It’s never too late to open a new chapter in your life. And that’s absolutely true in the case of Russian-American actress Eugenia Kuzmina.
Kuzmina sat down with Grit Daily this week to let us in on how she went from an immigrant mother to a successful actress and model.Accidentally cast in a Chuck Norris flick. No biggie.
Actress Eugenia Kuzmina’s career took off when she appeared on the cover of Glamour and began walking the runway for multiple designers including Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, and Thierry Mugler. Eugenia transitioned into acting and has appeared in such films to include: Bad Moms, Isn’t it Romantic, Dirty Grandpa, and Fury.
Grit Daily tuned in to her experience of life in the spotlight to her reflections on motherhood in this (pretty wild) interview below.
Grit Daily: You had your own interesting start in acting. Share that.
Eugenia Kuzmina: Growing up in post-Soviet Russia, we didn’t really have an entertainment industry. Most films were still propaganda of a Soviet regime, and acting was not something you’re encouraged to pursue unless your family is in it. Our lives were more about survival and adjusting to the chaos of the changing economy.
At thirteen, by accident, I was pulled into a group of kids from the school who were cast in a variety sketch show featuring children, but it was a one-time gig and a way to skip school more than anything.
Modeling was more of a realistic career because it paid, and brands like L’Oreal and Coca-Cola were coming to Russia at the end of the 1990s.
At 15, I was able to support myself and my family.
At some point, I was cast again by accident in a Chuck Norris film, but I didn’t have an international visa, so that was that.
After a few busy years traveling the globe for modeling assignments and then having kids in my early 20’s, I found myself in LA, in the middle of the entertainment industry because of my husband running a production.
Gillian Greene and Sam Raimi were my husband’s best friends at our wedding and Gillian just asked me to be in her film. I had no idea what I was doing. Then my modeling agent sent me to the audition for Rodrigo Prieto (Babel) film with Elle Fanning. That’s when I actually really started to get it.
I had to work on very complicated emotions for the audition, which mirrored mine in real life as a new mom. Also, I had a blast knowing that I was cast because I actually worked for it this time. It wasn’t given, and it was more about how you feel rather than how you look, which is what modeling is about.
Since then, I decided to investigate it and seemed more stable for a mom than modeling and flying to locations every day. Many people said this is a ridiculous idea because no one starts acting after having two kids and in their mid-twenties, but I ignored anyone’s limiting perspectives. I knew it was something I could learn from, grow as a person and find my voice after being objectified as a model for so long.
GD: Some of your roles required some serious prep physically and mentally.
What went into that?
EK: Acting looks very glamorous and fun from the outside, but most of the time, it requires so much focus, attention, sacrifice, and time to deliver. I just finished shooting a horror film. “Asking for a Friend” produced by Victoria Lacoste, and we were on the overnight shoot, soaked in blood, freezing, terrified, screaming. Then I had to go home, wash off the blood, and take the kids to school.
A lot of times, I work with a coach. English is my third language after Russian and French, and emotions come very differently when it’s not your native tongue. Each role requires different preparation. I do like talking to people who go through similar experiences and also working on character traits in public to make sure it’s authentic.
So, if you see me being homeless on Sunset Blvd., it’s just for an acting role. For action films, I have grueling sessions with trainers and just got a motorcycle license. This job is definitely more intense than what I thought when I got into it, but I’m having a blast learning and working with amazing artists.
GD: How do you want people to ultimately think of you?
EK: It’s really out of my power to know what people would think because I can’t count on outside opinions. My job is to be authentic and true to myself and in this world. I would say kind and compassionate, one day at a time.
GD: How has motherhood shaped your acting?
EK: Motherhood makes you see the world not as yourself in the center of the universe, but your kids are, so it definitely made me more compassionate. Especially in modeling, you can get so spoiled and self-centered. I’m sure I was at some point, and it’s impossible to be a good actor if your attention is not fully on another person in the scene. Also, motherhood just teaches me so much about humanity, humbleness, and wonder.
GD: What’s one role you’d love to fill?
EK: Being authentic.
GD: What’s next?
EK: I just finished shooting with Guy Ritchie and on tour with my comedy group. Were editing the pilot for the web series. It’s a documentary on comedians performing stand up in unconventional places around America. We went to Arizona and Palo Alto to explore AI and the future of humanity—next is Vegas.
Actress Eugenia Kuzmina is proving that it is a brand new era for women.