Shannon Esra is a South African actress best known for her role as lawyer Sandra Stein in the Mzansi Magic soapie The Queen.
She was cast in her first professional acting role at 16 when she played Siri in the feature film I Dreamed of Africa, with Kim Basinger. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dramatic Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand at the end of 2003.
Shannon’s TV credits include the lead role of Caz O’Donough in M-Net’s drama series Snitch and the misguided, cult-following, self-mutilating girlfriend of Kyle, Yvette Meyer in Isidingo.
She was also a main credited cast member in the second and third seasons of the SABC3 drama series Hard Copy, playing hard-edged journalist Kim Smollen.
Shannon starred alongside Eric Stoltz, playing his estranged and embittered ex-wife, in the International sci-fi miniseriesThe Triangle.
She also played the romantic lead Katie in Darryl James Roodt’s rugby feature film Number Ten.
In 2007 Esra had a starring role as one of the six heroines in the Bollywood film Salam-E-Ishq, in which she made Bollywood history by being the first caucasian female in a leading role.
Shannon’s portrayal of Neets in Dorothy Ann Gould’s theatre production Japes awarded Shannon a Fleur du Cup nomination as well as The Naledi for Best Performance by a Newcomer/Breakthrough (Female).
After spending five-and-a-half years in the United States (between 2009 and 2015), she returned to South Africa. She also returned to Isidingo where she plays Angelique, a different character to her former one. She made her debut in early 2015.
In 2017 she debuted on The Queen as Sandra Stein and went on to crossover the character in several other Mzansi Magic soapies including The River, The Throne and Gomora.
In 2021 she played the leading role of Samantha in the M-Net drama series Lioness.
In the same year she once again played Sandra Stein, this time on the M-Net telenovela Legacy.