Nina Arianda: Venus in Fur
Friday, June 01, 2012
Nina Arianda is the it-girl on Broadway — she’s nominated for a Tony for her performance in David Ives’ comedy Venus In Fur. The show is a play within a play: a writer has adapted an erotic novel for the stage, and he’s having a hell of a time casting the lead. Enter Vanda: a sexy, sly actress who is by turns sultry and bombastic, and pretty much takes over the show.
Playing a tenacious actress comes naturally. “Failure is not an option,” she tells Kurt Andersen. “There are too many people who have killed themselves to help me — parents, teachers, coaches — and it would be a real shame if I didn’t do 100% of what I could.”
Arianda grew up in New Jersey and remembers her first performance at age 3: she recited a patriotic poem in Ukrainian to a packed house of Ukrainians. “We practiced everything at home: the words, entrance and exit, curtseying,” she says. “The one thing we didn’t practice was receiving applause, which was mind-blowing to me. My curtsying got out of hand.”