Today we’d like to introduce you to Veronika Dash.
Veronika, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I knew I had a love for performing from an early age. Growing up in New York I started participating in storytelling contests in school, and after winning a few awards, I realized I had a passion for it that expanded beyond the classroom.
I began studying performing arts in middle school working on material from Broadway shows and performing in a choir all over the city. In my first lead role, I played Anna in the “King and I” and remember tears of joy streaming down my face when I saw my name at the top of the Cast List; it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before and what I can look back at now as the moment I fell in love with acting.
From here, I decided to apply to college to study theatre and pursue my creative ambitions rather than follow a more “traditional” career path. Getting accepted to the School of Dramatic Arts at the University of Southern California felt like a huge stepping-stone.
The audition process was rigorous but just a glimpse of what was to come having a career in entertainment.I had never been away from home, let alone all the way across the country, and walking onto that massive campus during orientation I was overwhelmed with the realization that I didn’t know a single soul. I was navigating through a completely unmapped journey filled with vigor, eagerness, and excitement.
College was a time of growth, learning, and self-exploration but I also felt like I created a family of intelligent, passionate and like-minded artists who would go on to shape the future of the film and theatre industry; telling important stories, giving voices to the voiceless and using their platforms to show the best of humanity.
That is, after all, what an artist seeks. There isn’t a single, linear path one follows upon graduating with a degree in drama. Finding representation takes time – getting together a reel, nailing those auditions, being memorable on set and staying in touch with the people you work with are all helpful keys to begin a career, but there is no guarantee you will get there based on talent alone.
In my case, I was lucky enough to work on some great projects and build a network that trusted my skill and hard work. My first big screen appearance was with Mos Def in a period piece called, “Cadillac Records”; I’ve worked on independent projects that went to the Sundance Film Festival like “For a Good Time Call”; and worked alongside Harvey Keitel and Jane Fonda in the film, “Youth” which was directed by Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino, shot in Switzerland and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
I appreciate every experience that’s led me to where I am today, but I know the journey will continue taking me to where I am meant to be. What I’ve learned is to always stay hungry, always be grateful and always strive to be one day closer to your goal than you were yesterday.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I definitely feel like I’ve taken “the road less traveled” and with that notion come some inevitable bumps on the road. When I was starting out I was very young, naïve, and impressionable; I had no family ties in the industry and unfortunately, I trusted people who may not have had my best interests at heart.
An artist chooses this unusual way of life because they have something to say, they want to mirror society and as my favorite acting coach and mentor, Larry Moss, would say “give a gift to the world.”
But there is, of course, a business element to this career path. It wasn’t until I met Larry that I realized the importance of resilience, remembering your own value and getting over the fear of finding your power in the face of all the criticism, rejection and superficiality that comes with working in this industry.
I know I’ve lost parts to nepotism, connections, celebrity, and prejudice based solely on my looks, but at the end of the day I am confident in what I bring to the table, and I encourage people, pursuing any medium, to remember that as well. Struggles make us stronger and turn us into storytellers.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
As an actress, I am always coming up with ways to be creative. That creativity has also seeped into my exploration of the beauty industry – I especially enjoy playing with the idea of transformational images and characters that could be drawn from that. There is such allure in transformation, and I think that’s one of the things that originally drew me to this profession.
Last summer, I worked on a brand new three-character play in New York called “Child Death Song.” I remember meeting another actress in an elevator of an acting workshop, who commented on how much she loved the performers in that play.
When I told her I was in it, she looked at me in bewilderment and said, “I didn’t even recognize you! You were fantastic!” I think that is the highest compliment an actor can receive. I want to continue to work on roles that empower women and give them a voice colored with strength, depth, and dimension.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I think everyone has a moment they can reflect on that feels like it defined their life to some degree. When I was sixteen, my parents enrolled me in a talent workshop with weekly training in various classes: cold reading, commercials, on-camera acting, etc. It was really my first taste of what professional “acting” was aside from doing school plays.
I worked really hard for a year leading up to the workshop’s final event. For a teenager, it was an extremely rigorous schedule, but the excitement of it all would override my exhaustion. Finally, the night of the awards gala approached where the judges would announce top talent from each age group; I knew the tickets were very expensive and I felt bad having my parents come all that way because they would probably barely even see me.
Being as wonderful as my parents are, they came to show support regardless. I remember sitting way in the back of this huge banquet hall in my flowing yellow gown, taking off my uncomfortable strappy heels as I cheered on all the actors going on stage to collect their trophy…I assumed I didn’t have to get up to claim anything so I might as well be comfortable.
When my age group was called, my headshot was projected on a massive screen, and my name was called. My heart stopped. I could not believe I was one of the winners of Junior Actor of The Year! I threw on my shoes trying to tie them as quickly as possible and leapt onto the stage blinded by the lights, and all I could think was, “This is it. This where I am meant to be.”
That night seemed to confirm for me I was on the right path, and I had to keep following the light. I still have that trophy as a reminder that great things don’t happen overnight, and as ambitious as my future is, to appreciate how far I’ve come to be where I am today.
- Website: www.veronikadash.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/veronikadash
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VeronikaDash
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/VeronikaDash
- Other: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2617160/
Orinary, Renny Vasquez, Alton Michael Mills, Emma Dunlavey, Steve Read, Photodama, Jennifer Conejo Zargarian, Marion Curtis