We had the good fortune of connecting with Elena Nicorici and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Elena, the decisions we make often shape our story in profound ways. What was one of the most difficult decisions you’ve had to make?
I think, to this day, the most difficult decision I’ve ever made in my life was to say goodbye to my home country Moldova and start building a new life in the United States. For a long time I questioned if it was the best decision, but after 10 years I can say that this country gave me a lot in terms of life lessons for which I am grateful. It matured me, it gave me courage to persevere and brought me down to earth. The wonderful people I met along the way, the beautiful experiences I had and even the hardships I had to go through made the journey worthwhile. I have discovered many things about myself that I didn’t even suspect I had it in me. Like acting (which I wanted to do since I saw my first play) or painting or singing or writing. It’s only when you take possession of your life, that you learn about the treasures stored in your heart.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It was a beautiful evening in May. A 15 year-old me was seeing her first play in the big city. It was Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Lady Montague was lit only from above. Her face was in anguish, she was pouring her heart out. I was sitting in the second row and her eyes were set on me. I was a little uncomfortable but drawn to her at the same time. I felt pulled on the stage, I felt being part of the scene. Something unexplainable happened in my heart in that moment. I could see she lived on stage, not just act it. When I came out, I said to myself – I want to be capable to do that. And that’s how it started – the acting “bug”. But it took some years to really have that courage to do it.

My serious pursuing of acting started in 2016 with my first class with Bobby, my acting teacher. From zero experience and knowledge of acting, he helped me understand, break down and live every monologue and scene I brought in class to work on.

I started going to auditions after a few months, I got a couple of gigs – a play and a few student films, while still working as a waitress. I was excited! I was doing it – the acting!

2018 was the year of plays for me. My husband and I decided to produce plays that we love. So, with a couple of friends who are also eager actors, put on “God of Carnage”, “Time Stands Still”, and “The House of Yes”. The whole process of rehearsing, working on the characters, coming up with the costumes, bringing furniture from home or finding some on the street, props, putting everything together, building the set – was hard and rewarding at the same time. I have the most beautiful memories of making these plays happen.

During this time I did other small projects and films, but always came back to the stage because it’s my first love. Having that immediate response from the audience is irreplaceable. At least for me.

The pandemic has thrown off some of my plans. I was in rehearsals to direct a play, but oh well…sometimes life throws you a curve. I hope to take up the project again very soon.

In this period of staying low, gave me the opportunity to find other artistic realms to cultivate my soul.

Writing has always been part of my life. I think I was 14 when I started seriously to write poetry. I still do to this day. I have high hopes to put together a collection of poems that I wrote over the years and publish them in one book.
I found myself in the last 2 years enjoying writing scripts. I have 4 under my belt and they are in deep, arduous editing process.

Painting has filled my house with lots of color. With so much free time on my hands, I found myself to be painting a couple of canvases a day. Last year, on Christmas I actually painted 50 Christmas cards for family and friends and sent them away. And in a way, painting has helped me in my acting. The way you choose the right colors, the right shades and give life to a painting. It’s basically the same process with a character – you want to color your roles with the right shade of red or blue or yellow.

Through painting and also through my upbringing, I found my way into Byzantine art – iconography. It’s almost like I want to find out what I am capable of, so here I am taking up classes with a local iconographer, Marina who is very gifted. It’s an art that requires of you patience and humility. At the moment, I am in the process of starting my first icon – fingers crossed.

Since I was little, I’ve always been singing – in the school choir or just humming around the house. Singing has always brought me joy and by no means am I some great voice, but I can pull some notes. I am thankful to have a good vocal teacher who encourages me to keep on working and getting better. I thank her for encouraging me to become part of my church choir. I come home on Sunday exhausted from singing for 2 hours, but I am the happiest person for doing that.

I believe that as an actor you have to be interested in other arts, because learning other artistic skills compliments the acting craft. We have to be thirsty to learn, to read, to discover, to research, to cultivate our souls, to bring beauty because as Dostoevsky said “Beauty will save the world”.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First, I will take them to my church in Silverlake. It’s a beautiful small church, a hidden gem build in 1923. It had such notable parish members like Sergei Rachmaninoff and Leonid Kinskey who played Sascha in the movie Casablanca. Natalie Wood had her wedding there in 1969 to Richard Gregson. Of course, I love to have my friends over and feed them, because I love cooking, but if I am to take them out – there are a couple of places we would go to. The Waffle on Sunset Blvd serves amazing Strawberry Cheesecake Waffles. Cassell’s Hamburgers on Normandie in Koreatown made me love burgers, which I never did before – so that’s definitely a place to go to. Taking a stroll in Larchmont Village and enjoy a burrito at Gracias Madre. Paradise Beach Cove Cafe in Malibu has a view worth your money.

Taking a hike up to Griffith Park and of course enjoying one of their shows. And of course LACMA museum.

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?
Oh, I don’t even know where to start.

My husband Ian Michaels, who is an amazing actor and musical genius, encouraged from the start to tap into my creativity and pursue it with faith and determination.

My acting teacher and mentor, Robert F. Lyons, who is a very good actor himself, took me under his wing and taught me the goods of the acting craft. He is the best kept secret of Los Angeles, something he doesn’t like to be called. But it is true – he is a dedicated teacher who genuinely wants to share his knowledge of acting which is GOLD.

My singing teacher, Emily Thebaut who helps me every week to find my voice.

My friends, especially Jessica (she’s been such a trooper) who put up with my husband and me to perform plays on crazy schedules with 3-4 people in the audience at times.

My church community at the Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox-Christian Cathedral who made feel welcome from the first moment I stepped on the grounds of the church.

My cousin Gloria, who from a long distance managed to lift up my spirits whenever I was down with her wonderful wit.

And I want to thank two of the most important people who I don’t thank enough – my parents. I love you, Mom and Dad.

Website: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm10234366/

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