Veronika Slowikowska: “Be kind and good to work with”

Be kind and good to work with. Show up on time, come prepared, be positive. People want to work with pleasant hard-working people. I had the pleasure of interviewing Actress/Singer Veronika Slowikowska. Known for her recurring role in FX’s hit comedy-horror series “What We Do In The Shadows,” Veronika Slowikowska is on the rise as […]

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Be kind and good to work with. Show up on time, come prepared, be positive. People want to work with pleasant hard-working people.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Actress/Singer Veronika Slowikowska.

Known for her recurring role in FX’s hit comedy-horror series “What We Do In The Shadows,” Veronika Slowikowska is on the rise as she is set to star in the upcoming drama series “Becoming Alex,” scheduled to debut next year on The Heartland Network, and multiple streaming services worldwide.

Born in Poland and growing up in Barrie, a city just over 50 miles north of Toronto, Veronika Slowikowska always had an affinity for music. With the support of her Polish immigrant parents, Slowikowska began studying singing and acting early on, ultimately joining the Ontario Children’s Choir where she excelled with her distinctive vocals and love of music. She went on to enroll at Randolph College for the Performing Arts as well as Second City Conservatory where she showed her chops at improv and comedy. After graduating in 2015, she starred in such productions as “Spring Awakenings,” “Footloose,” “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and many others.

Slowikowska caught the eye of casting directors landing her feature roles in Discovery ID’s crime docuseries “See No Evil,” Netflix’s “Degrassi: Next Class,” along with a series of short films before arriving on FX’s highly-rated comedy/horror series “What We Do In The Shadows.”

Today, the youthful artist is taking on the demanding role as the lead in “Becoming Alex,” a new series debuting on The Heartland Network next year where she portrays Alex Russell, a young singer struggling with the success and challenges of an ever-changing music industry along with her personal struggles and growth. With her innate ability to embody unique on-screen personalities, Slowikowska is at home in the challenging role that explores her dramatic side along with her musical sensibilities and creates a believable character full of heart and conviction.

Even as she prepares to take on the role of Alex, the talented actress has been busy recording music for her debut album from the series — the culmination of a life-long dream that is finally coming to fruition. Teaming up with acclaimed music producer Joel Wertman, who’s worked with Bush, Goo Goo Dolls, No Doubt and many others, and his son Shane PW, Slowikowska is recording a collection of songs that blend her passion for rock, pop, rhythm and blues.

The album, which remains untitled, is set for release next year, just ahead of the debut of the series “Becoming Alex.” Plans to release her first single are currently underway, with a second single waiting in the wings from the multi-faceted artist.

To learn more, please visit her IMDB page here or follow her on Instagram at @veronika_iscool.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Thanks for having me! I grew up in Barrie, a smaller town in Northern Ontario. My parents immigrated to Canada from Poland five years before I was born so I had both, a Canadian and Polish influence growing up. In fact, I didn’t speak English until I went to preschool. My parents have always been into pop culture so they’d show me movies like Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” — even if I wasn’t old enough to understand.

Growing up my dad would listen to King Crimson, Genesis, Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell. The list goes on forever, so music would always be playing around the house. I was extremely shy as a kid so it was a bit strange when I asked to take singing lessons or theatre classes at the local YMCA, but performing was always in me, no matter how shy I was. When I got to high school I would sing at school assemblies and play sports and go to parties. Normal kid stuff too. Then I moved to Toronto when I was 17 for performance arts college.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I remember this home video where I’m 3 years old, singing Spice Girls into a spoon, performing for my parents. I think that was my first ever show and self-produced of course. And “lover” from “If You Want To Be My Lover” was my first English word. Thanks, Spice Girls. So yeah, it’s always been about music from day one for me.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I don’t know if this is interesting, but it’s one of my funniest memories. I remember in high school I was a part of a community theatre production of “Footloose” and my best friend was playing Ren, the lead. In one show we were onstage together and he was supposed to sing his big solo number and completely forgot the words. He started making up lyrics and I was shaking, turning bright red, trying not to laugh. Finally, when we both ran off we had to lay down from laughing so hard. It’s moments like that that make me love performing too, messing up and the thrill of getting out of it.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’ve made so many mistakes. Still do. Forgetting lines or caring about my appearance way too much. I’m an improviser here in Toronto and I think that always helps. Knowing I can get my way out of a scene or knowing I have my scene partners back. Also, a big lesson I learned is that people are usually thinking about themselves, so don’t stress. Enjoy and do good work!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’ve recently landed the lead role of Alex in “Becoming Alex,” a new series on The Heartland Network. It’s a show about a young musician moving from L.A. to a small town around Nashville with her single mom. She navigates life and growing up while falling in love with music and using that as her biggest outlet. It’s my first series lead and the show has a ton of incredible music. We’ve been recording and releasing some of the music already, so go stream “So Many Lies” today! We’re set to shoot in March and should be out shortly after.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Diversity is important in all aspects of culture, but especially in the entertainment industry because that’s our window to representation. It’s crucial to see everybody represented, but especially BIPOC or Black, Indigenous, people of color, who are creators and artists, as they have been historically underrepresented. Now more than ever it’s important to lift their voices up. The entertainment industry has the power to mirror society and influence the world so if we constantly hear from one usually privileged voice we ultimately suffer. A show I loved that I recently watched was “This Will Destroy You,” created by and starring Black creator Michaela Coel. The show explores themes of sexual assault, racism, feminism and sexuality all while being hilarious. The world needed this show. And if you’re in Canada, check out “Tall Boys” on CBC! It’s a Canadian sketch comedy show starring four BIPOC creators (who happen to be my friends).

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share astory or example for each.

Five things I wish someone told me when I first started are:

1.Work hard. I believe luck is a factor as well, being in the right place at the right time but you haveto be ready when luck comes around. When I got the audition for “What We Do In The Shadows,” sure it was luck that they were filming in Toronto and I was a local actor, but it was my skill and ability to improvise that ultimately got me the role. Be ready when luck comes around!

2.Be kind and good to work with. Show up on time, come prepared, be positive. People want to work with pleasant hard-working people.

3.This one many people told me but I didn’t believe it: It will take 200 auditions to book one job. That’s the way it goes. Get comfortable auditioning because that’s most of the job.

4.Make your own stuff! This one’s a big one. For the longest time I was waiting around for auditions and perfect parts, but it wasn’t until I started writing and performing my own sketches and shorts that made me fully happy. Get creative!

5.This one kind of ties in with number 4. When I finally started creating my own work and producing and performing in shows five nights a week, that’s when I finally started to work. I had other things going on in my life other than auditioning. I was experiencing life, making friends and performing and that’s when I started to care less. But that helped, I no longer had this desperation to book a job to make me happy. I was happy already and my career was moving along because of the things I did on my own. Then booking jobs and being on set became easier too because I believed in myself.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I feel like I’ll start repeating myself at this point but, make your own stuff. Write, shoot, create, make dumb videos and get to know yourself and what makes you happy. Keep being a person and find happiness in other places. You are a person of enormous influence.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Huge question. As I’m answering this, I wish I was marching in Poland with my cousins for abortion rights and women’s rights. I can’t help but feel incredibly sad and heavy when I hear how we’re going back in time in a way. I think this pandemic has shown us how much changing the world really needs, we can’t go back to “normal.” I would encourage people to think of others, act selflessly and lead with love. None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Yeah. I mean my experience on “What We Do In The Shadows” was really amazing. Working with some of my idols and learning first hand how they achieved their own successes was huge. Being on set with kind, down to earth, hilarious people and learning that it’s really all possible as long as you work hard.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I don’t know where this comes from or what the exact quote is, but it would be “go a hundred percent.” I think you’re cheating yourself if you don’t leave it all on the table. I used to think “everything’s been done” or “what if I embarrass myself” But I think you can turn those insecure thoughts into “okay well this person will never see me again so might as well leave it all here” or “what would Beyonce do?” well she would give it all. I don’t know if that makes sense but I live by that and helps me when I’m feeling nervous or if I feel bad.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Right now I’m totally crushing on Polish actor Maciej Musiałowski. He’s this incredibly talented actor and musician who’s also a great human being and activist. I recently watched him in a Jan Komasa’s film “The Hater” and absolutely loved him in it. Also BTS! I’m a huge fan of their work ethic and what they do for the world. I would love to sit down and ask them how they manage their time, ha ha!

How can our readers follow you online?

Follow my music Instagram account @thisis_veronika or my Instagram personal/comedy account @veronika_iscool. This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!

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