Arts & Culture

‘Countdown to Christmas’: UK Opera alum stars in Hallmark holiday movie

Preview Hallmark's "Jolly Good Christmas" with UK Opera alumna Reshma Shetty above. Video by Hallmark Channel.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 11, 2022)  While many of us are still finalizing our Halloween costumes and drinking our pumpkin spice lattes, another large group is preparing for an early start to the Yuletide season where they will cozy up by a fire watching a Hallmark holiday movie with a hot chocolate. And this year, the University of Kentucky family is being gifted with a Hallmark Channel movie featuring one of its own — UK Opera Theatre alumna Reshma Shetty.

Shetty will star opposite Hallmark leading man Will Kemp in “Jolly Good Christmas” premiering 8 p.m. Oct. 29 as part of the channel’s Countdown to Christmas campaign. The TV movie follows a “by-the-book” architect, David, who hires a free-spirited personal shopper, Anji, played by Shetty. The two embark on a “wild ride across London in search of the perfect Christmas gift,” but in the spirit of the Hallmark movies, they find something more.

Shetty holds a bachelor's degree from James Madison University, a master's degree in music from UK and an artist diploma from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

Upon graduation from the conservatory, Shetty nabbed the lead role of Priya in A.R. Rahman and Andrew Lloyd Webber's first national tour of "Bombay Dreams," and was asked to appear as Ayah in Broadway's World AIDS day benefit "The Secret Garden." Additional theatre credits for Shetty includes roles and readings with the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, the New Dramatists and the Lark Theatre Company.

TV viewers may remember Shetty as Divya Katdare on USA’s “Royal Pains” and Talaikha Channaraypatra on CBS’ “Pure Genius.” She voiced Queen Angella on the Netflix animated series "She-Ra: Princess of Power" and appeared on "30 Rock," “Blindspot” and "CSI: Miami."

In 2008, Shetty made her big screen debut opposite Ally Sheedy and Ruby Dee in "Steam." Additionally, the New York City-based actress was featured in "Characters Unite," USA's award-winning public service campaign created to address social injustices and cultural divides in America.


photo still of Reshma Shetty and Will Kemp with London background from "Jolly Good Christmas"
Hallmark's "Jolly Good Christmas" finds Reshma Shetty and Will Kemp's characters holiday shopping in London. Photo by Hallmark Channel.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.