Today we’d like to introduce you to Krista Hovsepian.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Krista. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I came into the world knowing exactly what my path would be, which is apparently pretty rare. I’ve always had this intense need to express myself creatively, and even as a toddler growing up in Canada, I told my parents that I was going to be an actress and that my heart was in LA.
I’d spend hours arranging my stuffed animals on the couch and then making photographs or short films of them with my collection of little cameras. I’d write poems and scripts on the back of napkins, invite friends over to paint or choreograph dances together, and perform skit after skit after skit. I was really fortunate to be able to start working and training with theatre pros at the age of seven, and I just kept following that little hum in my heart, knowing that LA was on the horizon – even if I didn’t quite know when or how.
I think at the core of that drive is this near-obsession with witnessing, exploring, and representing as many different facets of the human experience as possible – what it really means to be a human being in this world. I love diving into the mess of it all, the so-called “imperfections.” I’ve always been an empath to the extreme, and have always felt very deeply and freely so expressing myself as an actress through material that I’ve written is really the ultimate experience for me.
To put my own feelings to paper, to deepen my understanding of them via other characters’ perspectives, and then to allow them to fully flow through me, again and again, months or years later during the performance phase of production is such an enriching process to get to go through. From what I’ve learned so far, having the courage to feel our feelings – and to be vulnerable enough to share them with others – fosters more meaningful, authentic connections and can be incredibly healing.
To me, artists and healers are really one and the same, and I think that circles right back to our ability to tap into deep compassion and empathy, sharing experiences that make others feel seen, heard, less alone. The more specific, concrete details of my story are that, while I still love exploring theatre, I started consciously shifting my focus to work in film and television while I was pursuing my BFA in Photography and Film in Toronto. Something about the smallness and specificity of it really captured my heart.
I took a few years off after graduation to work out the details of “operation move to LA,” and then unexpectedly stumbled into grad school… in Berlin of all places. The following three years were personally expansive, intense, and a little insane at times. I’d spend a month or two in Germany working towards my MA in Visual & Media Anthropology.
Then I’d pop back to Toronto for a few weeks to audition, work, study, write… and then it would be on to LA to take meetings, look at apartments, explore different acting studios, etc., I was literally packing up my life and shuffling around every 4 – 8 weeks. Somewhere amidst the chaos came this idea to create a short-form comedy series with some of my closest friends. I had all of this snip-it of dialogue and wacky ideas that were being played out in my mind in the middle of an organic supermarket.
The more I spoke to about it, the more eager people became to get involved. The entire process took three years because I was moving around so much, but I couldn’t be happier with the final product. I realized that my purpose is more holistically rooted in storytelling, and rediscovered my passion for offering up healing by sharing those very human messy and vulnerable moments. I got to wear so many hats on this one show – from actress to showrunner to executive producer… I was crewing, booking locations, feeding people, working through rewrites. You name it. Getting to exercise my creativity and affinity for problem-solving in so many ways was such a nourishing experience.
The series itself follows a neurotic yoga teacher whose life is kind of unravelling by the second, so she starts spending most of her spare time wandering around the health food store. It’s a heightened version of how I often felt during that period of my life… and how so many of us in our late-20s/early-30s often feel. I sometimes think when we’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re exhausted, we’re overextended, we’re not quite sure how to get to where we’d like to be going we find comfort in clean, bright, well-organized spaces that can sell us the illusion of having something under control… be it a specific diet, organic skincare routine, or our regular consumption of kombucha and fermented kale.
This series really captures that with a charmingly offbeat kinda-sorta-maybe love connection thrown in for good measure. I’ve been an active member of Women in Film LA and Toronto for years, as well as a member of the Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee (at the Canadian actor’s union), so bringing to life a female-centric narrative with a predominantly female cast and crew has made this project even more special to me. I’m just itching to dive into my next project, whatever that may be!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Not at all! I think it rarely is. But I think that goes back to our willingness to share our vulnerabilities. When you really take the time to connect with someone, to hold space for them, to share part of your own story with them, you start to realize that every single person has experienced some sort of trauma, hardship, or at least a few bumps in the road. I think there’s honestly a lot less that separates us than most of us are led to believe.
Moving from Canada to the US in and of itself is an enormous task that’s absolutely fraught with setbacks and seemingly endless loops of insanity. It’s stressful, exhausting… you’re looking at uprooting your entire life to move to a new country as an adult. That means integrating into a new community, connecting with new friends. Getting that little piece of paper allowing me to embark on this journey took exactly 24 months.
I was initially told that it would take about two months. So, I packed up my entire apartment and then proceeded to live out of boxes for that two-year period, waking up every single day wondering if I’d finally get my approval notice. Let’s see… what else. I had a manager drop me from his roster… on Christmas Eve… via e-mail. The process of getting representation, auditioning, and booking work is an incredibly bumpy road in general.
I was fired from my one and only retail job because I’d complete all of the tasks that the owner had asked me to do within the first two hours of my shift, and then I’d just stand behind the register waiting for a customer to come in (it was a small independent boutique). She didn’t like the fact that she was “just paying [me] to stand there” all day, even though everything was done and had been done really well.
I’ve been in some major car crashes – hit head-on by a drunk driver, T-boned by a driver who ran a red light. I got caught in a category 5 hurricane while on vacation in Cabo, ended up in a Mexican shelter for a few days, and was ultimately evacuated by Mexican military and any random charter planes that could get to the airport, which had been completely demolished by the storm.
I’ve been through messy break-ups and had those I-can’t-take-anymore breakdown moments more times than I can count. I’ve, as most creatives have, lost out on more gigs than I’ve booked. I had to learn to stop framing not booking as “rejection” a very, very long time ago.
And creating a 14-episode digital series on a shoestring budget with 23 cast members and 11 shoot days… I can’t even begin to recount all of the stories… from losing a DP a week before we went into production, to our sound guy going MIA, to having to re-cast actors who’d suddenly become overbooked, to securing locations (um, hello, we have next-to-no budget and would like to shoot in your supermarket for four or five days…) the challenges and setbacks were endless.
On a more personal note, like so many women – especially in the entertainment industry – I’ve always struggled with body image and loving myself fully at any size. My weight has fluctuated a lot throughout my entire life, and it’s easy to allow the bulk of your self-worth to get wrapped up in that when the message has typically been: thin = worthy. I’m glad that we’re starting to shift that narrative, and I’ve personally done so much deeply healing work to pull myself out of that story that it’s not something I talk about all that often anymore.
As with anything, I have days where I fall back into playing tapes riddled with self-doubt and self-loathing, but I’m getting a lot better at recognizing that that’s not my truth and pulling myself out of the trap. I’m conscious of not wanting to let those past stories continue to have a hold on me, so this is one of those spaces wherein I can hold space for others, I can relate, but I choose not to keep writing it into my present and future narratives.
That being said, the paths to self-love and self-actualization (or seemingly “effortless” success in any arena) are absolutely riddled with ups and downs. There’s no right or wrong way to go about figuring any of it out. It’s a lot of trial and error – and once you think you’ve got it figured out, life has a habit of throwing a curve ball or two your way. It’s silly to go on pretending that anyone’s got it all figured out or is keeping it all together 100% of the time.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
As an actress, I want to create relatable, realistic, multi-faceted female characters. I strive to bring contradictions and multi-dimensionality to the women that I play. Not just so that young girls looking to entertainers as role models absorb broader definitions of what it means to be female or feminine, but so that young boys can broaden their understanding of those things and how it relates to them…
So that grown women can tune into more accurate versions of themselves in media, which will hopefully foster greater self-compassion and self-love… and so that all of the people who love and care for many of those women can stop labeling them as “irrational”, “moody”, “overly sensitive”, “too much”, etc. etc. but rather see that we are all complex creatures, that emotional fluidity is beautiful, and that it can coexist with strength, savvy, intelligence, depth, and on and on and on.
Ultimately, I hope that the work that I do serves to help people peel back the hardened layers of self-protection and self-judgment that they’ve acquired, if only bit by bit so that they can begin to understand that none of us are ever alone in our confusion, our suffering, or our joy.
So that they can find parts of their humanity being reflected back to them, and in that recognition start the love themselves more fully and completely. I recently let my fingers hammer out, “7.6 billion humans on this planet, and you think you’re alone in your feeling & experience?” on an Instagram post, and it still pretty much sums everything up for me.
Being able to use a story as a healing modality is just the best. Being able to make people laugh while gently pointing them in the direction of opening their hearts and healing their wounds is what really gets – and keeps – me going.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I measure my success by my ability to love and trust myself, my path, my purpose… The more I’m able to surrender to the flow of things, the freer and more joyful I feel – two other markers of success for me personally. And surrendering to me doesn’t mean just floating, just waiting for things to happen or click.
It’s about steering the ship, knowing where you’d like it to go based on what you feel in your heart and soul is right for you, but actively choosing to let go of any and all attachment to how you get there, when you get there, or even if it looks exactly like you want it to look.
That’s where the trust comes in: articulating the final goal or destination, then trusting yourself to align with the right opportunities, to take action when necessary, to muster the strength to persevere in the face of adversity… and trusting that if it’s truly meant to be yours, there’s no way it’s going to miss you as long as you keep showing up.
It might come several years later than you’d like, but it will come. On the flip-side of that, it may be even better than you ever could’ve imagined.
- Website: www.kristahovsepian.com
- Instagram: @hovsepian and @wfilyseries
- Other: https://amzn.to/2Npc2Uf
Alkan Emin, David E. Moore, Joanna Degeneres