Russian Beauty: With Brains To Boot
The statuesque and cerebral young actress sat down with us in Los Angeles recently to keep us up-to-date on her burgeoning career.
Splash Magazine: You are originally from Russia. What was it like growing up in the city of Yaroslavl?
Veronika Kurshinskaya: It could be tough for anyone who has big dreams to grow up in a small city, whether it is in Russia or in America. From an early age, I knew I wanted to be an actress. I grew up writing and performing my own original mini-shows, singing and dancing for street crowds and was well-known for being different. After school, when my classmates went to play, I went home and watched films. Next day, I pretended to be a main character and walked around my neighborhood freaking people out. No one really believed I would ever leave Yaroslavl and move to Hollywood. It sounded absurd! However, I did. I was very fortunate to have loving family who have been very supportive of my big dream through all these years.
SM: After moving to Los Angeles in 2008, you studied with Margie Haber and then completed the Theatre Program at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, before graduating from the Master's Acting Program at the New York Film Academy. How important has technical training been to you?
VK: I think that the key to being a working actor is a combination of training, hard work, discipline and natural talent. Technical training helps you free your imagination, opens you up to bigger choices and deeper emotions, assists in getting rid of bad habits, teaches you to stay present and use your energy efficiently. And, it makes you much more confident! I remember, at the beginning of my career, the most difficult thing for me was dealing with rejection. But I learned that it’s almost never personal. You are either right for the part, or you're not. And the best part is that if you come prepared well for your audition and make clear choices, even if they are wrong, you will be remembered. And, most likely asked back for a role you are right for. In my opinion, the learning process never ends. I still take on-going acting classes because I believe that constant professional training is the only way to build a long-term successful career.
SM: You were voted "Miss Photogenic" at this year's Miss California United States, where you represented the city of Los Angeles. Do you have any other modeling goals in the future, or are you more focused on acting at this point in your career?
VK: It was a big surprise and incredible honor to be selected as Miss Los Angeles in Miss California United States 2012. The Pageant itself was very challenging and took a lot of preparation, but it was also very rewarding. I made a few professional connections and definitely improved my pubic speaking skills. However, at this moment, I want to focus on acting only. That’s the reason I came to the United States to begin with!
SM: Your comedic portrayal of Mrs. Rosdale in the SPQR Stage Company production of Bill Sterrit's "Modern Drama" got some great reviews this summer. Do you ever pay attention to what the critics say?
VK: I consider reviews to be the greatest learning tool and regularly monitor them in order to learn about my strengths and weaknesses as an actress. Any constructive criticism points out what areas need more work. And, every positive review makes me feel good and forces to work even harder.
SM: What projects are you currently involved in? Where can we see you?
VK: I just booked a principal voice-over role in a new animated series called “Lunatics.” I am playing a lunar farmer, Anya Titova, one of the founders of the first colony on the moon. The creators did an amazing job with the graphic design and the writing is incredibly witty. The pilot is coming out in October 2012, and I honestly can’t wait. In addition to that, I have two feature films in development. The first one, “Once Upon A Time In The East: A Fistful of Bullets” is scheduled to start shooting at the end of this year. I have the lead role of a Russian sniper, Gavrila. The second film is tentatively scheduled to begin shooting in summer 2013, and is called "Grace Under Fire." It is about the untold American heroes during the Cold War in Europe. I was cast in the lead role of Nadya - she works for US Intelligence in Ukraine.
SM: Thank you, Veronika - "Break A Leg" out there!
Top photo: © Sara Corwin. Middle photo: © Anacapa. Bottom photo: © Maxximages.