Category Archives: Actress

Brazilian triple threat Rita Shukla is an indomitable force on stage

Rita Sjukla
Brazilian Performer Rita Shukla

You may have seen performer Rita Shukla on stages across Los Angeles as a lead singer with the classic rock band Lloyd Moss & The Rock Collective, singing jazz-style Brazilian bossa nova with the Electrobossa band, or heavy rock n’ roll with Redemptrix. Her strength and dynamic range as a vocalist coupled with her lively and magnetic stage presence has made her a go-to performer for a number of bands in need of a strong lead singer.

As part of Lloyd Moss & The Rock Collective, Rita is a vocalist alongside Andrey Tsvetkov Nazarbekian, who made it to the semifinals on the incredibly popular TV series “The Voice Russia” season 2, and was also a contestant on the 8-time Primetime Emmy Award winning “American Idol” season 15.

“Working with Rita is a constant exchange. Her vast knowledge in music and her stage experience are the factors that give all of our band members a new perspective on the way things should be done, how harmonies should be written and songs should be sung,” explains Nazarbekian. “What really makes her good at what she does is her natural gift for music supported by the education and training she acquired in Brazil ”

Rita began cultivating her talent as a performer at the age of 4 whilst growing up in Campinas, Brazil where music and performance are a vibrant part of the country’s colorful culture. First immersing herself in music classes, Rita immediately fell in love with the way music made her feel.

It’s just like being in nature for me… I feel joy when I sing. it brings me so much peace and happiness, as if I don’t think of anything else. I’m just there present in the moment,” admits Rita. “For you to be able to sing well, you first need to breathe well… the whole process of singing is just therapeutic and healing.

Knowing the competitive nature of being a lead singer, Rita didn’t rely solely on her natural vocal strengths as a high soprano. Instead she devoted herself to perfecting her skills by training with some of the best in the industry internationally, including vocal coaches such as Molly Rocklind (who’s shared the stage with the likes of Stevie Wonder, popular classic rock band America and Chaka Khan), Dawn Bishop (who’s performed with household names like Brian McKnight and the Black-Eyed Peas,) Brazilian soprano Lucila Tragtenberg and maestro Thiago Gimenes, among others.

It didn’t take long for Rita to be tapped to begin performing on stages across Brazil. By the age of 16 she was playing starring roles in popular theatre productions such as “A Receita” by Jorge Andrade, followed by “Um Cadillac Para as Estrelas” and “Quero a Lua” at the Tao Theatre.

With many of her major theatrical projects back home in Brazil utilizing her talent as an actress and singer, she quickly stood out as a rarely gifted performer capable of flawlessly executing both with equal pizazz. But there’s another area of Rita’s ‘gift’ as a performer that has made her so unique amongst others in the industry– and that is her skill as a dancer.

In the same way that her impressive vocal range and natural rhythm has led her to lead bands with musical styles ranging from jazz and bossa nova to classic and hard rock, her skill as a dancer has given way to a multitude of dance performances ranging from flamenco and belly dancing to jazz and tap for musical theatre.

Beginning flamenco dance training at 11 and belly dance at 13,  Rita explains, “First, I fell in love with flamenco, for its strength, rhythm, passion, and history, but dancing in general makes me feel good as I feel the energy of the music and the beat flowing through my body.”

The way she translates music into her movements as a dancer, embodying the rhythm in human form on stage, has not only been a highlight for the audiences who watch her, but a draw factor for those who cast her in their shows. Whilst in Brazil, she was cast as a lead dancer in numerous shows such as “Noche Caliente,” “Bombardeio de Dança” and “Noite Flamenca” with leading Brazilian flamenco dancer and choreographer Karina Maganha. She also made a name for herself as a lead dancer with the Jimena Lourenço Dance Company, starring in shows like  “A Arte Milenar Da Dança Do Ventre,” “1° Festival de Dança Do Ventre,” “2° Festival de Dança Do Ventre,” “Clip” and many more.

By college Rita had not only perfected her individual skills making herself known among the country’s best young performers in each area, but she had blended all of these talents, making her an undeniable triple threat– an asset that boosted her reputation within the world of musical theatre.

About her beginnings, Rita explains, “Growing up studying and doing theatre [in Brazil], and feeling on my skin the importance of embodying the character as a dance, the music as a text and the acting as music, made me a very open, strong and vulnerable actress and singer.”

After completing her bachelor’s in drama at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, scholarship offers began rolling in from schools in the U.S. for her to continue her education in the performing arts. And in 2013 she packed her bags and relocated to California on a scholarship to study Musical Theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

As a singer she’s quickly became a lead member in several bands in the states, while also writing her own songs and embarking on many other fruitful collaborations. After being recognized by music producer and songwriter Ted Perlman, who’s known for his work with renowned stars such as Whitney Houston, Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan and Diana Ross, the two collaborated in writing a praise and worship rock tune.

Perlman recalls, “As soon as she sang one note, I knew she was special… Rita is one of the most soulful white girls anywhere! She has everything- talent, beauty, brains, and joy. She’s as close to perfect as it gets.”

In the states her seasoned skill as a performer coupled with the fiery nature of Brazilian culture pulsing through her veins, led her to be viewed as a unique talent in the industry.

Last year Rita was personally invited to perform as a singer and dancer alongside some of the most recognizable Broadway stars in the world in the production of “Broadway to the Rescue.” A concert gala for charity, Rita shared the stage with the likes of Tony Award Winner LiLlias White and Tony Award nominees John Tartaglia and Sharon McNight where she gave a memorable performance in numbers from the hit Broadway shows “Hair,” “Memphis,” “Hairspray” and more.

“Training and performance skill once you reach a higher level is not hard to find in Los Angeles. But one thing that I look for in performers, and Rita is one of a few that has it, is personality and unique instinct,” explains Rodrigo Varandas, one of the choreographers behind “Broadway to the Rescue.”

“I feel that her Brazilian culture makes her unique already. But she is able to incorporate American culture in her performance as well and that is just impossible to find. She mesmerized me every time she sang and danced.”

Rita Shukla is one performer who’s managed to excel as singer, actress and dancer, and while she spent years training in order to get where she is today, the natural and vibrant energy she brings to the stage is something that just can’t be taught– and it’s definitely something that has set her apart from the pack.



A new take on what it means to be a triple threat with Yana GoodDay

There is an unspoken understanding within the modeling community that confidence will carry you a greater distance than looks ever will; however, a healthy dose of both will help to build a strong career. Unlike most other professions, models are required to sell themselves within the promotion of a product. They strive to attract the focus and attention of consumers in order to increase awareness of particular brands, companies, products, and more. From fashion to glamor, to fitness and swimsuits, models are featured in a variety of media formats that surround us each and every day and they are an integral element of Western culture. With that, the modeling industry has gained a substantial amount of interest and following throughout history, with the number of working models growing and the amount of available jobs shrinking. It can, therefore, be argued that in today’s society, it is more difficult than ever to stand out in the modeling world and thrive amongst the industry’s top contenders. For Russian model, Yana GoodDay, on the other hand, rising to the top of her field has been a lifelong journey and today, she is taking her profession by storm.

Ever since she can remember, GoodDay has found herself energized by the idea of showcasing her unique allure before the world. As a young girl, she often caught herself daydreaming about the idea of seeing her face on magazine covers and walking down fashion runways in beautiful outfits. As she began turning her daydreams into a reality, she realized that not only were her talents rare in the modeling community, but they were transferable to other related professions. She decided to test her hand at acting for films such as Kids in the Cage and The Waiting, as well as television hosting. With time, she learned to balance the three job types in order to build a more well-rounded career. She has since landed herself a number of notable jobs as a model, actress, and television hostess. For instance, when the 2014 Olympic Games were hosted in Sochi, Russia, GoodDay earned herself a job as the hostess of the Games’ official welcoming ceremony.

Earlier that year, Dynamic Project Group Agency were selected to help with the preparation and coordination of the 2014 Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games. For their official welcoming ceremony, which gathered nearly 3000 athletes from all 88 participating countries, Alena Kremer, of Dynamic Project Group Agency, was looking for a hostess who would provide a familiar face for Russian audiences, as well as one who would represent Russia flawlessly before the eyes of other audiences around the globe. Having formerly served as a reporter for Pro-TV, participated in countless runway fashion shows, posed for covers of well-known magazine companies, hosted national television programs, and more, Kremer was certain that GoodDay was the ideal candidate for the event.

“When we auditioned Yana to host the Olympic Games Welcoming Ceremony, she naturally and effortlessly drew the attention of everyone in the room from the moment she walked in. Her outstanding acting skills and outer beauty is only surpassed by her kind, sweet, down-to-earth nature and her astute intelligence. She is a lovely woman who just happens to be extraordinarily beautiful and talented. She was uniquely dedicated and highly qualified to work in this particularly demanding capacity. Fluent in both English and Russian, she possessed the ability to effortlessly switch languages according to the needs of the audience. Reliable, talented, and hardworking, Yana played a critical role in making this welcoming ceremony the successful event that it was,” raved Kremer, Managing Partner.

Beyond her work as an actress and a television hostess, GoodDay strives to stay true to her modeling roots whenever the opportunity arises. In fact, she honored this effort when she earned herself a role as a lead cover and promotional model for a number of VJ Dunraven Productions’ novels. VJ Dunraven Productions is a highly reputable production company, having released a number of renowned novels written by VJ Dunraven, such as The Promise, and The Captive Shifter. As a lead cover model, GoodDay has established a profound reputation for being able to adapt herself and her looks to suit any genre she is tasked with posing for.

“For the Captive Shifter, Yana posed in an effortlessly angelic stance as she gazed over her shoulder with a sense of purity that was, at once, innocent and mysterious in the most beautiful way,” told Maria Chronis, Founder, Executive Producer, and Director of VJ Dunraven Productions.

Regardless of the novel’s plot line or character basis, GoodDay has a natural affinity for attracting a reader’s attention. Her modeling compliments the contents of each novel and is undoubtedly the reason that so many readers feel compelled to find out what lies beneath her engaging covers. For GoodDay, it is a dream come true to be able to see herself on the cover of each novel and it reminds her of when she would gaze at books and magazines in stores as a child, wondering what it would be like to see her face on them one day. In fact, in the span of two years, she found her face on over 35 different novel covers published by VJ Dunraven Productions.

Being able to live out her childhood dreams is an indescribable feeling, and she considers herself extremely fortunate to be able to truly love what she does for a living. Between acting in films, hosting television shows, and modeling, she has established a remarkable career and she looks forward to building it day by day, and job by job in the future. For those aspiring to develop a reputation like GoodDay’s and to build the type of confidence necessary to accomplish what she has, GoodDay had the following to say:

“Whatever you choose to do, study that subject and its history. Dedicate yourself to it and be brave, but refrain from letting that bravery become arrogance or shamelessness. Work on yourself to be the best version of you that you can be. Finally, don’t forget to get some rest from time to time.”



In case you aren’t aware of it, vinyl outsold downloads last year and are posed to repeat the occurrence this year. That might seem counterintuitive to most readers. It’s easier to access a download and you get to pick out the specific parts that you desire rather than purchasing the entire product. What this trend tells us is that the public is beginning to realize what they forgot, that there is a difference. This same template can be applied to live theater. There is something about the experience, the sound, the energy, and obviously the momentary performances that are created by the entertainers who take part in this classic medium. While Broadway has never gone away, the plethora of touring companies that used to blanket the country and beyond have dwindled. As with vinyl, the “real” thing is starting to make a resurgence, much to the delight of an excited public. Entertainers who can do it all, such as Canadian Karlee Squires are more in demand than in decades. It takes great talent, commitment, and a love of the uncertainty of each performance that drives Squires and this new generation of talented live performers who act, dance, and sing. Even Hollywood and television is taking part in this trend as more and more productions of this kind are seen on both the big and small screens. For Karlee, this is simply more proof that the path she has chosen was well worth the effort it has taken.

“Sugar” is based on the classic comedy “Some Like It Hot” starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon in 1959. The music for “Sugar” is by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill, and the book is by Peter Stone. Set in 1920’s Chicago, the story follows two unemployed musicians, Joe and Jerry, who witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre by Spats Palazzo and his gang. The boys go undercover to get out of Chicago, dressing as women and joining an all-girl band, Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopators, who are travelling to Florida. Joe takes the name Josephine and falls in love with the band’s singer, Sugar. Meanwhile, Jerry (now Daphne) catches the attention of a wealthy, elderly man named Osgood Fielding, Jr. Karlee appears as Mary Lou early in the plays as Mary Lou leaves the band, figuratively opening the door for Sugar. As proof of her talent and malleability, Squires then appears as Olga and stays in this character for the remainder of the play. In a particularly hilarious scene, while on the train to Miami for the band’s gig, Olga asks Jerry/Daphne to help her fix the bra strap that fell down her shirt. Jerry/Daphne has to reach down her shirt, fumble around until he finds it and tie it back together. It’s a featured comedy skit in Sugar and goes on for quite a few minutes. The character Olga is unaware of what’s happening, as Jerry/Daphne is having too much fun, and the audience roars with laughter. The show heats up when Spats Palazzo and his gang show up in Miami and figure out that the girls are actually boys.


Squires performance in “Sugar” belies the curt amount of time she had to prepare. She had twenty-five hours to learn script, blocking, and choreography. The nature of theater is that it can often change at a moment’s notice which makes being a quick learner a substantial attribute. The intensity of learning so much so quickly was offset by the pleasure of being surrounded by an incredible cast and crew. Two time Tony-award-winner Robert Morse shared his stories of performing with the cast and gave direction and encouragement to Karlee during the play’s run. Producer/Production Coordinator Eileen Barnett notes, “It was hard not to notice Karlee; there she was on alongside actors from some of the biggest stages in the world, from Broadway, to the West End to national tours; some even being Tony and Drama Desk nominated, and she was enchanting. She is mature beyond her years. Karlee does all of the preparation and rehearsal that any consummate professional does but she is also always looking for a new way to add something. She has talent and drive which is an outstanding combination; one which was very evident to all of us in Sugar.”


The method for any art form, including musical theater, to move forward is by using one’s talent to push yourself forward by learning from those before you. Karlee Squires is surrounded by her peers and those of legendary status of previous decades. Enabled with a skill set that encompasses the heart of the great musical theater tradition, she is on the forefront of the new generation that carries the torch into the modern era and its productions. As the attendees of “Sugar” can confirm, it’s going to be exciting to watch.

After Her Rivetting Performance in “Hypersomnia” Actress Yamila Saud is Tapped to Star in “El Encanto”

Actress Yamila Saud
Yamila Saud walks the red carpet at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival in Argentina

The stage has been Argentinian actress Yamila Saud’s second home since she was 7, and for as long as she can remember, she has come alive through acting. That passion has allowed her to become one of the most compelling actresses in film today, and her latest film is proof.

Currently streaming on Netflix, “Hypersomnia” is a dark psychological thriller from director Gabriel Grieco. Saud plays the main character, an actress named Milena who finds herself caught somewhere between nightmare and reality as the movie keeps the audience in suspense.

“Hypersomnia” is about a young actress preparing for a big stage role in a play, where her character is a sex slave who falls in love with her captor. Milena’s rehearsal experience leads her into a rabbit hole. Soon, Milena is unable to tell where her own life ends and her character’s begins. Everything begins to feel unreal and dreamlike, and Milena’s confusion quickly turns into madness.

“After an experience her character has, Milena begins to have dreams which feel very real,” Saud said. “Laly shows [the viewer] a world where women are deprived of freedom and all their rights.”

Milena’s trance-like acting exercises go haywire. The film uses the inside of a brothel as the alternate reality where Milena’s character Laly lives with other tortured sex workers. When Milena is not in the brothel playing Laly, she comes out of the trance state — from the looks of it. Yet Milena feels like the abuse and violence of playing a sex slave are all too real, like method acting gone wrong.

Saud skillfully adjusts herself to each scene as the film goes from suspenseful to dark to violent, truly embodying the character’s feeling of pain in the most believable way.

The movie was a huge challenge for me. One of the strongest and most disgusting scenes for me was when Milena is forced to enter with a client in a room, and she sits on the bed next to him,” Saud said. “The cigarettes he smoked were the same brand that my dad consumed when I was a girl. It’s horrible that girls so young are abused by men who could be their own father.”

In a huge shift from “Hypersomnia,” Saud took on a more lighthearted role as Lana in the upcoming 2018 film “El Encanto.” Directed by Juan Sasiaín and Ezequiel Tronconi, the romantic drama has both a sensual and a serious side.

The film focuses on Bruno, played by Ezequiel Tranconi, and his wife Juliana, a famous television host played by Mónica Antonópulos. Juliana is eager to have a baby, but Bruno doesn’t feel ready. The disagreement kicks off Bruno’s midlife crisis. Things get even more complicated when Saud’s character, an attractive young woman named Lara, walks into Bruno’s work.

Saud explains her critical role in the film, “My character is the knot that ties the film together. It’s because of Lara that Bruno’s character reacts and begins to realize what he really wants.”

Produced as an independent film “El Encanto,” focuses on character development. That meant Saud was able to stand out and show off her raw natural talent as an actor. The story line’s depth is explained producer Diego Corsini, saying “It’s a story of growth and maturation. It is reflecting in a poetic and sincere way that stage in which one still does not realize that he has grown and is an adult, and he wants to continue holding on to a past adolescence.”

Saud’s drive and passion for film show so pressingly in every role she plays. A dedicated artist, Saud pushes herself to go above and beyond the call of duty.

“I am a proactive actress who does not wait for the opportunity. I get completely involved in each project and don’t hold back, knowing I am making my mark.”


Actress Ingrid Haubert’s Magnetism On Screen Captivates Audiences

Actress Ingrid Haubert shot by Mpire Studios

Some actresses have a certain magnetism when they hit the screen that captivates audiences and makes us want to watch them. Australian actress Ingrid Haubert, who’s known for her starring roles in the films “2Survive,” “Ambrosia,” “Painkiller” and more, is one of those dynamically talented performers who draws us in with every role she takes on.

While Haubert, who resides in LA, has only been in the states for a few years, she began her acting career early on whilst living in Australia. “I always wanted to be an actor, I think I came out of the womb wanting to act,” she says with a laugh. “I began acting professionally when I was 15 and attended the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art.”

With her white blonde bob, piercing blue eyes and pale skin, Haubert is not only uniquely beautiful, but the way she brings her characters to life on screen makes it impossible to peel our eyes away. Through the wide range of performances she’s given to date, such as portraying the snobbish stylist in season 5 of MTV’s multi-award winning series “Awkward.,” to Dawn, the cunning girlfriend of the lead character in “Painkiller” who orchestrates an elaborate plan to help her love escape from prison, it’s easy to see that Ingrid Haubert has a powerful range on screen. Clearly acting was what she was born to do.

Ingrid Haubert
Ingrid Haubert shot by Abigail R. Collins

Haubert explains, “There are so many things about acting that fill my soul… I think I’d have to say the biggest thing for me always comes back to the story. I love stories. When my mum would read to me at bed time when I was a child I just wanted to be in the story, I wanted to have adventures, and feel, and experience. When I read a script with great story I get so excited to create what is happening on the paper and bring it to life.”

In 2015 Haubert took on the lead role of Amber in the dramatic adventure film “2Survive” directed by Tom Seidman (“Horizontal Accidents,” “The Christmas Bunny”), which is available to stream on AmazonPrime, Google Play and vudu.

A ‘found footage’ film, “2Survive” follows a cast of reality show contestants into the desert where they compete against one another in hopes of winning the $100,000 grand prize; however, after only one night in the desert the contestants wake up to find the cameraman, the only one of them who’s in contact with those running the show, is dead.

Starring alongside Golden Globe Award nominee Erik Estrada (“CHiPs,” “Finding Faith”), Jonathan Camp (“S.W.A.T.,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) and Michael Laurie (“Nuclear,” “CollegeHumor Originals”) Ingrid Haubert gave an impeccable performance as Amber, a cute but naive waitress from Studio City, who’s a pivotal contestant on the show.

“She starts out as this seemingly stupid, helpless girl, but over the course of the film realises her strength and ability and comes into her power as a woman,” explains Haubert about her character.

Stranded in the desert with no way of contacting anyone from the show and only a day’s worth of food and water, the remaining contestants decide that their only option is to continue on with the missions in hopes that it will lead them out of the desert. Their individual weaknesses and strengths come out as they try to piece together the clues that will lead to the next destination; however when Peter, one of the contestants, finds a clue and keeps it to himself as the competition is still on, the situation becomes increasingly dire for the rest.

Out of all of the characters, Amber (played by Haubert) is by far the most dynamic and intriguing, and as more and more layers of her personality are revealed she serves as the driving force that keeps viewers watching to see what will happen next. Initially appearing as no more than the blonde bombshell assumedly chosen to compete due to her good looks, we soon learn that Amber has a unique capacity to solve intricate problems, which prove invaluable to the team.

“I really enjoyed playing Amber, she was a lot of fun. I was determined though, not to let her just be an airhead. I wanted her to have substance and vulnerability, something to make the audience care about her and root for her,” explains Haubert. “In the story she forms a close bond with Bruce, as they are both lonely people. I made my objective for her to bring Bruce back. I felt that this was something that audiences could connect to as the character of Bruce is so lovable.”

While the other characters get wrapped up in their desperation to survive and begin to turn against one another, Amber maintains her benevolent nature and devotes herself to helping Bruce, an overweight gay buddhist, keep up as they try to make it out alive.

Ingrid Haubert
Actors Michael Laurie, Jonathan Camp, Stephanie Greco and Ingrid Haubert at the Los Angeles premiere of “2Survive”

Haubert’s costar Stephanie Greco (“Phoenix Falling,” “Rest for the Wicked”), who played Violet in the film, says, “Ingrid was a dream castmate… She is incredibly talented. I remember there were times when I was done shooting for the day but I stayed around to watch her scenes. She has an energy about her that draws people in and she lights up any room she enters. She’s magnetic and I’ve worked in this business for over a decade now and can say that is a quality most people desire, but rarely have. For her, it is just a part of who she is.”

Besides the appeal of both the story and her character, another aspect of “2Survive” that made Haubert decide the project was one she wanted to be a part of us was the unique way that the film was shot. As viewers watch the film they soon notice that all of the contestants’ helmets are equipped with cameras which, in the film’s story, are intended to capture footage from their personal perspective as they compete on the show. This was key as key element in both the fictional story and the shooting of the actual film, as Haubert explains, “We did actually film with the cameras that were strapped to our helmets, a lot of people don’t believe this, but it is true. We would often be filming a scene but having to stand in weird poses in order to ‘get the shot,’ but then also having to be natural.” She adds, “The whole making of the film was a memorable experience. It’s not everyday that you are an actor and camera operator at the same time.”

Ingrid Haubert is one actress who’s continued to captivate audiences across continents with her performances in both the theatre and on screen, and she continues to push her craft to new heights. In recent years she’s expanded the scope of her work to include performing stand-up comedy on stages across Los Angeles.

“I had a number of friends who also do stand up who had been bugging me for years to try it due to my comedic abilities. And one day, I decided to. It’s really invigorating that I can make my own material, direct myself, and basically have control over all aspects of the performance,” explains Haubert. “I’ve done shows at EXTRA Comedy Show, which is held at Junior High, Drunk on Stage at Akbar, The Comedy Stew at Bar Lubitsch, and Late Nights at the Loft Ensemble to name a few.”

Up next for Australian actress Ingrid Haubert is the sci-fi film “Birth,” which is slated to begin filming later this month and will be directed by award-winner Brett G. Walker (“The Groundskeeper,” “Box 3125”). Haubert will take on the lead role of Tehra, an alien lost in a new world.


Wait ‘till you see Anna Pniowsky in “Wait ‘Till Helen Comes”

file 2016-12-02, 2 07 11 pm
Photo by Kevin McIntyre

When most parents ask their child what they would like to be when they grow up, they often expect to hear answers like “actress” or “singer,” and simply hope that the novelty will wear off with age. For Anna Pniowsky’s parents, however, this is not the case. Not only does Pniowsky have a burning passion to be an actress, she is not ready to wait until she’s an adult. At the young age of 12, Pniowsky is proving to be a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry, and she is certain that this is what she wants to be doing for the rest of her life. For Pniowsky, acting provides her with a platform to unleash her creativity, and it is an outlet to transform herself into each new role that she takes on. She loves all aspects of her job, and she soaks up any opportunity to learn from other professionals every time she steps on set. From camera operators, to hair and makeup, she will stop at nothing and at no one to expand her knowledge and skills in the acting world. Knowing that she has an opportunity to evoke unfamiliar emotions from her audience is what motivates her to keep her head down and focus on her craft, something which she aims to continue doing as she builds her career.

When asked about what initially lead her to the idea of becoming an actress, Pniowsky cannot pinpoint an exact moment. For as long as she can remember, acting has been a world that she was drawn to and that passion has only ever grown with time. Despite her age, Pniowsky has already won herself lead roles in films working with well-known cast members and directors, such as her lead role in Light of My Life, for which Pniowsky was directed by and co-starred with Oscar-winner Casey Affleck. When she sets her sights on a role, there are few limits to what she can achieve and she immerses herself into roles in ways that some established actors and actresses could only admire. Pniowsky is wise beyond her years and she has pieced together a remarkable career path very early on in her life.

At the mere age of eight, Pniowsky landed herself her first ever role in the film Wait ‘Till Helen Comes. The film, which can also be known as A Little Girl’s Secret, is about a reconstructed family who moves to a converted church in the country. When a 14-year old Molly realizes she has a gift that she must use, she has to face her deepest fears and save her troubled step-sister from a dangerous relationship with the ghost of a lonely little girl. In this role, Pniowsky played the powerful role of a young girl that goes missing, walks into a river and drowns. Her character was instrumental to the horror film’s plot line and needed to be played by a highly attuned actress who would know how to keep with the atmosphere and the mood of the storyline. By walking into the river and drowning, Pniowsky’s character helps the audience to draw the chilling conclusion that the story’s antagonist, Helen, targets young girls and leads them into the river to drown. Pniowsky set the scene for the entire film, and without her talents, the film would not have earned the reputation that it did.

As a learning experience, Pniowsky could not have asked for more. Not only did she gain exposure to working with other actors on set, as well as taking direction from a vetted production crew, Pniowsky also gained experience shooting a physically and psychologically demanding scene. She was tasked with shooting the film’s opening scene in close to freezing water. The water was so cold, in fact, that she was immediately pulled from the water and placed in a hot tub when the scene wrapped in order to ensure that there was no damage done to her body from the cold. Pniowsky handled the tasking scene with a high degree of professionalism and ease. Even when there was a flaw with the camera, and she was asked to shoot the scene again, Pniowsky got back into the character and executed the scene flawlessly for a second consecutive time.

Victoria Sanchez-Mandryk, who produced Wait ‘Till Helen Comes, was shocked to experience the caliber of acting that she received from Pniowsky at such a young age. She learned very quickly that Pniowsky’s acting skills rival that of highly experienced actors and actresses who have dedicated a lifetime to their craft. According to Sanchez-Mandryk, “Anna is like an old soul, who quietly watches and listens with wisdom beyond her years, taking everything in. When action is called, she delivers in full force.” To receive such high praise from a professional like Sanchez-Mandryk is not a small feat. For Pniowsky, however, it simply motivates her to continue mastering her artistry and showing the world what she is capable of.

As Pniowsky patiently awaits the release of Light of My Life, she continues to search for new ways to challenge herself and push her acting abilities to the limit. She considers herself extremely fortunate to have earned the experience that she has earned thus far in her career, but aims to build on those successes for many years to come. Keep an eye out for Pniowsky as she continues to rise to the top.

Actress Madalein Jackson May Look Like an Angel, but She Plays a Convincing Villain

Madalein Jackson
Australian actress Madalein Jackson

Actress Madalein Jackson began her career back home on the stages of Australia where she quickly became known for her ability to breathe life into diverse characters. Through her roles in high-profile theatre productions such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Oliver!,” Willy Russell’s “Our Day Out” and the Footlice Theatre Company’s popular “Grubble” series, where she took on multiple roles, Jackson carved out a reputation for herself as one leading actress who effortlessly commands the attention of her audience.

“I am quite versatile, and as a result I’m lucky to have not been typecast,” says Jackson. “I also think I have a pretty keen insight into human behaviour, which helps in effectively conveying emotions and reactions.”

Playing everything from the shy underdog Gertrude McFuzz in the hit production of “Seussical” to the psychotic Clytemnestra in Andrew Coates’ staging of “The Golden Masque of Agamemnon,” Jackson’s versatility has been a driving force in her career, and it’s one that has kept her working non-stop.

While she looks innocent, once she gets into character Madalein Jackson transforms completely, and that’s exactly what she did when she took on the cunning role of Caroline Bingley in YPT’s period drama “Pride & Prejudice.”

Jackson says, “Caroline Bingley is such a great, complex character. Playing the villain is always more interesting than playing the hero, and Caroline is no exception to that. Her motivation is her snobbery and greed, however I always imagined that she must have been damaged in some way in order for her to have such a deep reservoir of pain and hatred.”

In this classic Jane Austen novel adapted for the stage, the Bennet family works to marry off their two daughters Jane (played by Kelsie Allan) and Elizabeth (played by Katy Price) in order to ensure their continued wealth and societal status. While the wealthy Mr. Bingley (played by John Shearman) swoons over Jane, she does not reciprocate his feelings, but that doesn’t stop his sister Caroline (played by Jackson) from inviting Jane over in hopes of creating a bond and furthering her brother’s chances. However, when Caroline realizes the potential match between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, who she wants for herself, her attitude swiftly switches gears. Keeping her exterior composed, Caroline turns into a cunning villainous woman, planting seeds about Elizabeth’s shortcomings in order to boost her chances with Darcy, and Jackson played the part perfectly.

“Caroline mostly keeps her thoughts to herself in polite society, making everyone aware of her opinions purely through knowing looks, however when she is in private with her family she lets fly with contempt and vitriol! Playing someone so manipulative and antagonistic is hard work, but always wonderfully rewarding,” says Jackson.

Madalein has undoubtedly made name for herself in the theatre, but she’s no stranger to the big screen. In 2013 she took on a critical role in the family dramedy film “Wiener Dog Nationals,” which won the Audience Award and the Honors Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival in addition to being nominated for four Young Artist Awards.

Wiener Dog Nationals
Poster for Wiener Dog Nationals

Directed by Kevan Peterson (“Wiener Dog Internationals,” “The Super Holidays”), “Wiener Dog Nationals” follows a family who adopts a dachshund from a shelter and enters her into the nation’s most prestigious wiener dog race, Wienerschnitzel’s “Wiener Dog Nationals.” New to the world of wiener dog races, the family is met with a series of challenges caused by the leading wiener dog champion’s owner Ms. Merryweather and her assistant (played by Jackson), who take unscrupulous measures in order to ensure their dachshund remains the champion. Embodying her character’s cold nature and looking ever-fierce on screen, Madalein Jackson nails the mark as Ms. Merryweather’s assistant in the film.

Jackson says, “I loved the challenge of playing a villainous character in a family film; there had to be a balance between meanness and humour. The character was torn between supporting Ms. Merryweather and helping with her evil schemes, and struggling with working for such a cruel, mean employer. She knows what they are doing is wrong but feels she has to support her boss or face the consequences.”

Acting alongside award-winning actors Jason London (“Trafficked,” “All Roads Lead Home,” “The Rage: Carrie 2”), Alicia Witt (“Urban Legend,” “Dune,” “Cybill”) and Morgan Fairchild (“Days of Our Lives,” “Freaked,” “Flamingo Road”) Jackson definitely holds her own in the film.

Up next for this diversely talented actress is the film “All Our Yesterdays” from writer and director Emily Price. In the film Madalein Jackson will take on the starring role of Dianna, a successful young woman whose death is ruled a suicide, but she knows she was murdered and she’s out to prove it, even if she has to do it from the other side.