Oviya (born Helen Nelson; 29 April 1991) is an Indian model and film actress who has worked predominantly in the Tamil and Malayalam film industry. She made her breakthrough as an actress in Sarkunam's rural romantic comedy Kalavani (2010), before appearing in other critically acclaimed films including Pandiraj's Marina (2012), Moodar Koodam (2013) and Madha Yaanai Koottam (2013). Oviya has also enjoyed box office success through her roles in Sundar C's Kalakalappu (2012) and the horror comedy Yaamirukka Bayamey (2014), in both of which she portrayed glamorous roles. Her appearance on the reality show, Bigg Boss, during 2017 garnered her significant media attention and a cult-like following amongst audiences. The Chennai Times has ranked her among the most desirable women of the year for 2017.
Oviya began her career as an actress by portraying supporting roles in Malayalam films, notably working in Kangaroo (2007) and Puthiya Mukham (2009) starring Prithviraj and as one of the lead characters in the college drama Apoorva (2008).Oviya then worked towards completing a BA in Functional English at Vimala College in Thrissur, before director Sargunam approached her for Kalavani (2010). Sarkunam cast her in the leading female role after seeing a picture of her online and was convinced that he had found the correct actress to portray the role despite reservations from the producer. She was featured opposite Vimal, and the film subsequently gained positive reviews and became a sleeper hit at the box office.Critics praised Oviya's performance of a village-based schoolgirl, with a critic from the Hindustan Times stating "Oviya’s marvellous expressions convey her gratitude, and she uses her eyes to say it all". Similarly, a reviewer from The Hindu stated "Oviya looks cute and emotes well, which is a rarity these days".
Following the success of Kalavani, Oviya signed several small-budget films including Jeevan's Amara, Vengai, Mugam Nee Agam Naan, Sevanu and Rasu Madhuravan's Muthukku Muthaaga (2011), but only the latter had a theatrical release.While several films were stopped due to financial reasons, Oviya had to opt out of a few films after inadvertently muddling her dates. Portraying the role of a college basketballer in Muthukku Muthaaga, Oviya worked through the pain barrier for the film after fainting on the sets following an illness. The film, however, opened to negative reviews with a critic from Behindwoods.com stating Oviya's character was "annoying". During the period, she was also seen in two further Malayalam films Puthumukhangal (2010) and Manushyamrugam (2011), despite making claims that Malayalam films were "uninteresting and boring". The Kannada remake of Kalavani titled Kirataka (2011) won Oviya more critical acclaim, with a reviewer from Rediff.com stating she "charms her way through the film", though a proposed Telugu remake later fell through. Oviya was also seen in a guest appearance in K. S. Ravikumar's romantic comedy, Manmadhan Ambu (2010), where she featured alongside Kamal Haasan and Madhavan. Post-release, the actress revealed that she appreciated the opportunity to work alongside big actors but was disappointed that several of her scenes were edited out of the film.
Over the following three years, Oviya prioritised her work in Tamil films appearing in several small and mid-budget projects and alternated between performance-based and glamorous roles. In Pandiraj's critically acclaimed drama film Marina (2012), Oviya and her co-star debutant Sivakarthikeyan portrayed a couple who frequent Marina Beach, with a critic describing their performance as "absolutely enjoyable and hilarious". Likewise, the black comedy Moodar Koodam (2014) and the thriller Madha Yaanai Koottam (2014) also featured Oviya in performance-based roles and both won critical acclaim. She portrayed a glamorous role for the first time in Sundar C's comedy Kalakalappu (2012), where she worked alongside a star cast of Shiva, Vimal and Anjali. The film opened to positive reviews and performed well at the box office, becoming her most profitable film to date. Following further glamorous roles in unsuccessful films such as Sillunu Oru Sandhippu (2013) and Pulivaal (2014), Oviya scored another success with her role as a dainty, hot girl in Deekay's horror comedy Yaamirukka Bayamey (2014). Critics also praised her performance, with a reviewer from the Deccan Chronicle stating "as the girl-next-door-unafraid-of-her-sexuality, Oviya is perfect".
Oviya's acting career began to decline after 2014 and she was primarily offered glamorous roles in low-profile films. She was cast opposite veteran actor Sarathkumar in the unsuccessful Sandamarutham (2015) which garnered negative reviews, while her subsequent Tamil films, C. V. Kumar's heist comedy 144 (2015) and Sundar C's horror comedy Hello Naan Pei Pesuren (2016) did not perform as well as anticipated at the box office. Another project, the female-centric Bhogi co-starring Trisha and Poonam Bajwa, was also stalled despite the shoot progressing. She subsequently moved on to portray a role in the low-budget Hindi film Yeh Ishq Sarfira (2015) and then the leading role of a city girl in the Kannada film, Mr. Mommaga (2016).