“If you’re the same man in six months, I’d marry you.”
Sam Ghosh ’06 thought it was a bit much for a first date (which only happened because of an accidental right swipe on the dating app Bumble), but he agreed to a second date, at which point he met her “pack” — an infant, four dogs, three foster dogs, two cats and two additional foster cats.
“We quickly had a conversation and I told her ‘You come with a lot,’” he says. “A month later, I knew she was my person and that this was my family.”
She is Emily, and in June 2016, six months after their first date, she and Ghosh married. In keeping with the unorthodox approach to their relationship, they had an intimate ceremony shared with thousands of friends.
“We wanted a little wedding with family and close friends, and we also wanted to try and keep costs down as much as possible. Because we have family all over the world, we livestreamed the wedding. There were about 2,200 views.”
Such is life with Sam Ghosh.
Born in India and raised in Wayne, New Jersey, Ghosh is now based out of Los Angeles where he balances family life, the entertainment industry and Live Love, an animal care and rescue startup. The common thread in all his endeavors is that he wants to do things differently.
“If it’s already figured out and being done well, there’s no point in me being involved,” he says. “I’m always looking for how I can make a change and how I can create something that represents the underrepresented — people or animals — who don’t have a voice.”
Live Love takes much of his time, as he not only restructured the business when he joined this past February, but also because he is on the front lines, walking dogs and hosting adoption events.
“Emily had been rescuing animals for more than a decade, and five years ago she started Live Love, running a for-profit pet care business and a nonprofit rescue separately. As you can imagine, the demand for rescue far outweighs the demand for care, so it was building debt,” Ghosh says. Having worked with other startups, he knew he could help. “I came on as partner and chief creative officer and we started working on rebuilding from the ground up. We rehauled it to make it something that we can scale where we can really have an impact. The revamped model allows our clients to be benefactors so that $5 from every service — every walk, overnight stay, pet-sitting — goes directly to the rescue, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.”
While developing the new structure of Live Love, Ghosh drew directly from his time at Castle Point. “There were some classes that I was really excited about — business planning is one. Creating the plan for Live Love was taken directly from my time at Stevens,” he says. Ghosh, who was an RA, tour guide and VP of Gear and Triangle, maintains that even though academics weren’t always his primary focus, “the professors knew I was involved and that I was going to be OK.”
One such professor is Dr. George Calhoun, whom Ghosh recently saw at an alumni event in Southern California. “We said a quick ‘Hello’ to each other at the beginning of the event, but when Calhoun went to start his PowerPoint presentation, it wasn’t working. I got up and helped him and he said to the crowd ‘That’s my former student.’ He was so sweet about it and remembered my name and I didn’t even do great in his class,” Ghosh recalls. “We had such a great rapport and it was a great feeling to reconnect.”
Ghosh also took other types of classes during his time at Stevens. “The summer between my junior and senior year, I took a six-week acting intensive at the William Esper Studio in NYC and then started going to acting school in my senior year. During Christmas break, I was offered a position at Accenture but turned it down,” he says. Instead, Ghosh attended his second year of acting school and paid the bills by driving a pedicab and working as an interpreter (he speaks Hindi and Bengali) for patients in a maximum security prison psychiatric ward.
He continued pursuing his acting career when he moved to Los Angeles in 2011. And when the opportunities weren’t there, he decided to make his own. “Wayne wasn’t really diverse, and I was always aware of the disparity — socioeconomic disparity, racial disparity — and it made me want to get into entertainment because I didn’t see people like me on TV who weren’t either nerdy or asexual,” he says.
“I auditioned for three years but Hollywood is a homogenous community and I couldn’t let it determine my fate…I couldn’t let them determine my voice. So I started writing my own material and working on my own things.”
One project Ghosh couldn’t pass up and did audition for was “If Gandhi Took a Yoga Class.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBMc9s8oDWE) “I read the script and knew I had to play this part so I dressed like Gandhi for the audition — just walking down Hollywood Boulevard, dressed like Gandhi — because I knew I had to hit it out of the park,” he says. He did, and the CollegeHumor short has accumulated more than 20 million views on Facebook and YouTube to date.
Ghosh is now writing a TV show, which he describes as a “dark comedy, ‘Wonder Years’-y type. It’s a truly American, semi-autobiographical story about a child whose family is running a
Bollywood Blockbuster out of their house.” He also recently launched (w)idiot, which he describes as a “creative studio that pushes boundaries…and buttons,” and, of course, there’s Live Love and his life with Emily, their daughter Auranya and their pack of five dogs, two cats, two foster dogs and two foster cats.
“I’m so thankful for everything that’s happened so far and while none of it came easy — and it still isn’t — I’m grateful to tell my story, especially if it can help an abandoned animal or prevent a kid from being made fun of in school,” he says. “I’ve always taken the odd way, the path less traveled, and I hope that can inspire others.”