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Kristen Ross: From Homer to Hollywood

How hard is it to break in “the biz” even though when you already have a career in Europe? Actress Kristen Ross goes on her own personal Odyssey.

When most English speaking actresses think of hitting the big time, one place and one place only usually comes to mind – Hollywood. So it seems a bit more than a bit remarkable that anyone fitting the above description would choose first to go in the opposite direction. But as The Greek Reporter found out today, actress Kristen Ross is just one such person.

“I always take the most difficult road possible. Always”, the actress laughs. Growing up in Canada with her Estonian born mother as a child, the actress always felt drawn to European art and cinema. She began her acting career doing theater, television and independent films in Toronto, athough she always dreamed of working professionally in Europe. She admits however that she “never dreamt” one day she’d wind up in Greece.

After studying Italian cinema and filmmaking in Italy a few years ago she traveled to Greece for the first time and fell in love with the country. A couple of years and many allegedly sleepless nights later she finally made the decision to relocate. “I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do there”? But fate intervened and just five short weeks later she was discovered at a party by a talent agent from Athens who began representing her. “I couldn’t believe that I was living in the country I loved, doing what I loved. It was a dream come true”, she muses.

In the beginning, not knowing any Greek, she worked mostly in television advertising. “At one point I literally was representing everything from baby formula to credit cards. My friend George called me up one day and was like, I am so tired of turning on my TV and seeing you”!

Eventually, as she learned the language she began playing in television. Her first ‘big break’ was in the highly successful dramatic series Mazi Sou, where she played the second wife of a sports coach who finds himself embroiled in a political scandal when his daughter goes missing. It was nothing short of an extraordinary success considering she won the role after only being in the country for a year and a half. “It was excruciatingly difficult. I was still doing lines phoneticaly at the time”, she shakes her head. Persistence paid off in the long run though and soon more television roles followed as well as film work.

If it seems strange then that an actress who fought so hard to stay in Greece now has her sights set on Hollywood, don’t forget that this is someone who enjoys taking the road less traveled. “I wouldn’t trade my years in Greece for anything. Working in a foreign country as an artist not only made me tougher, it made me more confident and interesting as a performer. I’m far more fearless now than I was before that experience”.

When I ask her what she wants to do now, the answer is surprising. As well as pursuing her main passion which is film work, she tells me she’s aching to return to the stage. After so many years unable to do theater while in Greece because of the language barrier she is keen to return to “creaky floorboards and curtain calls”. She also alludes to a somewhat mysterious side project, a script she’s written herself which takes place both in Greece and in America. She maintains that she’s been “fishing around” trying to get financing for the project but that it’s not her number one priority right now.

Is it difficult to make the transition from Europe to Hollywood? “It’s one hundred and eighty degrees opposite of working in Greece. There it’s a bit like guerilla filmmaking! And performing in a foreign language is wonderful but it’s so difficult to get to the heart of the material”. Difficult it may have been but it certainly seems to us like this actress is ready for her next big role.

“I have a dear friend in Athens who always says I remind him of Odysseus. Constantly on an adventure”. So from Canada to Greece and now Hollywood, we’ll definitely be watching to see what this interesting actress does next. “Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be great”.

Not even Homer could argue with that.

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