Sonia Manzano, Emilio Delgado, Nitya Vidyasagar

Sonia Manzano, Emilio Delgado, and Nitya Vidyasagar on the Sesame Street set.

Nitya Vidyasagar plays Leela, a young Indian-American woman who runs the local laundromat on Sesame Street. She made her debut on the show in Season 39 and left the series after Season 45.

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."[1]

In April 2012, she appeared with other members of the human cast of Sesame Street at Jim Henson's Musical World at Carnegie Hall.


  1. "Meet Leela, Sesame Street’s Newest Cast Member". India West, Lisa Tsering. March 21, 2008.

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