First came Kevin Federline. Now, Sanjaya Malakar will star in a campaign for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
The former American Idol contestant will appear in the company’s Life Comes at You Fast campaign — and he’s already filmed a spot in Pune, India.
“It turned out really funny,” Malakar tells PEOPLE about the ad. “I haven’t yet seen the finished product, but as it was going on, it turned out really well. It was a lot of fun to film.”
In the commercial, Malakar visits a monastery in India to seek advice from a guru who tells the teenager he needs to consider a retirement plan — and work on his hair. (Idol fans will remember that Malakar’s wild and wacky hairstyles were his calling card on season six of the reality competition.)
“I got to experiment with my hair again,” he says about the shoot. “It was the first time I was able to kind of experiment with my hair since Idol so that was fun to get back into that.”
As Nationwide’s newest spokesperson, Malakar says he takes the company’s slogan … – “life comes at you fast” — to heart. Just being on American Idol has helped.
“My life has changed drastically,” he says about his post-Idol fame. “I’m able to pursue my dream and sing for a living which is great.”
To that end, the singer says he’s been writing songs with producers in New York and Seattle, even traveling to Japan, an experience he credits with “broadening my musical vocabulary and getting a different perspective of music.” Says Malakar: “I have a general concept of the album … but now I’m actually able to execute it and watch it being executed and that’s a really exciting place to be.” —Brian Orloff, with reporting by Alondra Hernandez
Photo Special: A Look Back at Sanjaya’s Hair