Once Upon a Time Wiki
Once Upon a Time Wiki
Karen David
Karen David by Gage Skidmore.jpg
General Information
Gender: Female
Nicknames: KD
Birthday: April 15th
Birthplace: Shillong, Meghalaya, India
Social Networks: Twitter
Other Information
Height: 5'3"
Occupation(s): Actress
Education: Guildford School of Acting
Talents: Acting
Family & Friends
Family: Tracy (sister)
Relationships: Carl Ryden (husband)
Series Information
Character: Princess Jasmine / Shirin
First appearance: Strange Case
Last appearance: The Final Battle: Part 2

Karen Shenaz David is a British-Canadian actress, singer and songwriter, who is best known for portraying Princess Isabella Maria Lucia Elizabetta of Valencia in ABC's fairytale-themed musical-comedy television series, Galavant, as well as Francesca "Cesca" Montoya in the BBC television series Waterloo Road, and Layla in the American action film The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior. She starred as Angela in the ITV television series Cold Feet and plays Princess Jasmine (from Aladdin) in the American television series Once Upon a Time.

David also starred in Pixelface, a CBBC children's television series, where she plays Alexia, the glamorous legend hunter.

View the Karen David Gallery.

Early life

David was born in Shillong, Meghalaya, India, of what she calls "Khasi and a sliver of Jewish heritage". Her father is Indian Jewish and her mother is Khasi. She was raised in Canada and then at age 17, David moved to London to study at the Guildford School of Acting.



Upon finishing drama school, David joined the original cast of the West End musical Mamma Mia!. She made her professional acting debut as part of the ensemble and as understudy of Ali and Lisa. A. R. Rahman, who had been invited to see the show by the director Shekhar Kapur, asked David to assist him and Don Black in the development of the material for the Bollywood-themed musical Bombay Dreams. She performed songs on the show's US and Canada tour, and continued collaborating with Rahman at his Panchathan Record Inn and AM Studios in Chennai, India.

She appeared in two short television videos, Dancers: The Trailer (2002), playing the role of Jenny, and The Paper Round (2002), playing the role of a policewoman. She then landed a role in the musical Bollywood Queen (2003), as a member of the R&B band at the story's center. Through 2004 and 2005, she played Scarlet in MTV's Top Buzzer.

David played Lyla, a main character in the London-based film Take 3 Girls (2006). Other work during this time includes Steven Seagal's Flight of Fury (2007) as Barnes' Operational Soldier Flanders, The Colour of Magic (2008) as Liessa, the Dragonlady, and The Legend of Dick and Dom (2009) as Fairy Frampton. David appeared as the female lead, Layla, in The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior (2008), filmed in Cape Town, South Africa.

In September 2010, David played the Spanish teacher, Francesca "Cesca" Montoya, in series six of BBC One's drama, Waterloo Road. While Waterloo Road was still airing, David landed the role of legend hunter Alexia Alderton in Pixelface, a CBBC children's comedy series about six video game characters and what they do when they are not inside their games. The second series aired on 3 January 2012.

David appeared on American television with a guest role on the Fox series Touch in 2012, playing Kayla Graham. On the episode she performed the song "Three Little Birds", which was then released as a soundtrack single with Wendy & Lisa by 20th Century Fox TV Records on 28 February 2012.

In February 2013, David appeared in the two-part episode "Target" of the ABC TV series Castle, in the USA. David played Sara El-Masri, daughter of Egyptian tycoon, Anwar El-Masri. Whilst filming these episodes, David and a stuntman were injured when the door to the moving van they were in failed to close properly. David was placed in a neck brace, while the stuntman sustained serious head injuries.

David has reappeared on US televisions, as "Princess Isabella Maria Lucia Elizabetta of Valencia", in the ABC television series Galavant, which premiered on 4 January 2015, for a four-week extravaganza.


Karen David
Karen David with black hair and head on the table.jpg

Birth name

Karen Shenaz David


April 15, 1979 (age 40) or April 15, 1980 (age 39)
Shillong, Meghalaya, India







Years active




David released her first single, "It's Me (You're Talking To)", in 2003, when she was signed to BMG Music. This single was a top 10 airplay hit in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

She collaborated with A. R. Rahman on the main theme song for the film Provoked in 2006. After working alongside Rahman to produce the soundtrack for this movie, she found herself back with him in his Chennai studio, in 2007, to write and record the song, "Alive". The following year she released her first EP, The Live Sessions EP. In 2009 she released her next EP, Magic Carpet Ride.

In May 2010, David released the single "Hypnotize", along with three mixes and a Hypnotize Desi Mix EP. The following year she released the album The Girl in the Pink Glasses. 20th Century Fox TV Records released "Three Little Birds", as sung by Kayla Graham (David), on Touch, on 28 February 2012.

In 2013 David released the EP Dust to Stars, on which she collaborated with songwriter-producers, Stefan Skarbek, Carl Ryden, Boots Ottestad, Adam Argyle and Martin Brammer.

Charity work

David is active in Designers Against Aids, the SOS Children's Villages Foundation, and Breast cancer awareness, for which she did a fundraiser fashion show for London Fashion Week at The Dorchester Hotel.

She produced a T-shirt to raise money for ActionAid's PoverTee Day, which was auctioned off on 18 June 2010. In December 2010, David released a charity Christmas EP, My Christmas List, to raise money for the housing and homelessness charity Shelter.

Along with others, David painted a self-portrait to help raise funds for Face Britain, a project of The Prince's Trust Foundation.

Personal life

In mid-2013, she married Swedish songwriter and music producer Carl Ryden,[31] at La Venta Inn in Palos Verdes, California.


Year Title Type Role
2002 The Paper Round TV Short Police Woman (as Karen Shenaz David)
2002 Dancers: The Trailer Video short Jenny (as Karen Shenaz David)
2002 Bollywood Queen Neeta (as Karen Shenaz David)
2003 Holby City TV Series Eve Hotton
2004 Top Buzzer TV Series Scarlet
2005 Batman Begins Courthouse Reporter #1
2006 Provoked: A True Story Asha
20036 Take 3 Girls Lyla (as Karen Shenaz David)
2007 Flight of Fury Video Barnes's Operational Soldier Flanders
2008 The Color of Magic TV Mini-Series Liessa
2008 The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior Video Layla
2009 The Legend of Dick and Dom TV Series Fairy Frampton
2009 Couples Retreat Spa Attendant
2010 - 2011 Waterloo Road TV Series Francesca Montoya
2010 - 2011 Strike Back TV Series Barmaid
2011 - 2012 Pixelface TV Series Alexia
2012 Red Lights Female Reporter #2
2012 Touch TV Series Kayla Graham
2013 Castle TV Series Sara El-Masri
2014 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit FBI Lead Agent
2015 Amar Akbar & Tony Meera
2015 - 2016 Galavant TV Series Princess Isabella
2016 The Tiger Hunter Ruby Iqbal
2016 Mirror's Edge: Catalyst Video Game Isabel Kruger / Caitlyn Connors (voice)
2016 Cold Feet TV Series Angela Zubayr
2016 Dead Rising 4 Video Game Vick (voice)
2016 - 2017 Once Upon a Time TV Series Jasmine
2017 - 2019 Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television TV Series Priya
2018 Timeless TV Series Dhriti Sirivastava / Young Denise Christopher
2018 Barry TV Series Sharon Lucado
2018 Criminal Minds TV Series Mary Meadows
2018 - 2020 Legacies TV Series Emma Tig
2019 Fear the Walking Dead TV Series Grace
2019 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Video Game Additional Voice (voice)
2019 The Rookie TV Series Detective Emma Calderon
2020 Mira, Royal Detective (filming) TV Series Shilpa / Ashima / Rubi
Sand & Snow (post-production) Captain Amal
In Hollywoodland (post-production) Short Queenie


  • Was born near the foothills of the Himalayas in a place called Shillong, Meghalaya. The Khasi tribe is one of the few matriarchal societies remaining in the world.
  • Has sung a song titled "Shilong Shilong" which is the name of the place she was born.