Anita Devi "Annet" Mahendru is an Afghan-born Russian–Indian actress, best known for her role as Nina Sergeevna on the FX series The Americans. Mahendru was born in Kabul, the daughter of Olga and Ghanshan "Ken" Mahendru. Her mother is a Russian businesswoman and artist, and her father is a Hindu Indian professor and journalist. She had what she calls a "gypsy" childhood, regularly travelling between St. Petersburg and Frankfurt before moving with her father to East Meadow, New York at the age of 13 after her parents separated.
Mahendru attended East Meadow High School, where she was active in competitive cheerleading and kick line teams, and graduated in 2004. She went on to earn an English degree from St. John's University. Mahendru is fluent in German, Russian and English, and also speaks French, Persian and Hindi and initially wanted to use her "ethnic ambiguity" to work for the United Nations. She was enrolled at New York University for a Master's degree in international relations, but dropped out to pursue acting. She then moved to Los Angeles and studied improv at The Groundlings.
Mahendru began her acting career in 2006, appearing in an episode of the sitcom Love Monkey, an episode of the drama Conviction, a Law & Order spinoff, and the short film The Art of Love. The following year, she appeared in an episode of the HBO comedy-dramaEntourage. Her next significant roles came in 2011, in episodes of the sitcoms Big Time Rush and 2 Broke Girls. In 2012, she starred in an episode of the sitcom Mike & Molly. In 2013, she began playing the recurring character Nina Sergeevna on the FX drama The Americans, appeared in an episode of the crime series White Collar, played Agent Rosen in two episodes of the crime drama The Blacklist and starred in her first film, the fantasy horror Escape from Tomorrow, which drew attention because most of it was filmed on location at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland without permission from The Walt Disney Company, owner and operator of both parks. In 2014, Mahendru was promoted to a series regular for the second season of The Americans. She also starred in the comedy-drama film Bridge and Tunnel and had a voice role in the 2014 animated film Penguins of Madagascar. Mahendru stars in the title role of the independent feature film Sally Pacholok (2015) which premiered at and won Best Feature at the Washington DC Independent Film Festival.