Anastasia was born and raised in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She graduated from Mikkeli UAS (Finland) with a Business Administration Degree in 2015. After that, she made a choice to become a professional actor and moved to Los Angeles in 2016. Here, she finished the 3 year conservatory training at the LACC Theater Academy. Some of her instructors are acknowledged theater professors, such as Leslie Ferreira, Tina Kronis, Jennifer Rountree, Tony Maggio and Louie Piday.
While studying Theater Arts and performing variety of plays on stage, Anastasia also kept expanding her on-camera experience, doing films with the directors of various backgrounds and nationalities. Last year she was starring as a lead in the ambitious fantasy drama film about ancient Egypt, Inside the Notebook. This collaboration included a Chinese-Panamanian director and writer Alejandra Hou, Puerto Rican producer and writer Angelica Reyes, as well as multinational cast and crew. Preparation for this film included 3 months long sword and stunt training, but the outcome was a blessing.
Currently, Anastasia is starring in an upcoming independent feature film The Transenders, directed by a Native American writer and actor Montana Cypress. Apart from acting, Anastasia sometimes performs duties of the 2nd AC, script supervisor or PA on set. She is also starting to write and direct gradually.
Her goal was always to unite talent from all over the world for the purposes of great storytelling, both in theater and film.
Filmography. Recently worked on: Inside The Notebook (2019), The Dark Web (2019), 10 Years Down The Road (2019), Mami (2019), The Kidnapping (2019), See You in Heaven (2018), Narrow Aisles (2018).
– “10 years down the road” is an incredibly engaging film, based on a fascinating and also metaphorical idea: a sentimental relationship that develops on a road, like a journey that could inevitably have an end. Of this film you are the leading actress and also the screenwriter. Do you think your writing process was influenced by the fact that you were also the protagonist?
I should probably mention that the process of writing a screenplay for 10 Years Down The Road was long and evolving, and that started way before we began the pre-production for the film.
The original play was written for stage by Ryan Connolly and Emma Klages several years ago. My acting partner Justice Quinn and I were acting in this play as a part of the Autoplay project directed by Leslie Ferreira. The Autoplay was a series of multiple plays that were happening in a very unique conditions – outside on the street and in the cars. It was a live audience experience, with viewers sitting in those cars together with the actors, and the actors were performing a play right in front of the spectators as if they were not there (or were a silent part of it). Basically, it was a theater in the cars. The whole action was happening simultaneously in all 15-20 cars, with a rotation of the audience. The plays were written with the emphasis on the car environment, so the car was a pretty important part of the story in each play, sort of like a character as well. The director of the motion picture, Elena Klepatskaya, made sure to incorporate this aspect. During all three parts of the film, there are shots from the point of view of the car, as if it is watching it’s owners life.
Justice and I were very much taken away by this delicate story of the couple, whose relationship goes through a long development process, with twists and turns on the way. The original play was much longer than the short film, but we did have to concise the action for various technical and psychological reasons. Elena saw the concept of the play and then reached out to us with a proposal to direct a movie. We immediately said “Yes”. After several long and informative discussions we came to the conclusions that we will write a new screenplay, giving full justice to the original ideas and characters, as well as keeping some of the major events. Elena and us saw a different side of the coin with this beautiful script and we just made it more not theater but “film-like”, of course by obtaining all the necessary permissions.
So by the time of brainstorming and writing a new script, Justice and I already new a lot about our characters. We did rediscover and alter little things here and there with Elena. She was very inspired to breath a new life into Trish and Steven and we loved her suggestions. Something to mention, we are two actors who were never scared to experiment with our characters as much as we could. Besides, when we had private discussions with Elena, I looked at the completely different angle of Trish. Elena and I “opened” her heart and looked deep into all the changes, good and bad things that were happening with her. That is why by the end of the film we see her reborn. She became a completely new persona and the heartbreak made her rise like Phoenix from the ashes. When writing new lines for her I incorporated theatrical Trish and a new-to-be-born cinema Trish and it was fascinating to see those two merging.
So, answering your question, absolutely the writing was influenced by me being a protagonist. But it was also just a huge mutual brainstorm between Elena, Justice and myself. We wanted to reach a harmony between all the events and make a car being an equal character as well. That is why you can see that there are stickers and a key chain, as well as other props (little bit of trash and some old DVD’s in a first part) inside the car, changing with each phase. It was also very important to keep this original gentle bond and connection between Steven and Trish, make them sound very genuine and simple but also deep and meaningful. That was a hard balance to find when writing but we did it after months of work.
– The short is divided into three crucial moments that show us the relationship between the two lovers in three different phases. For creative needs and also for brevity, since this is a short film, in a short time it seems to see six different people. This is certainly thanks to you and your co-star. I guess the work behind this psychological development has been very complex and inevitably built together with Justice Quinn. How do you get such an amazing result? And how is the real human relationship built between two actors who must necessarily dig so deeply into each other?
Justice and I were lucky to find each other as acting partners. We have a very kind and optimistic vision of life both of us, we are fair and honest with people, and we usually fight our little demons quietly by ourselves without bothering somebody else. So, yeah….We share a lot of similarities. Of course, this genuine warm connection we shared as people helped us tremendously when creating Steven and Trish. We might have been a tiny intimidated to share too much in the very beginning, but inevitably it was important for this story and we did it. The amount of conversations we had was pretty big, and we spoke about various aspects of our lives to be able to really connect on a mental level as acting partners. We also do love being silly sometimes, I think that helps a bunch. Justice would never judge my stupid jokes or comments, he would always share a laugh with me which was a significant puzzle in the whole picture of Trust and Playing a Couple. Basically, we were not afraid to be ourselves in front of each other. And my oh my….this is so important in acting. You have to not be afraid of who you are and trust your acting partners fully to be able to reach great results.
There were a lot of technicalities in the preparation for the theater version of 10 Years Down The Road. We were doing a lot of character and environment analysis, thinking about the time frames, our backstories, digging into the psychology of young people and more mature adults. We were sharing our knowledge on various complex relationship we know as examples. We spoke about our parents and relatives, their marriages, how things were working out or not, and how people’s lives were evolving after the significant family changes.
We did a lot of voice and physical exercises that actors do to prepare for the role. We spoke through our dialogue in a different manner, making the words becoming our own thoughts. We skipped and ran around in the dark, rolled on the floor, threw a Kali stick to make ourselves feel the physicality of the characters. There is a whole different process of the deep voice work that goes into a scene that we were doing for several days.
Then, a significant amount of rehearsals in the car followed. We were getting used to our new character, making it our car, creating a history for it and in it as well. All the gestures and moves had to be accommodated with the contracted space. We also had to remember that the audience would be sitting right behind us and how significant the intimacy of the space is. During the official run of the Autoplay, we performed a play totally about a hundred times. I guess that might answer some of the questions regarding how is our performance so solid. We basically lived through the story during the run of the plays, and then re-lived everything while preparing for the motion picture.
– What advice would you give to a young actress who wants to start working seriously in the world of cinema?
I am going to be honest here. It is really tough to survive as an actor in the beginning of your career. You have to come up with the ideas of other sources of income meanwhile, do something else you are good in, whether it is sales or teaching. Because now I experience myself how tough this profession is in terms of earning income. On the bright side, every day you are auditioning or acting is like a celebration and the best day of your life.
I strongly recommend to go through the professional training if you are considering being a professional actor (I mean, really make it your full time job). No matter how much talent one has, in order to shape a real professional artist in yourself you NEED to train, practice, learn. I went through the conservatory training at the LACC Theater Academy. It gave me an unforgettable experience. Some of the things that our professors taught us during those hours cannot even be explained. You would have to live through that. Everything I thought I knew about acting…Well, I did not know anything, it turned out. And I rediscovered myself as an artist and a person in this place.
If you know for certain that you want to be an actress or an actor – never fear rejection or failures. There is going to be plenty of those. Sometime it might feel like nothing will work out, but it will. Your job is to be perfecting your craft, read, listen, socialize with other professionals in the industry. Eventually, if you are pursuing something for many years, things will work out – there is no other way. But you need a huge amount of patience.
And, please, take care of your health. Once you are sick for a long time or your body is weak and not exercised, you won’t have strengths and energy to create art. Trust me with that, I am going through it right now. Do whatever you need to take care of yourself
– In recent times, cinema has undergone great revolutions, both technological and social, and women, fortunately, have played an important role in affirming their legitimate position. What does being an actress mean to you today? Is it something about being a woman?
I feel eternally grateful to all the people who fought for women’s rights and equality. Thanks to all their effort and struggle, we can be working actresses these days, and now measures are taken to ensure even safer environment. But we also do have to remember that nobody can forbid anyone to be an actor in the very first place, because the true artists is born within us and there is no power exists that can destroy that.
Being an actress to me means not only be a solid hardworking performer but much more. I feel human pain and happiness everywhere I go. Every room I enter – I sense the energy within it. Being an artist makes you an inevitable part of the whole world’s life because these are all the people that you will be writing about, portraying, directing about and so on and so far. But that goes from deep inside, of course not every actor is the same. And absolutely, being a woman plays a tremendous role in my being an actress. I feel myself growing and becoming spiritually rich more and more as a woman when I am acting. I feel like a blooming flower when I am on stage. Sharing all my love or frustration with the audience makes me more confident. Walking on stage or on camera makes me feel like a woman and proud of it. I sense my being with every cell in my body when I am acting. And then it feels like the best moments of my life.