We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Cherkezishvili and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
I believe when there is hope and dreams there is always a possibility to keep going. I have big dreams in life as an actor and as a human being and it really motivates me to take actions. I love my work and often dream about what kind of roles I would play or projects I would like to work on and it makes me feel inspired to follow my path. However, if I have moments when it is hard for me to keep going, I think what helps me most of the time is support of people close to me. My mom is my great supporter, my family, my mentors and friends are people I feel lots of support from as well.
I think turning difficult situation towards the positive side is another way that helps me to keep going. Every time I felt that it was too hard not to give up those moments taught me so much about my strength and weaknesses. Going through difficulties always made me stronger than I was before. Moreover, it took me some time to learn that it is okay to feel as if you want to give up. I try not to judge myself if I feel this way and I take some time to get back on track.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My vision as an international actress is to raise the awareness about immigrant and international women in US who contribute to the society with their talent, with their culture and their hard work. I am exploring themes such as how are these women navigating their lives while figuring out about their career, relationships and going through cultural changes, yet maintaining their ties to their home countries. And how are they integrating themselves into the American and international community in US.
I’ve played roles of international students going through cultural changes and trying to fit in in America. I’ve portrayed women with different heritage, with different religious, cultural or social beliefs that sets them apart from community they are living in. I’ve explored what happens if there is language barrier, or religious differences that character has, that makes her feel different from people around her. As an international actor, I can relate to many subjects about not having a linear or easy experiences to fit in. My favorite roles are Nina in Seagull, Jessica in Merchant of Venice and Medea in Medea. I’m as well interested in writing and self- producing my own projects. I like personal and character driven stories.
Since I started my training as an actress in US, I’ve been lucky to find my own community of international artists as well as American. I went to acting school at the Stella Adler Studio and then did additional one year training at the HB Studio. And my friends from schools, are people I still keep in touch with. As well as actors I met during auditions or while working in different theatre companies. And same way I kept in touch with directors, writers, stage managers, people I’ve formed strong connections with. And the fact that I had opportunity to work, on amazing projects has to do a lot with having great community of artists around me. They really inspire me to take on this journey. Companies I worked with, TeamTheatre, Rattlestick Theatre, Identity Theatre, DAT Theatre, Heights Players, and more are so open to diversity and creativity. And I feel excited to work on new projects with creators I have not worked with before.
As it goes to challenges, because of how much I love what I do, it just drives me forward and helps me to overcome difficulties. I would say 2020- 2021 was a hard year for me emotionally because of pandemic. However, I was closely in touch with my creative side. I was engaged with writing projects and coming up with ideas with how I could see myself going forward as an artist. I definitely learned that my love for acting and my goals are my driving force. And I learned that I’m not doing this work alone, this is a teamwork.
I want the world to know that I strive for diversity and inclusivity in everything I do as an artist and as a person. I work on the kind of plays that aims to give voice to the voiceless, or to reveal what happens when injustice takes place. I am interested to play roles of people who are bringing good to the society, but as well the ones who are opposing kindness, so I can explore both sides of the story. I think art is a universal language; it brings us together despite differences.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of the first places I would recommend to visit in New York would be Central Park. It’s my favorite place, I would make sure to take a walk in the park with my friend or to rent bikes. Next, I would of course take my friend to a Georgian restaurant, either in Brighton Beach area or in Williamsburg.
And my friends know me as a big museumgoer. I’m always in the exploration of exhibitions or historical sites. So I would definitely plan a trip for us to at least one of many beautiful museums. My favorites are MoMA and Natural History Museum. And after this, as I’m constantly exploring wonderful New York theatre scene, I would recommend to take two days and see both Broadway and an Off Broadway plays. I am sure both experiences would be impressive.
Lastly, I would take my friend for an evening walk on the Brooklyn Bridge for stunning views of the city. If there is more time, then I would suggest taking Staten Island Ferry for views of Statue of Liberty.
If we had more time than a week, we would visit gorgeous neighborhoods, such as Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Lower East Side, Greenwich Village and Little Italy. I would really recommend walking to all those places, as it is best way to experience the views and architecture. And good news is New York is so pedestrian friendly.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m very lucky to know people who make great impact on my life. They let me know what is possible for me and encourage me to go for my dreams. My family and close friends are people I am definitely grateful for.
Besides family, I am fortunate to have trained or worked with great acting teachers and mentors. My teacher, legendary Ron Burrus is always in my thoughts and prayers. I remember his classes at Stella Adler so clearly. He was the first teacher who taught me how important it is to work on imagination and to be in the moment. Without which I could never grow as an actor. I always remember how he shared positivity and uplifting spirit with our class. I learned from him not to judge and I still remember his words to our class “judging is a habit” and “awareness without judgment”.
I am very grateful for my business coach Valorie Hubbard, who helped me tremendously to gain trust in myself as an actor and as a person. I met her after I graduated from acting school. She is teaching actors about power of choice and that we can choose our own path and be in charge of our own career. I’m learning so much form her about how to best represent myself as an actor, how to Pitch, how to define my brand, how to do reach outs to industry professionals. I continuously train with Actor’s Fast Track organization, where she is teaching, so I can develop skills in support of my career. And I’m discovering realm of possibilities and how to have courage to follow my path as an actress.
I want to make sure that I honor my mentor from Georgia as well. When I did my college years in Georgian University of Theatre and Film, that’s exactly when I first started to approach my work on a professional level. My teacher back than Mr. Gia Tchubabria was my tireless supporter. He always encouraged me to believe in my talent as an artist. I would do writing exercises for his class, which taught me huge appreciation for playwrights and writers. He introduced our class to classical music, paintings and poetry. Which later on turned out to be very helpful for my character work. He would inspire our class to always be curious. And I try to keep that curiosity in everything I do.
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