Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge caught up with actress and model Anastasia Tsikhanava to talk about her incredible American success story.
Q: You play the daughter of Larry Miller’s character in ‘The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then Bigfoot’. How was your experience being on set with Larry and the rest of the team?
A: The movie was very a special experience for me.
I remember clearly the day I got the call from the film’s casting director offering me the part. I was very happy not just to have the job, but that I had another chance to be on set, to work as an actor, and to grow.
The very first scene that I was in – set in a movie theatre – was where I met Larry Miller and Sam Elliott. They gave me a warm welcome to the project. They are such amazing people and I could immediately communicate with them as we’d known each other for years. Starting from day one, they made me feel completely comfortable on set.
There was one scene in a cemetery where, to be honest, I didn’t even need to act. My character is trying not to cry in the scene. The director called ‘action’ and I just had to listen to Larry speak. I looked at him and tried very hard to hold in my tears. He’s such a wonderful and talented person – inside and out.
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Q: Where does your interest in acting come from?
A: I was born into an artistic family; my dad was a great singer and my mom worked in the theatre. Because of this, access to the arts has always been easy for me.
I went to school for ballet, acting and music. I was busy 24/7 and had no time to play outside with other kids. But I really loved everything I was doing, and my parents were extremely supportive and loving.
Q: What has been your favourite acting role in your career so far?
A: That’s a hard one to answer. I don’t think I can pick just one favourite role. Every role is one of my babies, I love them all and it doesn’t matter if I’m playing a bad or good person.
Every single moment on a theatre stage or a movie set is magical. Every role is an amazing gift. You have a chance to play and to experience the lives of different characters.
Q: Modelling is another of your passions. What do you enjoy about modelling compared to acting?
A: Modelling has been my full-time job for last 20 years. I’ve been fortunate to work all over the Europe and the United States with incredibly talented and amazing people. I’m absolutely in love with modelling. Every single day I feel very lucky that I have this gift to love what I do.
Q: I imagine it takes a lot of confidence to be in front of a camera as much as you are. Do you ever suffer with insecurity or doubt?
A: I don’t think I was ever shy or insecure in front of the camera. However, after many years acting and modelling, you realise that every day you have been learning and growing. With that experience, you feel more confident and professional in front of the camera.
Q: You recently posted your 10 year challenge on Instagram. Can you tell us about your journey over the last decade and how you have grown as a person?
A: I think I could write a book about my journey over the last 10 years! It’s an interesting story and that story continues to grow as I grow.
A little over 10 years ago, I started my life in the United States from scratch. I came from a pretty small country [Belarus, Minsk]. I arrived without being able to speak English and without any idea of why was I was here or how I was going to survive.
I had a great modelling career in Europe and now I was starting all over. I’ll be honest, it was very hard to start again over here. There was lots of crying and feeling lonely being so far away from my parents.
But I’m grateful for every single day of that experience. I can say that I am proud of myself because I grew, I learned, I worked very hard and I became stronger. I made a new me, a better me. And I have learned along the way to love, to be kind, to work hard and to do something good every day.
The most wonderful gift I received in this journey is that I became the mother of a wonderful son. I’m so proud to be the mother of a smart and kind young man.
Q: What are your passions and interests when you don’t have a camera pointed at you?
A: It’s not often I have free time, but if I do… I always love spending time with my family travelling, rollerblading, swimming, or paddle boarding.
Life is so short and I’m trying to enjoy every second.
Q: What are your ambitions for the future?
A: Hmm… at this moment, I’d have to say that I really love what I’m doing and that I just want to stay healthy. I understand I won’t be modeling forever and that as an actor, I will always be learning. It’s never enough to stay the same. I know that I can always grow and improve. So, my motivation is to get better and better at what I do and to add to my skill set.
I have an interest in learning more about styling. And I think this will be my next step in learning something new. I love fashion. I want help all women – of any age and shape – to dress beautifully, to bring out the beauty and confidence that every woman posses.
Title photo by Anna Tabakova