Evgeniya Radilova: Actress on the Rise
(above: Evgeniya Radilova in NYC).
She walks into any room, be it a red carpet event space or the Pilates studio at the gym. Every head turns. For all the right reasons. Then, when she chooses to speak with you, her eyes light up like a thousand stars at midnight. She is an actress, model, fire twirler, video producer, director, dreamer and international woman of mystery. Men want her. Women want to BE her. Watch out: Evgeniya Radilova is coming your way! Evgeniya has worked with top names from Ellen Burstyn to Alec Baldwin and has recently started her own production company. Rising star on the NYC scene, Evgeniya Radilova sits down with Goldrush to tell us more.
(above: Evgeniya Radilova is an actor & director known for her versatility).
Christina Morrison: "What's on your schedule at the moment?"
Evgeniya Radilova: "Firstly, I would like to thank Goldrush magazine for kindly inviting me to share my story with its readers and thank you to Christina, for creating such a world class fashion and cultural magazine.
I always work on a few projects at the same time and a few of them are my China Cultural Exchange Project and my work as an actress and a director. One feeds the other."
(above: Evgeniya Radilova in a Manhattan fashion shoot).
"Last summer, I was blessed with a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to China and do a cultural exchange program in Chongqing with theatre and film studies and it was one of the most profound experiences of my life.
I am an actress and a director who seeks for the truth in art and through it to inspire one another. I believe that theatre can connect and transform people, and either by observing or participating we learn more about ourselves and the world around us.
After the great success of the first visit I decided to keep coming back and this summer was my third visit to China!
(above: Evgeniya's acting classes that she conducts in China are ready for their next season).
Inspired by the cultural exchange program I decided to open my own program in New York City. So, with my very good friend and famous Bulgarian actress Marina Alexandrova, the plan is to open an Art Space and start a Theatre and a Film Laboratory in the heart of Brooklyn! We will open in late September this year.
For the East and the West - the world is now easy to navigate. But the people have not yet been a whole. We know that when we play together is the way to get to the other person. We want to invite Chinese students in the US as well.
I'm also involved with the Art Space at the Bulgarian Cultural Center in Brooklyn. The place is for the meeting of people through art between two worlds - east and west. Bulgaria, as a country, was the gate between east and west. Our desire here is to communicate with children through art in order to create together a common point of reference. The cultural center is created as an art lab where children and people will learn to hear while they are listening to seeing while they are watching.
The other half of my heart is in filmmaking and performing, but recently, I have been behind the camera. Born to an actress mother and director father I grew up on set and in the theatre."
"My love for the stage and the art grew more than me and I set a goal for myself: to work with the best in the business. The reason is that with real masters of the art we could fly further away together. So…
Two years ago, my dear friend, singer/songwriter and now business partner Darja Schabad came to me with the idea to teach her fire dancing for her new music video 'True Paradise.' I forgot to mention that this is another one of my passions: dancing with fire."
(below: Evgeniya in fire-dance form is a sought-after professional performer and choreographer).
She also invited me to direct the music video and this was one of the most important days of my life until now."
"I found the deep love I have for directing and filmmaking and I embarked on my first ever directorial debut. I felt so at home. We used all our resources and created in a whirlwind our first 'baby.'
(above: Evgeniya Radilova directing the award-winning video for "True Paradise.")
"We prepared for a month but shot it in a day and a half. And now, I am so proud to say that we have had an incredibly successful festival run. We were accepted in 10 festivals and won three of them for BEST MUSIC VIDEO at the Winter Film Awards, LA Cinema Festival of Hollywood and Miami Film Festival. Here is a link to it if you have time to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB0j4q2rzWE
(above: Success! Evgeniya Radilova picking up the award for Best Music Video for the piece she directed).
"After the success of my video, I co-founded with Darja a production company called 'iDare Productions' where I have been producing, writing and directing for the past two years."
"I wrote, produced and directed two short films: 'Patrik' and 'El Cavil.' I also directed a film called 'My Relationship With The Moon' which won the Special Recognition Award at the Cayenne Film Festival.
I recently directed and produced a new music video called 'Nothing Changed for Me.' Also I am co-producing and co-directing a film called “Then and Now”. And just recently directed a film called 'The Burden.'
CM: "In your background as a NYC-based actor, what are some of the things you love most about living in such an exciting city?"
(above: Evgeniya reflecting on life in NYC).
ER: "I love everything about this city. I flew in a plane for the first time in my life and landed in NYC. That move saved my sanity! The taxi drove through Times Square in the middle of the night and my breath was taken away. I was home at last."
(above: New York's nightlife stole Evgeniya's heart on her first night in the city).
"I love the people the most; I study people for what I do and trips on the subway are one of my most favourite things. I love the melting pot this city is. I don’t feel like I am in America. With people, all over the world, all kind of religions, rituals, and habits...New York City is a wonderful melting pot.
I have learned so much. I love the fast pace that everyone moves with; it gets me excited and pumps the blood in my veins. Everyone is going after their dream and sometimes it is hard and unfair but so is life.
Nothing can stop you if you have a dream and you dream it with your whole being. NYC is inspiring and makes me be the best version of myself I can be. I guess life does that on its own."
CM: "We know that you recently won another award and that you were also one of the very few actors selected to be part of the Actors’ Studio. Can you tell us a bit more about those highlights?"
ER: "One of my greatest achievements was to be accepted as a lifetime member of The Actors' Studio showing up in a segment called the 'from the street' selections! This is what they call the people who just audition straight off the bat rather than going into The Actors' Studio Conservatory. The year I auditioned for the prestigious studio only three people got accepted out of 1,500, and I was one of the three.
(above: Evgeniyga with Ellen Burstyn and co-star in NYC).
Ellen Burstyn, who was at the time the Artistic Director of the studio, accepted me and then invited me to performed as her daughter in a production of 'The Cherry Orchard,' directed by John Gould Rubin. It was a dream come true. To share the stage with this Oscar winning, Grand Dame of Theatre and Life was an absolute honor. Since then I have worked with her, Estelle Parsons, Alec Baldwin and many other members and moderators and keep improving my art. Also, I am so happy to say that I became a lifetime member of the Playwrights' Directors' Unit at The Actors' Studio."
(above: In the Moment - Evgeniya uses a number of techniques to get in character).
CM: "With your theatre work and as an acclaimed actor on television, what have been some of your most memorable roles?"
ER: "Ahhhh, they are so, so many…One of my favourite roles for which I received the Charles Jehlinger award for Best Actress at The American Academy Of Dramatic Arts, was Eva/Evelyn in Kindertransport. I played a 13-year-old German Jew who was sent by her mother to England on a secret boat called Kindertransport. It was a heartbreaking and very important piece of writing and a joy to portray the character."
(above: Evgeniya in "Kindertransport.")
"Then, after playing a Chechen revolutionary and a Holocaust survivor onstage, I appeared as a militant from Waziristan in NBC’s 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' (episode 299: ‘Acceptable Loss’).
All the characters have lived very difficult lives and have had to face almost the same fate. Sofia ('Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'), lives in Waziristan, dealing with the Taliban and the war on terror and has lost her father. Seda (a Chechen revolutionary in a production called 'I Plead Guilty,' performed at Gene Frankle Theatre), lives in Chechnya, trying to stop the Russian troops killing and bombarding her country and has lost her husband. Their freedom of choice had been stripped away.
(above: Controversial - Evgeniya in "I Plead Guilty.")
"In those conditions they were living in these women had no other choice but to seek revenge. There are also so many other roles that keep a special place in my heart like my first Off-Broadway production of 'Blood Wedding' by F. G. Lorca at Barrow Group Theater in NYC. I was playing the leading role of the bride and it was one of the most passionate roles I have ever portrayed."
(above: Dramtic Tension - Playing the lead character in "Blood Wedding" was one of Evgeniya's most rewarding roles).
"I like characters with depth; multilayered and with a lot of subtext. I like to portray a complex and interesting human being."
CM: "We saw you perform the part of a foreigner on tv; how difficult was it to perfect the accent?"
ER: "I took an inspiration from different Pakistani New Yorkers for my accent. I also read about women from Waziristan who have spoken about the drone attacks. And learned from YouTube videos. It was very hard but was very exciting."
(above: Fit. 24 x 7. Evgeniya Radilova maintains a highly disciplined fitness focused lifestyle to stay ready for any role or directorial demand that comes to hand).
CM: "In that role, you were also able to work yourself into a frenzy. The character was 100% believable. When I watched your acting skills I laughed. I cried. I laughed again. Then I got scared. Then I was laughing. Then I was curious. Then I was confused. Then I was crying again. Then finally I felt ok because the character’s story was resolved.
How do you bring so much dramatic tension to the role? Would you say you are you a method actress?"
(above & below: High Drama - Evgeniya in a production of "Anna in the Tropics.")
ER: "I think it all comes down to how much you love what you do and how much of your heart and soul you put into it. And then how much work you put in. Also, it comes with personal experience. I have gone through a lot of rough times and have learned about pain, survival and love, and I think this is very important for an actor."
"Also, when you keep in mind that it isn’t about you and realise it is about the story you are telling then everything becomes more real, deeper, with more tension and joy.
I believe I am a method actor but sometimes I use different techniques. It depends on the role. Some roles are already being easier and for some I must dig deeper. So, I must unlock parts of me first to be able to reach that far."
CM: "Clearly, with your background in modelling and appearing basically semi naked for glamorous magazines such as Maxim, you are aware that your body is basically a lethal weapon of destruction. You can walk into any room and shut it down. So our readers want to know: How do you stay in shape? Do you like, not eat? What’s the deal? Any tips?"
ER: "I give thanks to the Divine, eat healthy foods and move my body as much as possible. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive; it means getting the right nutrients for your body. Also, physical work is good for your mental health not only the way you look and that is very important for me."
"I bike everywhere in NYC when the weather is good. I have rehearsals every other day and just walking around in the city is good exercise. I love walking the streets of New York. I dance with fire and for fun, I do yoga and I swim. I love sports."
(above: Global Citizen - Evgeniya is in demand worldwide as an actress, director and creative).
CM: "If you had to describe yourself in five to ten words, what would they be?"
ER: "Wild, Free, Honest, Noble, Kind, Sexy, Mysterious
Noble (this is the meaning of my first name in Greek)
Apache of Bond girl (I was called by 'The International Express Tribune' in an article regarding my role in 'Law and Order SVU')
Villain with a heart (roles I love to play)
Wild (my inner spirit)
Warm (I am fun to hang out with)
Vulnerable (I am incredibly emotional)
Fiery (my inner goddess)
Intense (when needs be)
Joan Of Arc (love her spirit)
Mystical (always good to be a little bit)
Bad ass (I guess this is already going into 11)!"
(above: Fashion shoot for "Vogue" USA, featuring Evgeniya Radilova in creative mode).
CM: "What are you working on in terms of video production at the moment?"
ER: "Well, as I mentioned at the start of this interview I recently wrote, produced and directed two short films, which are both about to fit festival season. Their names are 'Patrik' and 'El Cavil.' But let me go into a little bit more detail about them just to give you an idea of the storylines."
(above: Evgeniya Radilova directing the movie "Patrik.")
'Patrik' is a story about an accomplished elderly actor who grew too old for our modern fast paced life and on his way to receiving his final and ultimate life time recognition, he gets swallowed up by it mercilessly."
"It is a human story about trying to age gracefully while being pushed aside by the next generation. And ultimately it is a story about how a real human connection is the ultimate reward we can all hope for in this life time.
'El Cavil' is a story about a man who loves his work more than anything in this world. He is a shoe shiner. He believes in the old tradition, that if you have a shine on your shoes there is a melody in your heart. Unfortunately for El Cavil, people are just too busy to acknowledge him or their shoes. This story shows the struggle of homeless people who could be a valuable contributor to society if they only got the opportunity.
Also, I just directed and co-produced a film written by Zina Wilde, who is also starring in the film. The name is 'The Burden,' and it's the story of a depressed loner as she goes about her day in the city. At first she appears like any other person with troubles but once you take a closer look she happens to carry hers with her everywhere. In a suitcase.
I also directed and produced a new music video called “Nothing Changed for Me” and am co-producing and co-directing a film called 'Then and Now.' More projects are in the works but for them I will tell you next time.
CM: "If someone was thinking about venturing into the creative life that you are leading, travelling the world and expressing so many different aspects of artistic enquiry, what would be your advice for them?"
ER: "If I can give any advice it would be to never lose hope, faith and your passion. Work hard and stay open to the world and its possibilities. With time, you will learn where not to spend time. How not to over prepare. Just remember it is all your journey and it will lead you into making the best version of you. Let this be your mission! Try everything because you never know what is hiding around the corner. Travel and learn from different cultures! Love yourself and Love Life."