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Anna Myrha Takes Center Stage
by Eleni Kostopoulos
In a cut-throat world of beautiful, capable people, what makes one actress stand out from the rest? For exotic beauty Anna Myrha, it takes a lot more than mere talent to reach the top; hard work is the name of the game.
Born in England and raised in the south coast of Athens, Myrha came to the States roughly five years ago to fervently pursue her acting aspirations. After obtaining an MFA from The Actor’s Studio at Pace University in New York City, her alluring and adaptable appeal attracted a number of versatile roles in theater, television and film. “When I came here, I didn’t really know my place, but it was really interesting to see how other people perceived me and how the Mediterranean ‘look’ is interpreted in American culture,” Myrha told NEO Magazine. “It’s been a great learning experience to explore different cultures.”
Most recently, Myrha played a feisty Colombian in a comedic pilot called “Truthfully Speaking”, which she describes as a cross between “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Office”. She was also cast in a more sentimental role as a Jewish mother during the Holocaust in a movie titled, “If These Trees Could Talk”, which she wrapped up shooting several weeks ago. “It’s a really beautiful story about atonement and love,” said Myrha about the film, set to be released in 2014.
Further demonstrating her wildly adaptable guise, Myrha recently starred as Fatima Chase, an Iranian neuroscience professor, who helps one of her students overcome the brutal death of his father through the process of lucid dreaming in the sci-fi melodrama, “Paradox Theory”. “What I love most about acting is working with people who are so creative and working within a dynamic, brilliant, collaborative team,” she said. “Everybody here [in New York] is so talented. Talent alone will not get you anywhere. You really must be ready when an opportunity presents itself, by working hard and training daily. You create your own luck.”
Myrha embarked on her acting journey at just 15, when she attended acting school in Greece, following high school. When she realized that an imperative sense of creativity was missing in her life, and after visiting the States several times, Myrha decided to make New York City her new home. Once she settled and was accepted by Pace University, she attended acting sessions moderated by A-listers like Ellen Bernstein and Alec Baldwin, for what she called “a life changing experience.”
Her transition to New York wasn’t a completely easy one, and making adjustments was a necessary part of the journey. “I faced a lot of challenges when I came here,” she said. “The most basic challenges consisted of adapting to the fast-paced New York City mentality. You have to be the best you can be because you’re dealing with the best in the world in all aspects. Though I initially considered this difficult, it became a really good thing after a while, pushing me to work harder and striving to be the best I can be; that’s when the habit becomes excellence.”
After having boasted her acting skills through various mediums, Myrha found her true calling in television. “Since I graduated, I’ve done some plays, including off-Broadway productions, and for the past few months, I’ve become really focused on television, which I am so passionate about,” Myrha said. “There’s something so immediate about television shows like ‘Homeland’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ that serve as a direct means of reaching out to people.”
Her ideal role, however, is one that reflects a complex, tenacious woman. “My dream part is a femme fetal action hero, maybe a comic book character, or someone from a fairy tale, or mythology; a strong woman, who is not afraid to fight, but is also vulnerable and susceptible to love, from a world we are not familiar with,” said Myrha. “I’d want to create the character and that world from my imagination, from scratch, without the boundaries of what today’s society is and looks like.”
She hopes to eventually be part of a more relatable production that depicts newsworthy issues and is relevant to current events. “In theater, my dream part is Esmeralda from Tennessee Williams’ ‘Camino Real’, which is also my favorite play and hasn’t been done in almost 60 years! I would love to see that on Broadway and the Epidaurus ancient theater in Greece,” she added.
Though Myrha’s love affair with New York remains, she said she stays connected with family and friends in Greece by visiting frequently. Along with her loved ones, she misses being around the easily accessible beaches and especially, the authentic Mediterranean food. Her grandmothers hail from Asia Minor, what is now the coast of Turkey, but were thrown out during the massacres. Her grandfathers were from Lesvos and Crete.
Though she doesn’t consider herself successful by the standard definition, Myrha said she’s proud of pursuing her goals and withstanding obstacles she’s encountered along the way. “My biggest success so far is going after my dreams, even after all the rejections and difficulties,” she said. “The city is very fast-paced and can present difficulties, and if you don’t keep up, you’re going to be left behind. You can never ever give up on your dream, or your calling, or what you feel. As I heard Nicole Kidman recently mention, you need focus on the journey and not on the end-result. Be open to what the journey is going to bring to your life, always be the best you can be and never take things personally. Most importantly, read Cavafy’s poem ‘Ithaca’ and keep that in mind throughout life.”