Annelyse grew up in Skokie, IL as the eldest of four Ahmad progeny. She attended The Best High School in the World (a.k.a. Loyola Academy – “GO RAMBLERS!”) and discovered during a workshop with Molly Brennan (500 Clown) that acting unlocked the secrets of the universe. Her loving – but horrified – parents convinced her to follow more rational pursuits during her college career, and she earned a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University in Psychology (pre-med) and Global Health.
After graduation, Annelyse was awarded a Clinton Fellowship with the America India Foundation and spent a year in India studying domestic violence in the slum communities of Chennai. One of her close friends, a producer at Chennai’s only all-English station NDTV-HINDU, called one sunny March afternoon and asked if she would be available to help with a travel show the next day, Discover Tamil Nadu. The episode went so well that Annelyse was invited to co-host two more shows, Mouse Potato and Shift Focus. Three months of hosting, writing, and producing these TV shows in India impressed upon Annelyse the transformative power of story, and she returned to the U.S. to ready to tell stories – whatever that meant.
Back in Chicago, Annelyse tried a brief stint in journalism before hitchhiking to a film audition and being cast as a lead. She quickly rediscovered her first love and began intensive acting training. She became heavily involved in Chicago’s improv and independent film communities and more recently the city’s legendary theater community.
When she is not on stage, Annelyse is probably dancing – and forcing you to dance with her! She LOVES science jokes, TED Talks, and DA BULLS.