What was it like growing up in Russia and moving to the US when you were just 8?
This is a very complicated question. I think this is what my first book will be on. It deserves 200 pages of description and details. It involves growing up in a village of 12 houses during communism. Where I woke up in a bunk bed my father built, to the sound of roosters crowing in the barn, my pillow was stuffed with fresh birch leaves and crinkled as I stirred, I could hear my mother coming inside from the barn with a fresh pale of milk from our cow. I grew up wild and free, flowers in my hair, honey on my sticky finger tips. My family woke with the sunrise to watch the linen fields bloom, stayed up all night stealing sugar snap peas from the communist fields, fell asleep under the stars as the horse drawn loot slowly rolled back to our village. My parents taught us how to hunt, skin, respect, and nourish animals. How to respect nature... to know she will ALWAYS win. No one is better than the other ... no creature is more important than the other... we are all in this together. That's a lesson you rarely hear coming from Communism but it's what I took from it as a child.
My mother would say:
"Don't pick all the berries on the bush. The berries on top are for the birds. The ones closer to the ground are for the little creatures. You and I take from the middle. We are humans after all and we are in the middle... responsible for everything above and below us."
Our well was always full of crisp clean water. My imagination flourished. I had built a universe in the woods. A kingdom in my heart. Magic was everywhere... all the while the "kingdom" aka Communism started crumbling. Little by little my worlds started to shift in small ways and then in tidal waves. I learned what loneliness was, I learned what true hunger feels like, change and instability rattled my family as it did the whole country. I stood in ration lines with my grandmother for our allotted bread, I learned to stay silent and hyper observant, I watched the adults, I learned to shape shift. I became an actor. A great one.
One day my father was gone. I don't remember him leaving. I was told he went to the place "where the streets were paved with gold and anything was possible." He would come back for us, I was told, as soon as he could. My mother waited in immigration lines for half a year... gathering papers that would change and expire daily. The shifting government felt like an earthquake underfoot that you were asked to run a marathon on. My little family waited... I forgot what my father looked like... it was over a year since I had seen him. Once every 2 weeks we spoke for 5 min on the neighbours phone. He sounded nice... that I can remember. Then one morning my mother left to the same magical place with the golden roads. My brother and I waited. I spent hours sitting on my grandmothers windowsill daydreaming of looking past the double paned glass. I started carrying a photo of my parents in my pocket. The kids at school teased me... called me orphan. I would whip out my picture and prove that I had parents and that they loved me. I couldn't say that they were in "America". I couldn't even hint at it. They would have been traitors... they would have been seen as giving up on the homeland. I learned stillness... to keep secrets. One night my mother came through the front door of my grandmothers apartment. She had been gone for months. She hugged me and we were a family again. We packed 2 bags and said goodbye to my grandparents. It was 4 am when my mother, brother and I plus our 3 dogs (hunting companions never get left behind) got in a car and drove to the airport. We were all going to go to the land of opportunity. We didn't know if we would ever be able to come home to our motherland again. Would I ever be able to see my grandparents again? I missed my cow, my woods, the smell of the dew in the morning, the berries and the mushrooms, the warm embrace of the village women that raised me. I missed stealing apples from the neighbours yard, the crispness of my pond where I learned to swim, our horse, my favorite chicken. I missed being connected to the berry bush of life. Where was the top and where was the bottom? Am I still the middle? All of these questions flooded my little mind... I stayed silent... and when the flight attendant asked what I wanted to drink I said the two things I knew in English "coco cola, thank you".
That's the moment I realized we were all in it together, my little family. My childhood ended on that plane... I was one of 4 corners of surviving this change. I needed to be strong. To hold my end up... and just like that... the tires hit the pavement and the passengers started singing onboard "God bless America".
The rest is for the book.
Do you have a ritual for creativity & inspiration?
When I write I listen to the same song on repeat. Sometimes for hours. It helps keep my mind in a stable place so that the words can find themselves easier. It's like putting myself into a coma.
My home has to be very neat in order for me to create. It's very clean in here. Simple and minimalistic. Great lighting... dimmer switches are a must for creativity.
When I act... and prep a role, I make a playlist for the character depending on where they need to be emotionally. It helps transform you when there are 200 crew members around you doing their jobs.
I get visually inspired by Instagram. One of the reason I love that platform. Also love, I'm always inspired by love. And humans. Humans are fascinating creatures.
You recently released a beautiful book of poetry titled ‘Hounds of Love’, what was the inspiration behind these poems?
The Hounds of Love where inspired by real love letters I wrote a man. They came to me at a time when I was healing and missing him. Missing parts of myself and rediscovering the new woman I had become. I would write him but not send the letters. Half a year passed and I had mended my wounds and realized I had also writen a book. With his permission I decided to share 18 of the poems with the world. The Hounds of Love represent the part of us that howl and protects the gates to our heart. I love my hounds.
There is magic in receiving a letter in the mail. I've had a penpal for 12 years now. His name is Scott Bourne and he's a silver fox, author, daddy, and husband to a goddess. We met in Paris when I was 19. He was my neighbour across the blvd, the other end of my tin-can telephone (true story we had a tin can telephone that connected us in Paris), the man who let me ride side saddle on his bike drunk from life and cheap French wine, he taught me how to love failure, to enjoy life in the grit, and embrace the erotic pleasure of being a woman.
Every 2 weeks or so I get a letter from him. It makes my day. I wanted my readers to receive love letters from me. Unbound letters. I want the pages to be folded up and mailed. Don't take a screenshot of the poem, don't feel bad about tearing the page, just unclip the one you like and have it. It's my present to you.
Do you have any more poetry books, unbound or bound in the works at the moment?
Yes I do. I'm working on editing a book of poems written by immigrants. It's a sensitive subject and I'm having a hard time opening up about it. It's important work and I know this is why I'm scared to write it.
As an actress and writer, do you ever see yourself looking to write or direct films?
I have a script that I wrote with Scott Bourne which I will make soon... I'd like to produce it. Directing is not for me but I love directors. I'm great at bringing people together but after that I just want to watch them play, have their creativity and color the canvas of a project.
What has been your biggest lesson?
Self Love. I learned it later in life. It's something you don't have the luxury to develop when you're in survival mode. It came to me once I could exhale a bit. I hope for everyone to learn this lesson as early on in life as possible.
If you could invite anyone over to dinner, who would it be and why?
My grandfather. He's my guardian angel and my best friend. We didn't have much time together in this lifetime but he had the biggest heart of any human I have ever met. I don't know his stories and I wish I did. He smelt like cigarettes, vodka, shoe polish, and leather. His smile lit up a room. He had mismatched colored eyes... one real and blue... the other glass and green. He was the silent type... but when he spoke or read me a book it was smooth and soft like silk.
What are your hopes for the rest of the year and what would you like to share with the world?
My hopes and what I'm working on for the next couple of months are to achieve more balance. To stand firm in my choices... choices that lead me closer to stability and security in myself. I guess those are the roots of self love :)
For the world? A collective exhale. A collective inhale. May we all hold the babies of our enemies ... see we are all the same... and maybe just maybe pause before making decisions.
What would be your advice to women?
Enjoy being a woman. You are a universe. You can create another human which makes you magic. Never doubt your creativity... you are the essence of creation. Stand in your power. Never apologize for it and yes you can be strong all while being soft and graceful.
What is your definition of a WYLDE WOMAN?
A Wylde woman is free. She laughs with her whole body. She loves the flesh her soul lives in. She knows how to care for other living beings, creatures, herself. She knows how to take life and make one. She is in tune with the seasons... she knows when to let go and when to receive. Her whiskers are always towards the wind... she senses what's coming. When she loves, the whole world tints rose colored. She is patient, she is kind, but just like nature she is fierce and stronger than any man made accomplishment.