interviews standa merhout YELENA DEYNEKO
April 4, 2017
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You are only 19 and have been acting professionally since you were 12(). Is this what you want to continue doing for your career?

STEFANIA LaVIE OWEN: I love acting so much and I’m extremely passionate about it and I will continue to pursue acting until I’m not passionate anymore. I would like to think that I’ll always be passionate about it, but you never know.

If not acting, what?

SO: I love creating things. I would love to create a business, write scripts, direct and I would also love to go to college. It’s my goal to do it all!

How did you first become an actress?

SO: My sisters and I grew up dancing on stage because my mom is a dance teacher so I’ve always loved performing. We signed up to an agency for fun and everything happened by accident. My sister ended up doing a film and then I got a part in the Lovely Bones and it just spiraled from there.

Who are your inspirations?

SO: Because the Lovely Boness was the first film I did i was mesmerized by Saoirse Ronan and still am. I also love the film Let the Right one in. That movie really inspired me to pursue acting.

Does your family play a big role in your career?

SO: Definitely. They are the most amazing people to have around me. They’re support and love has led me to where I am today. I wouldn’t be here without them.

Tell us about your family?

SO: I have an older and a younger sister who are my best friends, role models and who I turn to for advice. And my mom and dad are the most loving and awesome people who I look up to so much. We tell each other everything and love being together. The hardest part about living in New York is being so far away from them.

Their expectations?

SO: They don’t have any expectations of what I should be doing and have never pushed me to do anything. My family has supported me in following my dreams.

You have had some amazing roles in your career so far. What are your favorite and most challenging thus far and why?

SO: I’ve loved every role for different reasons. The Carrie Diaries was a lot of fun because we were and still are like family and playing a rebel was exciting. My experience on Coming Through the Rye was special because Alex Wolff and I became best friends and working with the director Jim Sadwith was amazing and I learned a lot. Working with Katie Holmes on All We Had was life changing and I became close with all the cast members too. Working on Chance was a dream because Hugh Laurie was so inspiring. Rehearsals for the play “Yen” have been so challenging and exciting and I’m in love with the character I get to play. I also love the people I’m spending time with every day. I can’t choose!

Is there a character or a story that you would want to turn into a movie or play and star in it?

SO: My Mom read the book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamilo to me and my sisters when we were young. We laughed and cried and wouldn’t let Mom put the book down. I would love to bring that book to life.

Have you played in theater? Or only movies? If so what are the differences for you?

SO: I’m working on my first play this winter here in New York. It’s very different to film and Tv. You’re on your feet constantly and it’s more about rehearsals. Instead of having to get one good take on camera you have to be able to live through your characters beginning middle and end every day for 3 months.

What should we be on the lookout for from you in the upcoming year?

SO: I’m really excited about the play I’m working on called “Yen”. We’re playing at the Lucille Lortel theater.

You seem to be very confident, and know what you want, was it always like that?

SO: We all go through our ups and downs and there were definitely moments when I lacked confidence. I’m very lucky to have such a supportive family and group of friends that bring me back up when I’m in these moments of doubt.

To those who don’t know you, how would you describe your character?

SO: I love to be around people and to learn about their stories. It makes me so happy and excited about life.

What are the things you most proud of and what are the things that need some work to improve ?

SO: I’m most proud of my family and friends and the genuine relationships I have with them. I need to improve on my indecisiveness. I’m really good at making big decisions like moving away from home or booking a flight to the other side of the world, but when it comes to picking a restaurant, choosing food on a menu or shopping for clothes and shoes, I’m terrible at making a decision!

You can now live on your own, do you feel you are ready for this next adult chapter?

SO: As soon as I graduated high school I moved from New Zealand to California. I don’t know if I was “ready” for it, but that’s what makes it exciting. I figured it out as I went and had supportive people around me who encouraged me to keep going. What are the major changes? From the beginning to the end of 2016 I feel like I’ve changed a lot. I went through so many new things. Moving away from New Zealand, leaving my family, moving to San Francisco, living alone, having to meet people on my own accord, traveling Europe, moving to New York. It has been an insane year and I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself and realized what makes me happy.

Why New York City?!

SO: NY is my favorite city in the world. Many of the projects I’ve been a part have been filmed in Ny so I feel like I partly grew up here. It feels very familiar, I have amazing friends here and I love the energy. How is life here different and similar from your hometown? New Zelaand is much more slow paced and you’re surrounded by rolling hills, horses, cows, sheep, deer and alpacas. It’s  so beautifully natural, untouched and majestic. It couldn’t be more different to New York that way. A similarity is that the people in both places are no BS!

What’s your motto or life advice that you live by?

SO: Surround yourself with positive people that lift you up and don’t take life too seriously.

Who was your role model as a child and how does it help in you in building your character?

SO: As a kid I was obsessed with Barney the dinosaur. He was so important to me that he even came to my 4th birthday party… that “I love you” song at the end of every episode is pretty inspiring.

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