Anastasia Baranova Interview
We spoke with Anastasia Baranova of Veronica Mars and Z Nation fame. Below, an edited version of that conversation.
I understand that you knew at an early age that you wanted to be involved in the arts. What was it that influenced that decision?
Performing came really naturally. I always liked making people laugh and truly enjoyed creating and observing art in any way.
Did you have a mentor, teacher or family member who helped you along the way? And if so, what was the best piece of advice he or she gave you?
I’ve had so many! My mom was always my backbone and supported me through everything. She taught me work ethic and responsibility through example. A professor I had in college (I went for a year), Michael Nehring, once told me, “You have to let them see your bleeding heart.” I struggled with vulnerability on stage, which is funny because I’m so intensely emotional in life.
You have done quite a bit of voice over work throughout your career. Would you like to one day lend your voice (singing or speaking) to an animated film?
I would love to do both!!
What has been the best part of working on the SyFy series Z Nation?
Getting to play a strong female character that is well received. I’ve gotten to travel all over the country going to different conventions meeting people and talking to them about the show. I was really surprised to find out Z Nation is a family show and girls really look up to Addy.
Can you share what has been the most challenging part of being on the show?
When we’re actually filming it’s pretty grueling. Very long hours for months at a time doing most of our own stunts, out in the elements on location.
You are a woman of many talents: acting, singing, playing instruments and sports. Do you have a favorite medium?
Definitely acting. It’s my favorite thing to do—always. Singing is personal and just for me. I paint, write and take pictures for fun, just as an outlet.
Given its pop culture status, can you share what your experience was like working on Veronica Mars?
So much fun! It was really neat watching Kristen Bell work, being the center of a big production and maintaining a great attitude throughout the day.
How was your transition from working as a young actress into working as an adult in the industry?
It went well, considering. There was a time when I was frustrated that I wasn’t working as much as I wanted to, but I’m glad everything worked out as it did. I had time to grow up and become a well rounded human with a really solid circle of friends and an understanding of who I am.
Do you have any sage advice for young girls who want to get into acting?
My general advice for anyone who thinks they want to be an actor for a living is to get clear on what it is they want, truly. If you just want to be famous there are easier ways than acting. At the same time, if it’s just for the love of performance, there are also easier ways. It becomes something different once it’s your main source of income. But if it’s what you’d do if you didn’t have to work and if you would do it for free, then study as much as you can, find other ways to expand your creativity and your talent, and get ready to commit to the work. It’s the love of the work that will lead you and guide you and keep you going when you’ve gotten rejected more times than you can count.
What can you share with our readers about your experience with the world of Transformation?
The work of personal transformation is hands down the most exhilarating and meaningful thing I’ve done in my life. It seems kind of mystical and high-brow when you first hear about it, but very quickly you’ll see that it’s really basic stuff that significantly expands the human experience. Understanding that how you see yourself and the world could actually have nothing to do with reality and are the things holding you back from having the things you’re working so hard to have has the potential to change your life. There is also a huge component of how your relate with other humans- how you build and navigate relationships. Outside of our careers and our work, the humans we share life with pretty much make up our entire human experience, so gaining skills in that department can really improve the quality of your life.
If you hadn’t gotten into the arts when you were young, what profession do you think you would have pursued?
I really don’t have an answer. I have no idea. It had to be this. Outside of acting and the arts, transformation is the only other thing that’s made me feel purposeful and alive, so perhaps something in that field. That’s still on the table for me, and I’ve found ways to incorporate that into acting and my public persona, so to speak.
Do you like to watch TV? Which shows are you currently watching?
I do! Of course TWD, I just finished Stranger Things, I’m watching Jumanji right now 🙂
Is there a dream project you would like to work on someday?
A long running, award winning, impact making, culture shifting, sitcom.