Interview: Actress Rita Volk

You don’t have to know where Tashkent, Uzbekistan is. Don’t even pretend. What you should know is that Tashkent is the birthplace of actress Rita Volk. Chances are you’ve seen Rita on the popular MTV show Faking It. Currently, she’s starring in the indie gem Almost Friends. I had a chance to speak to Rita about her role in the film, her birthplace, Uzbekistan, and much more. You can check out the interview below for the excerpts and audio.

What attracted you to this role:

RV: It was just another script sent to me, another audition. I went in on it cause I liked it. I just thought it was written very real, It seemed very real. That’s always a good thing, like a tried and true method of expressing goes on. It just having something written in a way we can all relate to, which I thought this film did a really great job doing.

Was being and filming in Alabama help you and the cast come together:

RV: Absolutely, anytime you’re in a new place together you’re experiencing things together, you’re seeing it through different eyes together. At one point during the week we took a day trip to New Orleans. That was so much fun. New Orleans was such a cool place, even Mobile (Alabama). We live in a bubble here in LA. We all live in big cities, so to see something smaller where it felt really different and unique in it’s own way and you’re doing it together.

REAL TALK: 

I could really relate to Rita. I’m sure many of you can also. Being in that place where you’re afraid of life’s unknown. That lethargy and paralysis that she speaks of, I know I’ve felt it. The mental wall block, that self-doubt, shit, I still feel it often. When she talked about the breaking point and her rock-bottom of feeling like a zombie with all that weight on her shoulders. I know exactly what she meant. Wanting to pursue something you’re passionate about and determined to do while everyone else doubts you. It spoke to me. Wanting to pursue acting and working in the entertainment industry. Trying to break out as a critic and or actor. I’m sure all of you reading this can think of your own version of this struggle. 

When Rita spoke of having immigrant parents who didn’t understand the pursuit of wanting to be in entertainment, but her parents wanting her to have a real “profession”. As someone who is first generation American with a Polish born mother, I get it. Many of us come from various backgrounds and if your parents weren’t born here, I’m sure they have similar ideals and visions for their kids future. 

This is one of these conversations I’ll definitely remember for a long time. Felt as if I knew Rita for years. That commonality is hard to come by, unless you share some unique similarities. Hopefully you got something out of this interview and were inspired as I was from what Rita said. Her message was simple—go for it.

Interview: Actress Stephanie Beatriz

The Light of the Moon is one of the more important movies you’ll see this year. It details a woman’s struggle to maintain normalcy in her life after a sexual assault. I had the chance to speak to the lead actress of the film, Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), about the film. Stephanie goes in depth on her role, the impact the film had on her and the realities of sexual assaults. You can find the excerpts of the interview below along with the audio.

What attracted you to the role: 

SB: When I booked Brooklyn Nine-Nine, right before that I was doing a lot of regional theater and most of the stuff I was doing would be considered dramatic in the dramatic category. I was doing a lot of Shakespeare and American classics like Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. For me that was a place I loved living in as an actor. Really big drama. Then I booked Brooklyn Nine-Nine and the focus shifted to something else, which is common, fun, lighthearted, timing based. After a couple seasons of doing that I started feeling like, oh wait can I still act in this other way (dramatic)? I was itching to do something filled with challenges. I was already really wanting to stretch and grow.

How do you put yourself in to character to do a role like Bonnie and how do you approach it:

SB: I think if we’ve learned anything from the last couple months is that sexual assault is happening all around us to people we know. The popularity and tsunami wave of the #MeToo and how many people we all know that have been verbally assaulted on the street or physically assaulted in their lives, raped. There is so many men and women that this has happened to. I think it was just putting myself into Bonnie’s life.

MY TAKE: 

I was very interested speaking to Stephanie after seeing the film. She was so open and thoughtful. I appreciated how she answered each question I asked, but added so much more to it. There is no denying that she really understood the importance of her role and the film and how it can impact so many people.

It’s great to talk to someone like her that’s engaging in the conversation and truly wants to talk to you (talk to me in this case). The points she stated speak for themselves. She really does a fantastic job in the film. It was so poignant of her to mentioned how she wanted to show this movie to every teenager. I couldn’t agree more with that and getting them to be aware of these issues can be very beneficial to their safety and prevention of these incidents.

I urge people, men and women, teens and adults to go and see this film. Sexual violence is very real and this movie delves into the unseen truth of it.

The Light of the Moon is out now in select theaters