Happy to have you here, Veronika. Tell us your story, how you got started acting and where is your home at the moment?
I innately loved performing so I started acting and modeling at a young age in New York. The rush of adrenaline being backstage before the curtain opens is a feeling that has remained with me to this day. I grew up doing a lot of theatre and worked on classical plays as well as Shakespeare; it was challenging but invigorating all at once. After deciding to pursue it professionally, I moved to Los Angeles, where I currently reside, and took the traditional approach by studying at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. I knew a life in the arts was my calling, so after graduating I got representation and started building my resume doing short films, music videos, commercials and then booked my first feature film, “Cadillac Records” where I played opposite Mos Def.
Tell us more about yourself. What else do you do next to acting and modeling?
I’m a very adventurous and spontaneous person. I love traveling, meeting new people, learning new languages, and trying new things. Every year I try to conquer at least one fear – I’ve gone skydiving over the Pacific, hiking in the Strelapass in Switzerland, conquered Mt. Bakur in Bali, ziplined through the Costa Rican jungle and floated in the Dead Sea. I love entertaining, hosting and cooking. Since Covid I started creating my own healthy plant-based recipes (which I may share on my tiktok @veronikadashofficial soon) and am known for making a fabulous charcuterie board.
I also spend a lot of time writing; in a way it’s a form of therapy for me and another creative avenue to express my feelings. That’s how my affinity for poetry developed. Last year I competed in my very first spoken word poetry contest and made it to the top 2!
What do you love most about being an actor? And, what do you least enjoy?
I think what drew me to acting was being able to transform into characters from other time periods and different places of origin. I was always fascinated with human behavior and loved observing expression and body language. I’m drawn to the freedom of creativity and the ability to act on impulse, while also have the skillset to technically analyze a script and do extensive research to make sure your choices are aligned historically. It is a beautiful craft and I feel very fortunate to be able to connect with people through storytelling.
I think the least enjoyable part is probably wrapping a project you love and knowing it’s the last day on that set, or that stage, with those specific people. You can create an incredibly meaningful bond working on a project with the cast and crew, in some instances they become like family, and you share a bond forever, but you know, inevitably, when the famous words are uttered “that’s a wrap!” things will never quite be the same. It’s yet another reminder to cherish each day and each experience as it happens.
What is the most challenging being an actor?
Being placed in a box solely based on looks; I think that is a harmful stereotype which robs the artist of the opportunity to showcase their talent in the myriad of ways they have the capability and training for. I often get sent roles just based off my blonde hair, which leaves no room for depth or excavation. The roles I enjoy are three-dimensional, complex, compelling, and sometimes dangerous and it shouldn’t matter what hair color or skin color you have when you’re being considered for those parts. I think the industry is slowly shifting away from only perceiving women as ‘the girlfriend’ or ‘trophy wife’ to the male protagonist, but it is equally important they continue to honor actors for their craft, not just their appearance.
If you could change something in the acting world, what would it be?
I think we are witnessing the shift in the industry as we speak, but I think giving women more space to tell their stories and play characters that aren’t just “overtly sexualized” for the male gaze. Prior to “Wonder Woman” by Patty Jenkins there was a notion that female heroes would not do as well as their male counterparts…the film has now grossed 822.8 million dollars which proves women can be heroes, women can be directors and writers and have significant roles behind, and in front of, the camera. Since the “me too” movement I think we’ve seen a positive shift in the male / female power dynamics on sets and making sure everyone feels safe and heard in their work environment.
What fuels your imagination and provides you with inspiration?
I’ve always had a bit of a wild imagination; I think as adults we tend to lose that spark of play that is so inherent within us as children, and I think having a career in the arts helps you keep that flame alive. Inspiration comes from everywhere, sometimes it’s just a quiet evening with a beautiful sunset fading into the horizon that will inspire a poem, sometimes it’s a story I hear from a friend, and I think we need to make that into a film. Sometimes it’s a book or play I read. Being open to your environment, there will always be an influx of ideas and stories at your fingertips.
What keeps you excited about life in general?
The idea that anything is possible gets me excited daily. There is no limit to what we can do except the limit we place on ourselves. I have an extensive bucket list of things I want to accomplish, people I want to help, places I want to experience. Life is truly so precious, and my parents have instilled a mantra in me to be present and grateful for each moment because the next one is not guaranteed. That idea always pushes me to live life to its fullest potential.
Looking back how has acting experience changed your personal/professional life? Have you grown more comfortable with yourself since you started?
I cannot put into words the growth I have experienced, the challenges I have overcome and the countless rejection I’ve faced choosing this career path. That would be a whole separate interview haha. But, what I have learned is being comfortable and at peace within yourself, as my coach the great Larry Moss says, “your value is intrinsic,” if you can remember that, you can get through anything. I think I’m at a point now where I am the most comfortable and confident I’ve ever been, but that didn’t happen overnight. It’s a daily reminder to have patience, to have gratitude and to have grace with yourself and anything that comes your way.
What kind of life would you like to have?
My goal in life has always been to stay authentic, to stay aligned and to be fearless. I want a life with no limits and complete freedom. I want to star in films, write a poetry book, become a showrunner, produce a play, win an Oscar, win an Emmy, win a Tony and the list goes on. I want playwrights and screenwriters to stay alive through my interpretation of their work. I want to spread love, light and kindness. I dream of traveling the world and setting up charities to help people. I want to be a role model that proves that hard work, and I mean real hard work and persistence, will inevitably get you to your goals. Keep going.
What are the achievements you are proud of most today?
There were a lot of pinch me moments in my career thus far getting to meet and work with some of my idols. I think working with Jane Fonda and Harvey Keitel on “Youth” in Switzerland with the Oscar nominated director Paolo Sorrentino was unforgettable. Even last year working on the Paramount lot on the “iCarly reboot” with Miranda Cosgrove was really cool because I grew up watching that show; I kept thinking, if only as a little girl I could see myself now…those moments of reflection always feel special.
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?
I’m pretty active on my social media so they can follow me on Instagram, twitter and facebook at @veronikadash. I also have my website updated pretty frequently at veronikadash.com or my IMDB imdb.com/name/nm2617160
Makeup Artist/Creative Director: Alexis Torres @dagurumakeup
Hair Stylist: Jeanine Fuentes @jeanine
Photographer: Jessica Czarnecki @jessicaczarneckicreative
Model: Veronika Dash @veronikadash