s an empty space or an empty field. Because I remember, there were moments, like I went to Mexico with some buddies of mine, we camped on the beach and there was nobody there. And there was this gentle breeze blowing the whole time. I’m telling you, I was so-
Yasmine: It’s the gentle breeze that does it-
Charan: it’s the gentle breeze.
Yasmine: … for whatever reason, because it makes things come alive, because then you can hear the rustle of the leaves or the grass, or it hits a bird and the bird is like, “Ooh,” and it sings.
Charan: Yeah. It is amazing. It’s interesting, because there was this day, I remember. I used to work at Sundance.
Yasmine: Ah, oh, that was my first time there, it’s beautiful.
Charan: It’s amazing, right?
Yasmine: Before, yeah.
Charan: When you, guys, come out to Utah, again, because I think you, guys, are going to come out. I’ll take you, guys, around.
Yasmine: You know what? You let me know when you find out, because I feel I will be the last to find out.
Charan: Okay. I know, I know. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything.
Yasmine: I sure hope so. I would want to go back.
Charan: Yeah. If you, guys, do, though, I have to take you, guys, around Sundance, because there was this time, I remember, when I was working there, it was a Sunday, nobody was at the resort. It was just totally empty. The season has just finished. And it was probably about 60 or 70 degrees outside. It was so quiet. And I’m just sitting there. And all I can feel is that gentle breeze, right?
Yasmine: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Charan: I literally was like, “This moment can’t end. Please, God, don’t let this moment end.” Because I felt so much healing and so much joy in that moment. And I remember thinking, there’s something to be said about just going to a place where you can just be still.
Charan: And being still is so powerful. In fact, it’s actually one of the things I was going to discuss with you is, in our lives, things are always in motion. LA is crazy. There’s always things going on, right?
Yasmine: I was just thinking of that when you said, yeah.
Yasmine Al-Bustami Talks About Finding Time for Stillness
Charan: Always going on? How do you find time to be still for yourself?
Yasmine: I think that’s why it’s the greatest joy right now, because I’m back in LA. And during COVID, the whole world was still, so it was, really, honestly, for me, it was such a, I know it was a tough time for a lot of people, but to go outside and to just feel everyone literally take a break and just calm down and do whatever they needed to do, focus on whatever they needed to focus on. Refocus, recalibrate. Felt amazing.
Yasmine: That’s coming. It’s slowly starting to go away now because people are going back out, the vaccine and everything. So, I think that’s why that’s the greatest joy is I actively, I have to, just because it soothes my mind, go to, and the reason I said a park, for me, it’s literally any empty space, too. But there’s a park I was thinking of, because that’s really the only empty space that I can find in LA because it’s so busy.
Charan: It’s so busy.
Yasmine: Like a parking lot, I would be so happy with a parking lot. I love sitting in an empty parking lot. I did that a lot in Texas. And I do that, and that’s just the recalibration of my mind. Yeah. I just I have to, I found some place that’s close to here, that’s not too far from me. And also, because I actually do like to drive, I have other places. If you go out of LA proper, you can find some good hidden little secret spots.
Charan: I was actually going to recommend something for you.
Yasmine: Yes, please. Yes, please.
Charan: Because you live in Burbank, right? Is that where we were-
Yasmine: I’m close. I’m in Sherman Oaks. And my park is in Burbank that I go to.
Charan: Great, great.
Charan: So, there’s this place, it’s up, it’s north of Burbank. I forgot what the name of it is. It’s Sun something, I forgot. You have to look it up on Google.
Charan: Sunland, Sunland. That’s what it is. Yeah, Sunland, yeah.
Charan: I shot a short film at the cemetery up there. Okay?
Yasmine: Done. Yup.
Charan: So, I went up there. And it’s what I’m talking about. It’s completely quiet, gentle breeze. Just take a drive up there and just sit there for a bit. I’m telling you, it is so amazing. And then-
Yasmine: I’m going to do that today.
Charan: You should. You need to.
Yasmine: I honestly will do that today.
Charan: And then, there’s this other place, oh, man, I have to come to LA and show you, because I just found it, we just found this place. But if you go on the 101, head north as if you’re heading, so you’re west of the 405, way west of the 405. So, before you get to Thousand Oaks and stuff, I think there’s a La Virginas exit. If you take it, it can take you all the way down to Malibu, right?
Yasmine: Okay. Okay. Yeah.
Charan: But if you take that exit, not all the way down, there’s this, oh, my gosh-
Yasmine: Like a little off-road?
Charan: It’s off-road. It’s starts with a P. It’s a light. There’s a light there. But you take it, and I found this random trail. And I would just park there and I would just go hike that trail. I’ve never been to the end of that trail. But I just hike it for fun. I’m telling you. It is magical.
Yasmine: Oh, I love that, that sounds… Yes. I love that that is both of our things. That just makes me so happy [crosstalk 01:16:58].
Charan: 100%. No, it is, it is it. And I do the same thing in Utah, because Utah is getting really noisy as well. So, I find that if I take a little break and drive to open space, which I tend to do all the time now. Once a week, at least, I tried doing it once. It just recalibrates me; it energizes me. So, I think that’s an awesome thing.
Yasmine: Yeah. It makes such a big difference.
Charan: Okay. So, last, last question. Last two questions. Last two questions.
Yasmine: Okay. I got that whenever you said last, last question.
Charan: Yeah, last, last question, okay.
Yasmine: Next last.
Yasmine Al-Bustami Talks About Her Greatest Fear
Charan: So, Yasmine, what is the thing that you fear the most?
Yasmine: Oh, because of our conversation, not feeling alive.
Charan: Oh, man.
Yasmine: I like doing things that make me feel, you said it best, you’re right, I love doing things that make me feel alive because then, otherwise, what is the point? I don’t want to feel dead. I don’t want to feel like Corbin’s dad. Do you still talk to him?
Charan: His dad?
Charan: I haven’t talked to him in a long while. But yeah, it is so interesting when I was talking, and I even talked to at Corbin about them, I do, “Your dad told something crazy.” And it’s interesting because that was, man, so many years ago, but still echoed with me to this day.
Charan: And it’s true. Too much of us are doing things that aren’t making us come alive, putting our energy towards things that aren’t doing that. And I remember during Christmastime, I was at Target or something and I was walking around trying to pick some stuff up and I saw people’s eyes and it looks so dead.
Charan: And they were so sad. And I’m like, “Oh, my word.” I don’t know what’s going on in your lives, but please, please come alive, come back, come back.
Charan: And go do something joyful, so.
Yasmine: And that’s why I love kids so much.
Charan: What’s that?
Yasmine: Honestly, I love kids so much. Whenever I hang out with them, they’re just so fun. They’re alive.
Charan: They’re alive. So, how do we lose that?
Yasmine: I know. And that’s why I think it’s a good thing if you constantly remind yourself of trying to keep that and trying to chase that. I know, for me, I was just telling somebody, whenever I feel stagnant, that’s when I know that I have to do something that makes me feel uncomfortable, just to loosen up my insides again, because I don’t want to get into a schedule.
Yasmine: I love schedules, I do, otherwise, then I wouldn’t be able to do other things. I am “by the schedule” a lot of the times. But I will not, if something comes up that sounds like fun or was not part of the schedule, kind of what you were saying also earlier, I will follow that path. I’m going to say yes. And then, see if who knows. I don’t know who I’m going to meet.
Yasmine: I don’t know what conversation I’m going to have. I don’t know where it’s going to take me, what new experiences I’m going to make. And it’s all about that. I don’t want to go to bed by nine every single night.
Charan: Yeah. And I’ll tell you what, it’s a beautiful thing. Because I’m a schedule guy, too, I have to have it on my calendar, so that way I know when do I do certain things. But within that schedule, I like to have it as well just so I know how much off-schedule something might happen. Because then, it’s like, “Whoa, I did not see this one coming.”
Charan: And it’s great. Like even yesterday, I had a string of events happen that I could not have planned. And it’s some of the most amazing conversations with some amazing people.
Yasmine: I love that.
Charan: What in the world, and I told my last buddy I was talking to. I said, “Dude, if I didn’t do this particular thing, which led to this thing, which led to this thing, we would not be here having this conversation.”
Charan: So, the fact that all these things suddenly happened, and it was just a thought in my head, like, “Oh, I should do this. Oh, yeah, this makes sense. I should do this.” I think if we listened to more of those instincts and do those type of things, just the miracles that can happen will be unbelievable, so.
Yasmine Al-Bustami’s Advice to Her Younger Self
Yasmine: And I wonder, I wonder, too, with those instincts that you’re talking about, I don’t think mine are completely honed. However, I’d like to think that I have some good instincts, and I have some good gut feelings that tell me I can do this thing or I can’t do this thing. Because sometimes some things maybe you shouldn’t do.
Yasmine: But I wonder if that’s just something that you hone as you grow and get older and have experiences. And I feel like if you just keep saying no to things because of whatever other reasons that you have, you’ll never be able to hone those experiences, you just won’t be able to hone that. And I feel like it’s important to fall on your face sometimes.
Yasmine: It’s going to happen. You can’t protect yourself all the time. So, let yourself make mistakes. Let yourself fall flat on your face. Let yourself feel hurt. Oh, that sucks, but you got to. And I feel like that not only gives you life experiences, but then also helps you develop those instincts to hone in on better later on what directions you do want to take.
Charan: That is so profound. And I feel like that just answered the last question I was going to ask, too. But-
Yasmine: What was that?
Charan: It was just going to be what would you tell your younger self?
Yasmine: Oh, man. Yes, that would be my, yup. Yup.
Charan: Honestly, because the truth is, what you just said about trusting those instincts, I really do believe it is a muscle. And the more that you practice, and the more you listen, and the more you take time to hear, hey, what is my soul really needing right now? And just going for it, even if you fall on your face, especially as you fall on your face?
Yasmine: Yes. Yes.
Charan: Then you can see like, “Oh, my gosh, this is why it’s such a miracle, because so many things have happened.” The things that I feel I’ve planned for didn’t happen, so many things did not happen. But then, things I didn’t expect to happen at all happened, and they were so much better than I could have ever planned for. You know what I mean?
Yasmine: Yeah. I mean, we’re sitting here, I was not planning whenever I was 10 or, given that, 21 or 22. I was not planning to be doing this right now. I was planning to be on Wall Street, that was my goal with probably children and living in a nice colonial-style home with a lemon tree in front. Yeah, no, this was not part of the plan, which is fun for me. I like that. I love that.
Charan: It’s so amazing. And it’s a miracle. And that’s what’s so great about it. And so, right now, I’ve never been more uncertain of where my path is going to go-
Yasmine: I want that, too.
Charan: … but I’ve never been more stoked about it.
Yasmine: Yes. That’s exciting. See, I know, I get excited about that. That’s really exciting to me.
Charan: Yeah. Because now, it’s a Christmas present that we get to unwrap and figure out how the world is going to be.
Yasmine: I wonder if you and your friends are like this, but me and my friends like to give each other, we’ll give each other gifts, here and there. But overall, we love giving each other experiences. So, for our birthdays or any special event or whatever, it’s usually not anything tangible. It is an experience, so skydiving for a trip.
Charan: I love it. In fact, speaking of experiences, I have a group of friends and every so often, we’d take little trips together. And so, next week is our trip, so we’re all stoked about it.
Yasmine: Where are you all going?
Charan: We’re just going to go, in southern Utah, there’s a place called St. George. And tons of red rocks, but we’re going to go hiking in slot canyons, maybe four-wheeling, all that type of stuff.
Yasmine: Oh, that’s so fun.
Charan: I’m telling you, it’s creating those memories, man, creating those experiences with people and being like, “Hey, this is how to feel loved, man, and how to share goodness with other people.”
Yasmine: Well, I also am very interested in hearing real quick, too. What would you tell your younger self?
Charan: It’s a good question.
Yasmine: Well, it’s your question?
Charan: Yeah. It’s a good question, well. But when you said it, it’s a bit better, because now I’m like, “Oh, no, what did I do?” I would actually say, going back to being alive. Because I don’t think I let my younger self come alive enough. There were too many things that happened in my younger self that made me feel like I had to be too serious. And I didn’t-
Yasmine: Oh, yeah, I was trying to grow up too fast.
Charan: Yeah. And I know I did. I know I did. And I didn’t play enough. I know that sounds weird, when I was a kid, I didn’t feel like I did. And I would tell my younger self a truth that I’ve learned right now, which is, the greatest service you can do for humanity is to come alive yourself. Now you give permission for other people to become alive.
Charan: And so, I really think that’s a great gift for humanity and a great gift for yourself, so.
Yasmine: I agree. It’s been a great gift for me since I met you. Yeah, I love it.
Charan: No, likewise, likewise. Yasmine, this has been so amazing. Thank you so much for-
Yasmine: What a fun time, I really enjoyed that.
Charan: I appreciate that. Thank you so much. For the podcast, any last words or anything like that?
Yasmine: What last words? Hold on. I feel like I want to incorporate lemonade. Yes. Even lemonade, even lemonade can come in different forms. You can make it diet. You can make it sugar-free. You can put a whole bunch of sugar. You can make it, it’s your personal lemonade. So, even that does not come in one standard lemonade style.
Yasmine: That’s me.
Charan: Make your own lemonade, man, in whatever way you want it to be.
Yasmine: Make your own kind of lemonade. Yes.
Charan: I love it. Well, thank you so much. You’re awesome. I really appreciate it.
Yasmine: Yeah, no, you’re amazing too.
Yasmine: Thank you.
Charan: Thanks again.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand podcast. And we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback in the reviews. And if you are someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.