Russian model-turned-actress Eugenia Kuzmina is set to portray the “oldest profession” in the upcoming film Fading Gigolo, alongside Woody Allen and John Turturro.
Eugenia opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her evolution into acting, being a “laid back” mother to her three kids – Ben, 12, Ted, 5, Veronika, 1 – and how she balances career and motherhood, one Louboutin shoe at a time.
CBS: Tell us about the movie Fading Gigolo coming out this fall in which you work with Woody Allen and John Turturo. What was it like working with Woody Allen?
EK: “Fading Gigolo is written and directed by John Turturro. It is a story about a New York City book store owner (Woody Allen) who manages to convince his friend (John Turturro) that there is a fortune to be made by becoming a professional gigolo. You can imagine the comedy that follows!
Let’s just say I playing a girl in the ‘oldest profession’ (not motherhood) who confuses John while he is on the prowl. Unfortunately, I do not have scenes with Woody. His scenes were shot on separate days than mine, but I did have a chance to sneak a peek at the dailies and I can say that he is a genius actor. He delivers his performance differently in every take but always stays in the same character.”
CBS: At 13 you were training to become a professional ice skater in Russia. Your life took quite a turn. Did you ever imagine you’d become a worldwide model and actress?
EK: “I started ice skating because I was attracted to the performance and the story that the performance told to the audience. To me, it was a form of acting. I remember playing Red Riding Hood at the age of 5 in one of the ice skating shows and I loved it.
Modeling came about as more a surprise. We didn’t have any magazines where I lived and we certainly did not have any modeling agencies or the fashion industry where I grew up in Russia. When I did start modeling, it opened so many doors for me and was the best ‘school of life’ I could have ever imagined. Through modeling, I have been to many places on earth from the Amazon Jungle to Japan.
After meeting my husband Bill Block, an amazing film producer, I moved to LA. It was then that my modeling agent got an audition for me with Rodrigo Prieto, cinematographer from Babel. From there I shot a short film with Elle Fanning and I started getting film and TV work. I guess I was always open to exploring all the possibilities that were put in front of me.”
CBS: Tell us about your kids. What are their names and ages and what are they into?
EK: “I have three kids. My 12-year-old stepson is named Ben. He is, hands down, the smartest most ‘techy’ forward kid I have ever met. He knows everything about technology and we love to play video games together.
My son Ted is 5 and he wants to be a rock star. He is into dancing and we make quite a few of concerts at home and he likes to join me for acting classes. I’ve taken him to many shoots including shoots in Paris and Atlanta.
My daughter Veronika is 1 and she is the most independent girl I have ever seen. She is a lot like my husband in terms of already showing some of his producing traits at an early age. She is constantly ordering us around and pointing out exactly what she wants. She is a go-getter.”
CBS: How do you balance your career and motherhood?
EK: “I’m a very laid back mother. The happiness and mood of my family is more important than order for me. I believe you have to be present when you are with your children. Of course there is often a lack of sleep and sometimes you come from 12-hour shoots and go straight to changing diapers in Louboutin Shoes. It makes for a great comedy!”
CBS: What’s your favorite thing to do with your kids? Please share some of your favorite motherhood moments.
EK: “I love when we wake up and dance together. My daughter loves to put on gypsy necklaces that I got from some shoots and she loves sparkling powder. Ted loves to jump around and Ben usually plays the guitar. My husband is always the DJ. It is so chaotic and fun. Afterwards we often go to Mel’s on Sunset to mellow out and read the newspaper. These moments with the kids are very special.”
CBS: It seems you’re quite the Krav Magda (a form of contact combat martial arts) fanatic. Can you tell us about it and how you got introduced to the sport?
EK: “Yes! I have practiced martial arts for a long time. I was always fascinated with action films. My first exposure to American films in Russia was from watching The Terminator. Oddly enough, I am now happy to call Arnold Schwarzenegger a personal friend and hope I can work with him in the future.
Looking back, I think that my first need for exploring martial arts was part of a rebellion against women stereotypes in Russian Society. I did not want to be part of this stereotype. I wanted to be strong, independent and open. I wanted to feel like being a female meant you could do anything. Since then, I think I found a great inner-philosophy and art form in practicing Krav Maga (Israili self defence) and karate. You have to have passion and be open to everything. Martial arts helps me to do just that.”
CBS: What’s up next for you? Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
EK: “I just worked on ABC’s Castle with Stana Katic and the episode will air in September. She is a great actress and a very generous person. My character is a villain but that is all I will say because I don’t want to spoil it.
I have a stand-up show at the Comedy Store on September 20th. Did I mention I do stand-up? I talk about being a Russian actress, model and mom. I am proud of my stand-up work.
I am also waiting on pins and needles to get confirmation on a potential role in a very interesting movie shooting in October in London. I hope to get it and be able to take my kids on a double decker bus. They would love to ride a double decker bus!”