"I'm a woman that loves this planet deeply, feels deeply, and tells stories for a living. I grew up in a little village 4 hours north of Moscow Russia. My family and I lived off the land, off the grid, most of my formative years. This kind of childhood allowed for me to fall in love with nature and build a connection to the rhythm of life you find when in balance with the seasons. Once Communism collapsed my family immigrated to America in 1992 at the end of the Cold War. My parents are taxidermist by trade (stuffing animals for museums and private collections) and they started their business in the state of Utah. I started acting at the age of 12 and have continued to do it to this day. I currently live in LA and help my mother run a small 140 acre nature preserve in Russia located in the village where I grew up. My life is anything but conventional… I try not to think about the how’s and what's of it all too much... even I can't seem to find the answers... but I love every experience and every moment so far."
Can you describe yourself in 3 words?
Loving. Hard working. Optimistic.
Where do you call home?
La La Land aka LA is where I live. Paris is where my soul lives. My heart lives in Russia. Home is wherever as long as I'm with my family.
What do you enjoy most about living there?
In LA anything is possible. It may sound cliche but it's a city of dreamers and dreams. I truly believe you can and will make it here if you work hard enough. Paris and I fell madly in love with each other when I lived there for a study abroad program. I was 20 years old and she was the city that opened my eyes to love, lust, erotica, and the art of living. She taught me to be a woman and enjoy every drop of feminine in my bottle. She's sexy and wildly romantic. Russia is raw... honest... shockingly so. She doesn't apologize for her temperament or harsh seasons but laughs and can drink you under the table. She's unforgettable and a force. Once she's in your blood you can't help but crave to go back... go back home.
What motivates you?
It used to be survival. I operated from a place of fight or flight for a solid 25 years or so. That kind of mentality gets things done but it's also very limiting and you find yourself numb. The last five years I've done significant work on myself and know what motivates me... I would have to say it's having the opportunity to tell stories. I take pride in being an actress. It has weight and responsibility to it. Being a small part of an art project that transports the audience to a different time, space, thought process. When I can help others disappear from their normal lives and take them someplace else...even if that's just a stress free hour and a half... that motivates me. I think that's a gift.
What does your typical day consist of?
I start my day with waking up to my man’s alarm. He meditates in the morning and I roll out of bed and make coffee for us. I do my usual pre makeup routine of cleaning my skin and start mentally getting the days check list going. On most week days I have auditions either for on camera work or voiceovers. I prep my lines and make sure I have enough time to commute to my meetings in LA traffic. Super fun. I like to squeeze in a meditation session of Kundalini yoga every day. It helps me stay on the right vibration ... a higher vibration... and keeps my mind set on the real priorities in my life. I stream it online at Ra Ma Yoga Institute. Guru Jaget is the funniest most down to earth real Guru around. She not only makes me laugh but has enlightened me for years. It's a strange breathing yoga... and yes we chants and wear turbans but no one takes themselves too seriously. Then I'm off to the races. I end my day with a work out. Platefit is my current obsession or a yoga class... either at home or in a studio close by. The best part of LA is that there is a healthy work out class every 2 blocks. It makes staying fit incredibly easy. I don't currently have a t.v. in my home and haven't in close to 6 years so my partner and I spend an hour or so catching up at the end of the day over tea. We go over our goals and talk about any interesting section from books we are currently reading. It's like a little 2 person book club. Then I crash. I sleep like no ones business... probably because my adrenal glands are shot from all the coffee ha ha ha.
How do you spend your days off?
I love the beach. I lived in Venice Beach for a couple of years and I find myself going to Abbot Kinney for coffee and some alone time on my days off. It's changed so much since I've lived there but it's nice to see all the posh little stores and vegan restaurants. I love Lilly Ashwell on Rose and Lincoln. They have the best gifts. Rose Cafe at any time of day. There is always Love Space yoga for your stretches and Juice Served Here to get your greens on. I wonder around a bit. I like to stay out of the sun but once in awhile I'll beach bum it up and just fall asleep on the sand. This summer I've been lucky enough to go to the Soho House in Malibu often (thank you wonderful friends who are members and always put me on the list) where I will literally take up residence in one of the chairs and write for hours. It's heaven and I should just bite the bullet and become a member.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
I think I'm constantly evolving so my "greatest" accomplishment ... is evolving as well. I'm humbled with the quality of people in my life... my chosen family and my team of managers and agents. It's an incredible feeling to take a step back and really see the people that support and inspire you daily. I'm very lucky.
Where do you source inspiration?
Love. Nature. and Instagram :) We live in a such a beautiful time when technology although filled with plenty of downfalls has also given us an endless opportunities to learn. Free access to education as long as we can google something and take the time to read or watch a video. So although I'm kidding with the Instagram comment I'm also not ... because the people and companies I follow inspire me to try harder... work more consciously... and make positive change.
What made you decide to pursue a career in acting?
I started acting at the age of 12 after winning a Model Search American contest. At first I hated the thought of having people look at me and judge me "performing" but my mother was determined to have me "get out of my room" and "make friends". I was a very introverted child and didn't adapt to the American culture as quickly as society wanted me to. That all changed after I booked my very first audition which was a commercial for the Disney Channel. I played a camp leader and spent the day making art and listening to directors yell "Action". I was hooked. I met kids from all different walks of life... all working together... having fun. I realized that those were my people. That being different was not only allowed but encouraged. Plus they paid me... to be me... it's the best job ever.
What are your beauty secrets?
Always Always Always wash your makeup off at the end of the night. I love African Botanicals line and use the oil and cleanser daily. Biologique Recherche for the p50 solution which is a miracle worker. It resets your skin and balances out any pigmentation you may have. It's a must even if it does smell like acid. Sleep on a silk pillow... not only is it decadent but then your fancy lotions and potions don't absorb into a normal cotton version and you don't get wrinkles while you sleep. Silk is the best... but you guys obviously know that. I live a very healthy lifestyle and as simple as it sounds it makes the world of difference if you are conscious of what you put inside yourself then the outside will reflect that. That includes food but also thoughts and energy. Most of all enjoy your life... then the radiance will shine through.
Le Labo... Santal... My home always has Palo Santo Wood burning and candles from Maison Louis Marie.
How would you describe your personal style?
What is it you love about Silk Laundry?
You're investing in something that has been made with the goal of making you feel beautiful, comfortable, and it will stand the hands of time. The cuts are classic, the quality is amazing, and you can't not feel luxurious when you wear silk. It's simple elegance. The silks also travel very easily allowing you to be pulled together even when you're going from place to place. Having one of the silks on hand and knowing that I can look cocktail ready with one piece on gives me a sense of power... it takes the stress of "getting" ready away from my day.
What is your favourite Silk Laundry piece?
My Tie Shoulder Silk Slip Dress. It's what I wore on my first date with my man and it sealed the deal... and I caught him. Ha ha ha. It's also incredibly flattering and feminine. I can wear it day or night and feel like myself which is the goal.
What are some challenges with balancing two worlds such as Russian life vs LA actress life? How do those differences live together cohesively?
I love this question because it is rarely asked in interviews and yet I ask myself this almost every day. How do I even begin to understand the two completely different spectrums in which I live. It's laughable really. On any given day I will have a red carpet event where I am to present myself as someone "very" important and will take pictures for Getty and Wire Image. On that same day I will be facetiming my mother who's halfway around the world about what we should do with the number of chickens we currently have and discussing how many bees have died off and whether or not we need to plant alfalfa this year. For years I've tried to bridge the insanity of it all... how can I be this "movie star" when the other half of me is living in a 12 house village with no indoor plumbing. I've concluded that the two worlds don't live on the same planet. Yes I can howl at wolves and I know which mushrooms to pick and which berries are poisonous. I love the smell of dew and firewood and no, I don't miss running water when I'm home in the village. There is a beauty to the dirt you find under your fingernails after plowing the field for potatoes. It's clean because it's real. Honest. Somehow you feel more connected ... more aligned ... because you're literally one with nature there. Washing it off at the end of the day with well water or just jumping in the stream naked; it's a whole body soul baptism of sorts. My laughs are louder there... less apologetic... I drink my mother’s home made wine in the afternoon and sometimes in the morning... because it doesn't matter. You have a shot of blackberry wine and a cup of coffee and tend to the bees. It's raw there... real. Nature doesn't lie and within hours of arriving I am put in my place. The trees remind me of how young I am... how foolish... the hedgehogs scoff at my arrival... reminding me that the dirt path belongs to all of us... and when the thunderstorms roll in and the fog engulfs the fields I realize how much this planet blankets us with love.
The other world is made of dreams. Of art. It's usually inspired by beauty, by emotions, by feelings. I make believe for a living... but it's more than that. I'm an actress not because I have chosen to be one ... it is what I am. I can't help it. There is nothing that brings me more personal joy than being a small part of a grand art project such as a movie or tv show. It's similar to painting. You have a brand new canvas and a selection of colors and brushes. The director is the painter. The writers are the inspiration. The actors are the paint. The brushes are your crew. We all serve a purpose. There is magic in it. For months 200 people or so work tougher in unison regardless of background, experiences, personal beliefs, exhaustion, etc... for one common goal. To finish an art project. When I'm on set it reminds me that if we can get along and do this then humanity can and will save itself. It's inspiring and humbling to see everyone come together. Once the film/tv show is complete and we get to show the world what was created it brings even more people together. Transports thousands and thousands of minds ... takes them away or brings them closer... sparks the imagination... or opens them up. How amazing is that? When people say they don't believe in magic I laugh... because I'm covered in fairy dust, and makeup and hair, and wardrobe, and sets... hopefully if I'm lucky the artist will choose my color time and time again till my paint runs out.
What is your favourite memory in nature?
I was maybe 17 years old and spending two weeks in Russia. I woke up in the guest house on my mother's property and proceeded to walk down the little dirt path to her house to get some coffee. I'm a lover of coffee and without it not only am I not awake but can hardly speak or function. When I opened the heavy wooden door to my mothers cabin my father greeted me "Good Morning". I responded with a "Hey" and shuffled my feet towards the instant coffee waiting for me on the window sill. My father stopped me and said "Honey, do me a favor. Go outside and walk barefoot on the dew. Feel the earth and reconnect yourself." I looked at him like any teen looks at their father when being told to "reconnect" but knew that I was too tired to fight this man and his hippie theories at the moment and so I walked out barefoot. It was early maybe 8am and the earth was wet and still yawning. As I took my first step off the porch and my soles touched the softness of mud a chill went up my spine. As if nature had planed a wet kiss on my feet. With every step I felt more and more naked… more myself... the way you do in front of your mother or grandmother... here I was. I stood in a little meadow behind my parents house for 10 minutes or so completely overwhelmed by the love nature had for me. That she was here... always... all I had to do was choose to connect to her... choose to take my barriers off... and she would gladly remind me of who I was. I started crying... those gentle tears... the kind where your face doesn't move but the streams flow down your cheeks. A beam of sunshine broke through the canopy of trees above me and hit my face. I was wet from tears and dew and warm from love and beams of sunshine. Humbled and put in my place by the power and sheer grace of mother nature. I walked slowly home and when I opened the door my father was at the kitchen table smiling at me. The cat that ate the canary.