Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, Shani Salyers Stiles became interested in acting as a pre-teen, when she was cast in her first feature film starring Indiana native and veteran actor Claude Akins (aka Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo in "BJ and the Bear") in 1988. Supported by her then single-parent mother, who worked hard to make ends meet and encourage her daughter's interest, and younger sister (who worked hard at just being the little sister), she continued participating in workshops and school productions.
Shani later attended Indiana University for her secondary education, where she studied acting and theater in the Department of Theatre and Drama. Later married, she become the grateful mom of two amazing sons and has spent the last several years in pursuit of boyhood adventures and building solid foundations.
More recently, Shani is busy acting in multiple film and commercial productions. Most notably, is her role as Ivory Joy Boem, a lost and desperate rural housewife and mother who defies the authorities to protect herself and her family when her husband flees a local catastrophe, becoming a fugitive and primary suspect, in the Indie film "The Things We've Seen".
Shani also plays a supporting role as the character Vanessa in the upcoming film "Columbus", slotted for its world premiere during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. This feature film, by director and screenwriter Kogonada, stars John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson, Parker Posey, Michelle Forbes, and Rory Culkin. The story tells of Casey (Richardson), a young woman living with her mother in a little-known Midwestern town haunted by the promise of modernism, and Jin (Cho), a visitor from the other side of the world, who arrives to attend to his dying father. Burdened by both their futures, Jin and Casey find respite in one another and the architecture that surrounds them.
Additionally, Shani plays the character Mary, a defending and considerate activity director, in this year's short film "Sarge", a passion project of Writer/Director Benjamin Dewhurst. An endearing and medically-relevant story, Sarge centers on an elderly WWII Army veteran who is confined in a nursing home and plagued daily by haunting dementia and an incessant desire to escape the home and be with his family. The film, already an official selection in multiple film festivals nationwide, is winning numerous awards and acknowledgements for its compassionate and thoughtful handling of the subject of dementia and patient care.