About the Post

Author Information

Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

Living and Loving The Artists’ Life: Chatting with Andrea Stefancikova

With more than a dozen film, television and stage credits to her name, Andrea Stefancikova is not your average actress. While prominent in the indie film circuit, the social media savvy artist is incredibly dedicated to her craft and understands the real value it brings to not just her life, but those who appreciate and understand film the way she does.

{Image Credit: Martin Bougie}

Born in the heart of Europe, Stefancikova was raised with eastern European values in the city of Bratislava, known now as the capital of Slovakia. The blossoming actress immigrated to British Columbia in 1998 with her family and dog. Though she returned to Europe for a modeling contract in Milan a few years later, Stefancikova calls Vancouver home today.

Growing up, Stefancikova was involved in kids theatre back in her home country and that passion sprouted into high ambitions when she worked full time as an international model. Booking a slew of television commercials, it wasn’t until her early twenties that she learned sufficient English and had the courage to study and act. Based in Montreal, Quebec at the time, Stefancikova enrolled in Meisner Classes and the Strasberg Institute.

“I booked my first film and TV gigs then, and became a full union member, which I remember I was proud of,” she smiles. “I didn’t know how things worked. I wasn’t as serious and dedicated yet. As a result of that, I was swayed across the seas with another modeling contract for a few more years. I kept studying though, and had the occasional film booking here and there.”

Since returning to Vancouver nearly four years ago, Stefancikova has been on top of her game. Booking full time acting gigs, the actress pours all her passion and energy into the challenging craft. She reveals how her life experience though not exactly carved out on a smooth and easy trail, it has added to the importance of acting in her life and to the craft.

Hailing from a family of artists, it’s no wonder Stefancikova felt inspired to head in such a direction with the arts. She recalls her memories as a young girl in theatre. “It made me excited,” she beams. “I wanted to be in the headlights and perform. I would daydream and imitate what I saw on the stage. I danced, sang, and played the piano since I was five years old, so I got used to being on the stage.”

Stefancikova shares how she would put together small musicals or plays for her family and close friends, casting her brother or cousins in small roles but headlining the event. Naturally though, like all actors, she too grew up shy but reveals how stage made her feel incredibly empowered.

“When I was on the stage, I felt different,” she says. “I felt connected to everyone in a way I couldn’t comprehend. I was lucky with the intellectual background of my family, who introduced me to and supported arts in any form. [And] the primary reasons why I wanted to act were to create [and] tell stories, to express myself, and have fun. I wanted to discover myself and get to know [people] on a raw, real level—connect and to share, to feel, to emote, and in a way, to risk.”

In an exclusive interview with our online magazine, the 32 year-old actress discusses not just what’s ahead for her flourishing career, but the importance and power of social networking, while taking on the sexist and gender stereotypes of the media and film industry.

The Hudsucker: You’ve got quite a few projects under your belt at the moment. Has there ever been a time when you had difficulty turning yourself into a certain character? What made it so challenging for you?

Andrea Stefancikova: Naturally, I face challenges when it comes to digging deep into certain characters, but that is the fun part of my job—the research, and the time that goes into the work. It is something that no one can ever take away from me. Honestly, I don’t think I have done enough variety of work yet to really examine what the most difficult challenge would be for me. In my last project, Romance in Black, my character went through a lot of trauma in a short period of time including the loss of her father, being raped, and what made it challenging for me was the resemblance of the scripted scenes to the real events from my life. Of course, that was also my advantage in getting into it easier. I went deep, all the way, and relived some terror. I had to take extra care of myself every day after work like do more crying, exercise, meditate, journal, and sleep. Rest is the best remedy for me when it comes to stress, or pressure. I did more of this especially after we wrapped. I could describe my post filming state as a combination of elation and shock, and I took it home with me for some time.

A body-painted Stefancikova appears on Whitecaps billboards around the city of Vancouver in the soccer team’s 2011 campaign. {Image Credit: Vancouver Whitecaps}

The Hudsucker: In 2011, you were the subject of controversy regarding the Vancouver Whitecaps in a racy ad featuring you sporting blue and white body paint made out to look like a Whitecaps jersey. It drew criticism from fans and critics, and at the time of photographing that campaign you said you didn’t feel objectified. Do you still feel that way?

Stefancikova: Yes, I still do feel the same. I received a phone-call from my modeling agent one day telling me I was optioned for this big print ad—billboard plus online—for the Whitecaps, which paid a very decent amount of money and would give me great exposure, plus it’d be shot by a known Canadian commercial photographer. She described that I would be body-painted to look like a soccer player in a jersey. Being a professional, and around for a while, plus given the details of who was involved, from the client to the make-up artist, I knew it wasn’t going to be some cheap-looking job I would be ashamed of. I was sure nobody would realize that I was sporting body paint unless they would see the behind the scenes video, which went practically viral overnight, especially in the soccer community all over the world, and caused a mixed commotion. I understood the Whitecaps marketing team and what they were after. They wanted to make a splash, gain attention, cause a reaction and they did, and I was a part of this. Good for them. It was a campaign well achieved in my opinion. Had they used a different subject or motive for their campaign, they probably wouldn’t have received the response they wanted. Who knows.

The Hudsucker: There’s clearly a double standard in place with the way women are treated and regarded in the media as opposed to men. With sexist threats and attitudes, to questions that differ greatly from men on the red carpet that come off shallow or not as engaging—there’s a huge gap in how we perceive one another. What are your thoughts on how the media creates injustices powered by gender stereotypes?

Stefancikova: This ad would not be considered racy in Europe. We see a lot of nudity and controversy in many top fashion designers’ campaigns or editorials, and except the criticism about Terry Richardson, I haven’t heard or read of any negative feedback, and I think there are more appropriate moments where I would expect some reaction from the public. I don’t agree with young girls and boys posing with over-sexed expressions to sell clothing brands for adults. Do people know these are often times teenagers, many of which haven’t even had a sensual contact with another human being yet? Something is not right about that, yet all the magazines and designers keep hiring these kids. There is another problem that arises from this and that is the problem of self-image, eating disorders, and an overall confusion. How are women supposed to fit in these ridiculously small designer samples? No healthy woman should fit into a size-0 dress, a 15-year old child shows off in a photo-shopped and well-lit ad of a glossy fashion magazine or billboard. Then the way most media portrays beauty these days is just aggravating. When I wake up in the morning, I cannot possibly look like an edited, color corrected and adjusted image, which hides all the natural human flaws, which really make us beautiful and unique, like wrinkles, freckles, asymmetry of eyebrows, imperfect un-bleached teeth, or real-size lips, which aren’t plumped up like a balloon.

The Hudsucker: How important is it to open up this dialogue on positive feminism that encourages empowerment through choice and how do we create a solution to change this sort of sexist culture then?

Stefancikova: There are a lot of mixed up and confusing messages we are having our youth and generation live by, a lot of injustice created by the media. What is real anymore? I believe it is the media that can change the perception of things, since it is so powerful. The media could re-create a new, honest real image. I think it is important to speak about all these issues openly and widely and cut down on the sugarcoating and camouflaging of everything from the inside out. Showcase women and men in a real form. If actresses and actors wouldn’t have to be so ‘perfect and polished’ looking, this would have a healthy impact on the audience. I think eventually this will cause a breakthrough in the un-present, scared, and majorly superficial society. I don’t think this change can happen overnight.

Behind the scenes of “Romance in Black” with Michael Madsen and Abraam Fontana. {Image Credit: S.C. MyCountry Production}

The Hudsucker: I want to talk about your films and social media now. You just wrapped Romance in Black in Romania with Michael Madsen and Paul Sorvino, and you didn’t book this film the traditional way with an agent. Instead, you were cast right off of Twitter. How did that come to be?

Stefancikova: This is true and it’s fantastic! In the last year, I came to realize how important social media is in many ways. For an actor, Twitter especially is a great networking platform, and I started really using it. I follow what’s trending, I read, I watch, I absorb, learn and put it to use immediately. I follow certain people, support crowd-funding campaigns and a lot of indie filmmakers. I tweeted a film review about some Italian film, in Italian with specific hash-tags to reach out to the Italian Twitter users. Of course I have done my research before. A certain Italian producer favorited, re-tweeted, and replied to my post—he then followed me. I followed him back. He sent me an instant message and we were in communication, just like that! He said he already looked me up on IMDb, and [we] talked about his project. He sent me the script. I replied with my feedback and interest in being involved. I attached some more information including my extended demo-reel in the email. They auditioned other actresses as well, so I haven’t heard from them for a while. I forgot about it until one evening I received an urgent email from the director of Romance in Black. He asked me if I was still interested in playing the role of Miriam, available to travel almost immediately to Romania, and if I could forward him my agent’s information so they could send out the offer. I couldn’t believe it. My first reply was, “Ma stai scherzando?” meaning “Are you kidding?” and that is all now history. I ended up flying to Romania three days after receiving that email and filmed there for nearly a month.

The Hudsucker: That’s so exciting! A lot of the films you’ve filmed are Canadian produced and shot on Canadian soil, with the exception of Iron Shadows in Thailand and of course, Romance in Black in Romania. What’s it like filming overseas?

Stefancikova: The filming itself is always filming, but each production varies from one another depending on the location, the budget, the type of production it is, the director, the director of photography, the actors, [but] I love filming on location. Dealing with different cultures is always a great learning experience. It isn’t easy or pleasant every time, but that is all a part of life and my job I suppose. I like visiting new places.

The Hudsucker: Do you get time to explore the places you travel to while on a job?

Stefancikova: I don’t always have the opportunity or time to actually do the sightseeing. The free time amount depends on the size of the role. On my last project, I hardly had the time to do anything outside of work. It’s a pity, because the Neamt region of Romania is known to have the most monasteries in the world per square kilometer. [It’s] fascinating.

Stefancikova in a production still for “Romance in Black”. {Image Credit: S.C. MyCountry Production}

The Hudsucker: So have you noticed any differences in preparation or crew while filming overseas?

Stefancikova: There were some differences I registered. For instance, the filming schedule, which was six days on one day off, as opposed to the regular five on and two off. Or the film lingo was slightly different, but that would happen in any other foreign country I would think, and I picked it up immediately. One other thing was the notable hierarchy in the crew. I haven’t really come across something like this before as much as on the last project. Certain crew positions were ‘above’ others, and treated the ‘below’ members with less respect. I am always aware of everything that goes on around me. I value and acknowledge every single person, and I was bothered by this inequality or unfairness. I brought it up, but I had a responsibility and a job to perform, so I had to focus on that. Also most of the crew members, except for the ‘higher’ or ‘more important’ ones, were not allowed to interact with the actors at all. It would be one thing if they would be disturbing the actors on set. To me, everyone who is involved in a production is equally as important. We all need and rely on each other. But other than that, I would say that the crew in Romania was just as professional as the crew anywhere else. I loved them.

The Hudsucker: And the “little blue bird” helped you again, didn’t he? For your film Drunks Like Us which is heading to the Edinburgh Film Festival this February, you were cast off of the social network again. That’s incredible because not only does it showcase the evolution in the PR medium, but the impact an actor who is social can have on their own career. How important do you think social media is to the actor today?

Stefancikova: Yes, [that’s] true. In fact, Drunks Like Us was all cast off of Twitter. It was a personal project of the writer [and] creator of this film, Paul Mackie, and it worked. It is really mind-blowing actually. I think there are certain people who still underestimate the importance and power of social media, but majority gets the hint. I am not saying that this is good, it is just the way it is nowadays in our media controlled and driven society. I used to despise Twitter and Facebook, because I find it impersonal, fake and almost creepy. I would befriend or follow people I don’t really know and their postings would naturally have an effect on me. We lose out real communication to the cyber interactions. These are the sad extremes. But becoming familiar with Facebook and Twitter, I learnt how to use it to my advantage

The Hudsucker: How important do you find social media is for networking and growing professionally?

Stefancikova: For an actor like myself or on my level, social media is crucial. Believe or not, producers do check actors’ Twitter accounts, and it can affect the final casting decisions. An actor who is social can really contribute to the promotion part of the production. ‘Who will I hire, a great actor with 300 followers or a great actor with 23,000 followers?’ Actors are often required to tweet daily about the production they are working on—it’s signed in the contracts.

The Hudsucker: From social media to filming across the world in Romania, what are some of your next, up and coming projects?

Stefancikova: I will mention the most important one, because I am very excited about it. I have written my first book, which took me nearly two years to complete. The story is inspired by true events and written memoir-style. It is an authentic, bold, at times shocking yet sensitive piece of work containing raw outpouring of feelings, which makes it a sexy read but with depth, breadth and grounding. The manuscript has been optioned by a major Canadian production company for film and TV. I cannot thank more to the universe, my family, the loved ones, and to the man who is behind this and supported me since the very first moment, Robert Lantos. I feel blessed. If all goes well—[and] I believe it will. The book will be published in the late spring of 2015. I have poured my heart and soul into this book and there is a very important message I would like to share with the world, so stay tuned.

Stefancikova with her guest at the UBCP/Actra Awards last fall. {Image Credit: Union of BC Performers}

The Hudsucker: You’ve been to a few festivals throughout your career and just got back from Whistler’s Film Festival. Amid the glitz and glamour of it all, do you ever get star struck?

Stefancikova: This makes me recall an event and [just] laugh. It [actually] happened a few years back at a private party in Montreal. When I walked in, I was literally greeted by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who called out at me when they spotted me. When I realized who they were as I was walking towards them, I completely froze—I panicked. I didn’t know what to say or do. I turned crimson in seconds, felt hot and everything. We were introduced and all in a haze, I took out my mobile, dialed my dad and asked Mick Jagger to say ‘Hello’ [to him], and he did. I will never forget this night. [But] otherwise, I don’t think I get star struck. We are all just human beings going through this life. I can get shy, but it’s a part of my personality, so I learned to breathe with it.

The Hudsucker: Everyone’s got their dream role pegged for them, so what’s yours?

Stefancikova: Let me think—to be in a James Bond film? I would love that. Or to play a queen or a witch in a fantasy or a period film. To be honest, I don’t have a specific dream role or it has evolved, but the direction of my desire would be to play someone extremely intelligent, not a native English speaker, psychologically unstable with past trauma, maybe an addict of some sort, dangerous and a mother at the same time—a very complex role. I like complicated characters. I love challenges.

The Hudsucker: What about your dream co-star?

Stefancikova: Well this slightly changes every year, and it is never just one dream co-star. I [would] start with Michael Fassbender, who has been my dream co-star for a few years and we know each other too, so that would make it even more exciting. Javier Bardem, Mads Mikkelsen, Christoph Waltz, right now it is also Rupert Friend, Olivier Martinez, Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux, Matthias Schoenaerts—I would also like to play with Diane Kruger, ideally sisters.

The Hudsucker: What do you enjoy most about acting?

Stefancikova: I love telling stories and really speaking to people, connecting and having and effect on them as well as being effected. I love living and losing myself in each and every moment in different roles and using my passion and my life experiences, which I have an abundance of in my craft. I love the challenge, the downs and ups, even though at times it really can get tough. I can say that I do live and love the artist life.

{Image Credit:Martin Bougie}

The Hudsucker: You’ve been in quite a few films now and are really branching out with your career greatly. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Stefancikova: In five years? Frankly, I see myself more financially independent. Ha—that was a joke, but every joke has a little bit of truth in it. [But] I see myself having one home in Europe, closer to my family, and one home here in North America, either Vancouver or Los Angeles. I see myself as a healthy, fulfilled, happy and successful artist—actor, writer, producer—with a voice, that will inspire others, possibly starting a family. I really would love to have a family one day, and a dog. I am a firm believer of what is meant to be will happen, and I live by focusing on each day. I live in the present.

* * * * *

Throughout our interview, Stefancikova shares how much she loves people and enjoys getting to know them. It’s one of her biggest inspirations and something that reflects her passion. “I believe it is the desire and need to tell the truth and to effect people,” she says. “I love people. I want to give them a gift they can dwell on and take away–something they will never forget and could possibly change their lives.”

With a pursuit to push herself and create no boundaries, Andrea Stefancikova believes there is a great magic in the unknown. By immersing herself in the arts and not just the glittering lights of show business, she twinkles at the passion and dedication of the world around her, all while exploring and stretching her creative self.

Follow the bold and beautiful Andrea Stefancikova on Twitter and Instagram, and keep up with her films and upcoming projects over at IMDb.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Living and Loving The Artist’s Life: Chatting with Andrea Stefancikova | westlifebunny - January 21, 2015

    […] Continue reading… […]

Leave A Reply [Invalid Emails Will Be Marked As Spam]

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: