By Ilona Kauremszky
“Love. Happiness. Life. I don’t have one photo where our smiles aren’t ear to ear,” writes Canadian indie film actress Andrea Stefancikova on her Instagram account shown sharing a blissful embrace with her new hubby Chris Ericksen.
There are plenty of smiles these days.
The starlet whose been on celluloid starring opposite Tarantino bad boy Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs), Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas) alongside acclaimed actresses Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite) and Maia Morgenstern (The Passion of the Christ) to name a few legends married her Prince Charming last summer. Ericksen, a Vancouver native born in Mexico, is the great-great-grandson to the late British gentleman officer Colonel Falkland G.E. Warren, for which the small British Columbia town Falkland is named after.
The next reason for a broad smile is the new home the couple purchased in Vancouver’s leafy East Van neighbourhood in a walkable spot home to a rich community of Italian, Portuguese, Eastern European and Middle Eastern backgrounds, “We’re close to everything,” she says from her new love nest chatting before heading out to her latest gig: teaching.
says the Eastern European actress in that familiar accent heard in movies like Countdown (2016) starring WWE champ Nic Nemeth, Dark Harvest (2016) with Cheech Marin and the E! Network’s The Arrangement opposite Michael Vartan and Josh Henderson.
Over 50 acting roles in a span of 15 years, there’s nothing the talented actress cannot do in a repertoire that’s included comedy, playing the hilarious Greta Dietz in the Hallmark’s Mystery cruise; using hand guns, abductions, getting gagged as a hostage, dancing; and speaking in foreign accents like German, Russian, French, Swedish, and Southern. She’s even stepped in last minute as a stunt double in the fantasy adventure film, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013). Andrea elaborates, “Some of them are short films, videos, TV and narrations.” She also does voice work.
Born in Bratislava, Slovakia the hardworking indie film star who is fluent in four languages (English, Italian, Czech, Slovak) but also acts in Russian and understands French, Spanish and basic German, immigrated to Canada with her family in 1998. “My father is the ancestor of Catherine I of Russia, the second wife of Peter the Great, the Empress of Russia,” a lesser known fact she puts out there to help shed light on her past as she looks to the future.
My perfect day would be when I get up early in the morning and do my morning meditation, freshly squeezed vegetable juice with ginger and turmeric and then if its in the summer I like going for a swim in the ocean or pool but having time to read a good book and do some writing.”
If my husband isn’t working I like going for bicycle rides or motorcycle rides on our Harley. Sometimes it’s nice to have a day where you don’t have to do a lot,” she snickers relaying it’s common to see books by her bedside too. At the moment she’s reading Paula Hawkins “Into the Water,” poetry books, and Keith Richards memoir “Life,” and Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography because, “it’s interesting to read what other people’s lives are like. What their lives were put through and how they become who they are.”
For Andrea, her own life journey has been rife with hurdles. Marred by personal demons involving substance abuse and alcoholism and more recently the diagnosis of depression have been personal topics the blonde vixen openly has discussed on her social media platforms. “It’s more important to share personal stuff now that I am comfortable with everything,” and adds, “There aren’t enough people opening up about their things and views.”
Last December, the 36-year-old posted a selfie Instagram story disclosing her sobriety. “Today is a special day. After 17 years in recovery, I am celebrating 1 year clean and sober. The darkness has vanished and even I see the light in my eyes. I never thought I’d be here, and I won’t lie, it’s so hard, but it’s possible no matter what you have been through. Every day I am grateful for my life, that I have nearly lost a few times, and the support my family, friends, and the fellowship provide. So for all of the lost and broken souls out there who are suffering beyond words, I pray for you and send you my love & light. You can have this too!”
The note on sobriety she describes brimming with a newfound inner-strength and enthusiasm for life is when addicts stop everything and identify the clean time. “I am sober and sobriety does come first so I do work on it every day, as one can never become too confident when it comes to addiction, that’s why we say one day at a time,” she explains, adding she’s known people in the film industry who have died from overdoses.
Actress, writer, model and now producer. This summer Andrea along with two producer friends, Bianca Cervantes and Eric Maran, formed a film production company. The new venture while currently known as Blindpictures will produce up to two indie films a year in an interesting development slate. “It’s creative and fulfilling and takes my passion for story telling to another level,” she smiles, enthused on the future film prospects.
Preferred Magazine sat down with the indie starlet for an exclusive interview.
IK: Congratulations on the new production company. Where do you see this in the marketplace?
AS: You know what’s happening in film. We are saturated with films and television but a lot of it is still meaningless. There is nothing wrong with pure entertainment, it serves its purpose, but the audience strives for more depth. We have been carefully examining what has been overdone to help us focus on what has not been showcased enough and in its true light. We want the audience to have an experience, to be affected by the story and the relatable characters in it, who are not necessarily portrayed by famous actors where we already know what to expect but rather actors who are less known thus far more intriguing and just as good. We want our audience to think and talk about our films and remember them as something authentic and impactful.
IK: You put so much of yourself on Instagram. Why?
AS: Do I really or does it only seem that way? It is still a social platform and I am a public persona. I have been through a lot and I know a lot of people. Now I also teach kids and teens so I would like to inspire even more. People come to me with their troubles often for advice. It’s always been like that even when I had problems and people didn’t know they would come to me and they would trust me. If I’m able to help people and I realize I am, I want to put it out there. I’m really working on being able to help people more in many ways. I made a lot of mistakes that I have learned from and I am not shy to admit to them. I have worked hard on getting to where I am now. I would like to pass on the experience and knowledge. There is beauty and love in it and I love all people, myself included.
IK: Teaching is certainly one of them.
AS: Yes, definitely. Other than the technique and what’s been mentioned earlier, I would like to imprint in the young brains the importance of joy and fulfillment in what they do and allow them to be who they are, own it and be proud of it. Every single one of them is special and that is why it is a waste of time and energy to compare yourself to someone else. We all have a different trajectory through life and a luck that shows up at times that we cannot exactly plan. I would like them to find freedom within themselves and that will later transfer into their work. Actors are human beings, so they need to live life, and mature to gain the necessary depth.
IK: Tell us about a couple of your upcoming films.
AS: I really really can’t wait for people to see the film Velvet. There is nothing like it that has come out of Canada. It’s an authentic, mixed genre gem, with life-like performances, beautiful colour-coordinated cinematography, and a stunning original soundtrack. It has violence but it also is art house poetic which makes it interesting and magnetic. Velvet being an indie film, the post production process has been longer than anticipated but the film will be ready to enter festivals in January.
IK: Describe your character in Velvet.
AS: I play Velvet. When I was filming this I was not in the best place in my personal life but it was the best thing I had going for myself at that moment. It took me out of my problems as I fully immersed myself into the character. It was great that we shot these long days for a few months. Velvet is an immigrant in North America, mingling on the wrong side of the tracks. When a man helps her out of an unpleasant situation, she finds herself torn between what is real and not as she slowly starts to fall in love with him. Velvet is tortured by her past and present, a complicated woman with a childlike honesty, vulnerability and enthusiasm for dreams.
IK: What is the other film?
AS: The other film is called Unmasked. It focuses on the journey of a Muslim woman, Farash, who secretly falls in love with art to a point where she will unveil her true self despite all her circumstances. My supporting character, Xantia, is not likeable at first but as she gets closer to Farash, she shows up as a beautiful human being in a memorable scene. A scene that is funny but through tears because of its underlying serious subject matter.
IK: You Tweet about captured animals, something you’re passionate about.
AS: I don’t think animals are meant to be captured for entertainment. Actually they are not meant to be captured. I cannot even fathom how we can still have zoos, water amusement parks and aquariums where it is clear and known that these WILD animals are there to entertain people suffer. They suffer from depression, malnutrition, and the list goes on. These animals die all the time because they are not meant to live in these conditions. Their natural habitat is nature and the wilderness like oceans, rivers, jungles, forests and etc, which takes me to the next question. feel like our society is going back in time and it saddens me that animals are being abused. Animals cannot speak for themselves and it is completely unfair.
IK: You also have strong opinions on the environment.
AS: I certainly do. I would like to make this present to more people just how important it is to protect our wilderness, animals and ecosystems. We’re just throwing garbage into the oceans. We are over fishing, capturing and carelessly killing animals that are rare and in extinction. Same goes with forests. We need to be more conscious of our choices. The impact of our actions is huge and it causes a chain of damages. There is so much information out there yet people are ignorant. It is foolish. The wildfires right now, you know most of B.C.’s trees are in flames but yet we have the old rainforest that are strong and not so prone to fires but they continue to be clear cut, that just makes me crazy. I feel ashamed of our human race. The good news is that more and more people are beginning to wake up, but the necessary change cannot happen over night, so it is frustrating and also scary.
IK: How are you connected to the saveouroceans campaign?
AS: I was one of the subjects of the artist Russ Snedker’s latest graphite drawing as part of the saveouroceans campaign. He drew a huge manta ray and me hanging off its tail. What most people don’t know is that manta rays grow very slowly and have a long lifespan…over 30 years, and they only have one large baby every two or three years, which makes them vulnerable to overfishing. Their population decreased over 86 percent in the last six years, which makes them an endangered species. We will be auctioning off the original and most of the proceeds will go to one of the causes we support through either Pacific Wild, Sea Legacy or their likes. This will all be posted on my social media. I purchased my own graphic print. Prints are available for purchase. If the buyers mention my name, Russ will give a generous discount. It ships in 5 days from the UK.