Vidyasagar was born in Oman, moving to India when she was a year old, and to the United States when she was twelve. She speaks Hindi and Telugu as well as English.
The part of Leela wasn't originally written with an Indian-American actress in mind. "It was incidental," Vidyasagar says in an article in India West. "The casting notices said nothing of ethnicity." She became the first major Indian-American character on the American Sesame Street: "This is a big deal for me, and for the Indian-American community... and it shows that India has a growing place in the world profile."