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ACTOR JENEFFA SOLDATIC talks about her favorite books

It would be hard to find someone more dedicated to acting than Jeneffa Soldatic. Even though she couldn't afford the program at the Actors Studio Drama School, Jeneffa Soldatic gambled on getting a scholarship at the prestigious acting school and headed for New York. The school awarded her a scholarship and Jeneffa Soldatic went on to complete the three year Master of Fine Arts program. Then she auditioned for membership of the elite Actors Studio, and succeeded at her first audition. To top it all off she joined a band that supported David Bowie on his North American tour.

READERSVOICE.COM: Did you go to New York with the specific intention of getting into the Actors Studio?
JS: I used to live here and went to HB Studios (an acting school -ed), then burnt myself out partying like a rock star. So I went back home (to Sydney), and auditioned for NIDA (the National Institute of Dramatic Arts).
I made it to the final round, and then the producers of the show “Drama School” called me to explain that this year’s intake would be documented on film as a co- production with the BBC. But I didn’t want to be taped…I believe that drama school is where you go to learn and fail so that you can be your best in the professional world. Having a film crew around every day eliminated my margin for error, which is what I was counting on.
I understood what I lacked in my abilities: to be vulnerable as a performer; and the only place that had a reputation for actors with a strong emotional range was the Actors Studio. So I went back to NYC to audition for the master program at the Actors Studio Drama School.
I had no idea of how I could afford it, but I remembered someone telling me that if they liked you enough they would pay for you.

I went into the audition with the administration knowing that I couldn’t afford it, but on the premise of “just audition and we’ll see”. It worked. The school gave me a substantial scholarship, but it was never quite enough. However, every year as my work and commitment grew, so too did my scholarship.
RV: How long have you been in New York?

JS: In total I have been in NYC (New York City) for 6 1/2 years.

RV: What are some of your favorite books of all time?
JS: The Alchemist, The Da Vinci Code, Veronika Decides to Die, Me Talk Pretty One Day, The Poisonwood Bible; Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson- but there are many more. I love to read… Not to mention plays: I love Miss Julie and the Australian play Wolf Lullaby.
RV: Can you talk about H.B. Studios where you first went to in New York?
JS: It is an acting school, Herbert Bergdorf Studios, in NYC. It is a relaxed school, where you can choose your schedule.

If you want to come to NYC and do classes it is the best as it is the cheapest, and they accept international students, so you can have a student visa, and you have to do a minimum of 6 classes a week, which is less than 10 hours per week. Much more relaxed than my MFA program (Master of Fine Arts at the Actors Studio Drama School), and it is the luck of the draw with the teachers. Some are amazing like Salewm Ludwig (a founding member of the Actors Studio).
RV: What’s the difference between the Actors Studio and the school?
JS: The Actors Studio is separate from the school. The school (where the show Inside the Actors Studio is taped) is affiliated with the Studio, and all the acting teachers are members of the Studio.
To be admitted to the studio there is a rigorous audition process that lasts for a couple of rounds, but if you graduate from the three year MFA program at the school you are at the final stage, a ‘working finalist”, and you have only one audition to pass, and two attempts to pass it to get into the Studio. I was accepted into the Studio on my first final audition.