Veronika Dash is a wicked smart, super down-to-earth, multi-talented bombshell. We here at Luna Luna love to see awesome women do awesome things. Not to mention, her aesthetic gets into the Monroe category, which is always uber glamorous. This year, Dash has auditioned for major blockbuster films, worked on a comedy and attended the Montreal Comedy Festival–among many other things. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from USC, landed a role in Cadillac Records with Mos Def and worked along Justin Long (yum). Plus, she’s done tons of theatre and modeling–and she’s even won awards for her poetry. Be still, our hearts.
Do you think it’s difficult to be a woman in the arts?
Growing up in New York, I consider myself a pretty strong woman. Being fearless, confident, and unapologetic for who you are is necessary to not only ‘fit’ into, but also to survive the performance world. Artists are encouraged to follow their dream, but always have a Plan B to fall back on; that may be practical, but for me it seems like a distraction or an easy way out. I have an unwavering persistence to follow Plan A with no excuses or back-ups. I know what I want and I chase after it even if it seems damn near impossible at times.
Overall, I think women have made tremendous progress in the arts, but there is always a lingering stigma attached to being a female, especially when you step foot onto a set primarily dominated by a crew of men. As a woman, you always feel like you have to prove yourself beyond just your ‘looks.’ That being said, I think it’s a great time to be a woman in this industry because of all the doors that have opened in the recent past. There has been an incredible rise in success with female writers, directors, producers and comedians alike. It’s refreshing to see a film like Bridesmaids star an all female cast and receive such great recognition. I would love see more of that in the future; I’m all about the girl power.
Who or what are your aesthetic & fashion influences?
First and foremost, I grew up inspired by mother who possesses a great sense of fashion, grace, and glamour. She always looks chic and effortlessly put-together and definitely influenced making fashion a big part of my life.
Being of European descent, I had a natural inclination to fall in love with the fashion capitals of the world: Milan, Paris, London. Traveling, which is one of my hobbies, definitely influences how my style changes. I remember being 16 walking down the streets of Milan and feeling like I walking through a VOGUE shoot. That trip made me realize I didn’t have to dress exactly like all my friends were, fashion was a freedom of self-expression and it can be daring and bold.
On an aesthetic level, the artsy part of me is interested and attracted to things that are unique; things you may not always find beautiful from the first glance. My surroundings influence me; the city I’m in, the day of the week, my overall mood. One day I’m dressed like modern-day hippie and the next I’m decked out in pink from head to toe. My roommate always makes fun of me saying I always look like I’m going to a photo-shoot when I leave the house, but in reality I find an excuse to play dress-up on a daily basis.
The pin-up girl look is a both a blessing and a curse. It took me quite some time to accept that I would never be supermodel thin no matter how many fad diets I tried. Once I stopped trying to fit myself into a mold and accepted my appearance, that was when my confidence soared and I was able to wear things that were flattering to my body type. It’s funny because growing up I was embarrassed by my chest size and would always slouch so it didn’t look like I was ‘showing off,’ then I realized I should embrace what I was given and not apologize for it. So my secret is I have no secret: just self-acceptance, self-love and self-confidence.
If you could work with anyone, who would it be?
When I was 16, I started making a list of actors and directors I aspired to work with and the list has become quite extensive. I can’t see being on set with someone like Scorsese anything short of a life-changing experience. Then there’s Coppola, Woody Allen, Fincher, Nolan, Aronofsky, Spielberg…the list just goes on. In terms of acting alongside someone, DiCaprio & Meryl Streep are definitely on top of that Bucket List. I want to work with people who inspire me to be a better artist; when you get that opportunity to walk on set and work with someone you look up to, any struggle you may have had to reach that exact moment finally feels worth it. And that’s the best feeling.
What do you think of the present state of cinema?
I’ll start with saying that I love the experience of actually going to the movies and feeling that catharsis; it’s what sparked my love for acting to begin with. I don’t think that can ever be replaced. Yet, I think everyone can agree that the present state of cinema is certainly not what it used to be. There’s a reason why classics are still regarded with such high esteem. Classics have substance, they’re not just movies about spring break. They have universal appeal to them and tell stories touching upon the human condition that stand the test of time. They create iconic characters that we cheer for, relate to, and fall in love with.
The industry now is so saturated with different mediums that it’s difficult to find films that have heart. It seems like anyone with a camera can consider themselves a filmmaker. On one hand, it’s fantastic because we are giving young filmmakers a voice and a chance who may not have one otherwise. But on the other hand, it seems to contribute to the influx of generic products appealing to the masses. One of the reasons I appreciate independent films is that aren’t afraid to think outside the box.
What are your plans or goals for the future?
I would like to continue to grow as an artist, explore film roles beyond the ones I am typecast as, and expand my portfolio with talent I work with. I would like to work on Broadway; play Blanche DuBois in A Street Car Desire. Multifaceted, intricate female characters appeal to me; the women that seem so surface from first glance, but when you dig deeper you uncover these 3-dimensional, deeply misunderstood flawed human beings.
I aspire to write a few screenplays, produce my own projects and eventually direct a film or two. I would love to publish a book of poetry, which has always been a love of mine, and maybe even turn some of them into songs. The list is endless really.