Tell us about the character you play, and how can you relate to him/her. Is there any part of Chess that resonates with you as an actor, or personally?
My character, Svetlana, is the wife of Russian chess champion, Anatoly. Obviously, every actor will have their own take on a character and Svetlana is no exception, especially seeing as there are so many different versions of Chess. I see her as a woman of faith with a fire in her, conflicted by the love she has for her husband & children and the yearning for that traditional family life that she is simply not getting. She has put her dreams and happiness aside for the sake of her family. When we meet her in Act II, I think she has reached her breaking point and sees this time with Anatoly as one last effort and plea for the family she and he had built together; her dream. In all honesty, when I first read the script and had not yet put myself in her shoes all I could think was, “Move on girl! You can do better!” because I too once had the experience of being with a selfish partner and it’s just not worth it.
What challenges, if any, have you faced with playing your character?
With no disrespect to the very talented writers, Svetlana is a rather underwritten character so it was a slight challenge for me to make sure she had an arc and more than just one color in her short amount of time on stage. I’m probably the only person who notices or even cares, but that’s okay. It is important for me to know every beat of the journey I’m on.
What made you want to pursue acting?
I don’t know in all honesty, I have terrible stage fright. Before just about every performance I think, “Why do you insist on putting yourself through this on a daily basis?!” But once the house lights go down and I get lost in the world we are creating on stage, everything just suddenly feels right. To actually answer your question though, watching Judy Garland, Julie Andrews, West Side Story, Carousel, and Ann-Margaret in Bye Bye Birdie are what made me want to pursue acting and musical theatre specifically. I LOVE the Golden Age of Broadway!
Have you ever faced adversity in your career, and if so, how?
Absolutely, but the truth is every single actor has at some point. You’re too tall, too short, too blonde, too ethnic, not ethnic enough, too fat, and the list goes on. This is a tough and, frankly, discriminating business so I try not let any of that get to me. Just as I do in my daily life, I try to look adversity in the face, brush off the ignorance, and just keep on going the best way I know how.
Any advice you’d give to actors just starting out?
There is so much advice I would like to give and so little time! Be supportive of your peers and learn from them. There is always going to be someone out there better than you are, so don’t be catty by focusing on the weaknesses of others just to make yourself feel better (something I see too many young people do). Focus on improving yourself and always remain open to learning new things. Also, DO NOT EVER let anyone discourage you from following your dreams and passions!