From winning first prize in a local beauty pageant when Sofia was only a teenager to starring in The Sopranos as Camorra Boss Annalisa Zucca and CSI Miami as Yelina Salas, Sofia has it all.
Her role in Passionada as Celia Amonte was a superb play. As an actress I adored her, her strong play had signature her ability in Hollywood.
Sofia Milos was born in Zurich, Switzerland, to an Italian father and a Greek mother. The family moved to Rome, Italy when she was a child. As Sofia says “before moving to Rome in later years, Switzerland is where I spent the first part of my Life. I grew up with a French Nanny, my Greek mom, and Italian dad, Beyond Sofia being a talented actress, her passion in Art is other part of her life. She is indeed an Artist at heart, “I respect and enjoy all creation; all that beautifies our world and our hearts. All that communicates;
all that encourages change for the better; all that makes us feel alive and dream just a little longer until we break out into a smile. Passion is my surname.” So beside acting, she enjoys cooking and painting.
As Sofia says “still love to study because, Knowledge is power.” strongly shows her ability to be an icon in Hollywood through the years.
Meeting Sofia in her beautiful house that has the signature of her taste of being an Artist, gave me the privilege to interview Sofia for our February issue.
She was very welcoming, we talked about her passion for acting to her hobby of cooking. Sofia is one of a kind that Hollywood has, no doubt that she will be shinning as she always has been.
How long have you been an actor?
Somehow I want to say “All my Life. Possibly because like many Artists, I didn’t have an easy childhood, and so I would take on a circumstantial role or another growing up, expressed my true self through drawings and paintings, then photography, until I became an actor and was able, through the work on stage discover myself first as an Artist, then as a Woman.
The Passion and Curiosity for this search of self, gave me the jump start and uninhibited courage to confront living as myself. Bringing characters alive through my own experiences, I was able to heal and overcome barriers and learn to communicate on a whole other level of truth. Hence the saying; When Art imitates Life and Life imitates Art. And hence why I love what I do. But I’ve been a working actress for 23 years! time flies when one goes through a most amazing and crazy adventure and has mostly fun doing so.
How did you get started in Acting?
Professionally speaking I started to perform on stage in 1992 and got my first 2 jobs that same year. A guest starring role as a Novice Nun on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati and a lead role in the feature INSIDE OUT with Leslie Ann Down and Chris Christopherson, as a literature student. After 1 year of scene study with Milton Katselas and Stage work, I booked my first Prime time series regular Role for NBC in the beginning of 1993 to 94 in the sitcom CAFE AMERICAN with Valerie Bertinelli, as hot headed Italian Model Fabiana Borelli. The series was directed by TV Icon and multi award winning director James Burrows, who sponsored me thereafter to stay in this country and peruse an acting career in the USA. I was passionate but rather shy back then, but thought to myself, “someone that won 21 EMMYs is telling me I got talent, he may know what he’s talking about”, so i staid. Jimmy would say that he “loved how I would switch without beating an eyelash from one language to another in rapid fire, be a dramatic actress and a comedienne, all in a hot package”. He believed that would be my key to success. He wasn’t too wrong after all as I proceeded to work nonstop for years to come on TV especially. I am very grateful for his encouragement, and for him and Peter Noah the executive producer (who now is the consulting Producer on SCANDAL) to choose me at the beginning of my career with only 2 measurable credits on my resume! after my audition, (When the role was written for an American), and give me my first big brake. I am also very grateful for the 10 years I continued to study with Milton Katselas throughout my raising career and work. Today I study with Ivana Chubbuck, who was responsible for guiding Halley Berry to her Oscar win as well as Charlize Theron.
In how many films and series have you performed in up till now?
I have done several series , as a Series lead or star 9 of them so far, in prime time Network shows, Including CSI: MIAMI, THE BORDER, CAROLINE IN THE CITY with Leah Thompson, THE SECRET LIVES OF MEN with Peter Gallagher, CAFE AMERICAN with Valerie Bertinelli, among others. There were other projects that helped build my career like the 3 Recurring Roles I did on International Hit Shows (The Sopranos, with James Gandolfini, Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David, THIEVES with John Stamos) and another 22 guest starring roles on Prime time TV shows, including ER and Friends. That’s over a crazy 230 hours of Television programming and Ten credited Films. But I am far from done. I definitely need more film credits. And most definitely it’s time for a new TV Series.
Are you working on any current projects?
I am happy to say, there are a few Projects we are currently working on, And will share about it soon. It’s an exiting time for many I think, and it’s going to be a good year. What I can say is that one of the projects is based on a true story penned by James Dalessandro. And it’s Pilot season which may bring it’s own surprises and new possibilities. I also launched a cooking show out of my own kitchen and therefore called Sofia’s Kitchen with Sofia Milos, where I share Healthy alternative to classic Mediterranean dishes I either learned from my mom, my nonna or by simply trying out. Cooking is another fun, creative outlet for me while Sharing healthy recipes and tips with my fan’s & friends on Cyber space. Check it out on YouTube channel: Sofia’s Kitchen with Sofia Milos.
How different is it to act in a movie or on Stage or TV Series?
I love stage work because there is a life audience with an immediate real life feedback that fuels you in your performance. The adrenaline in itself becomes a big asset if you learned how to use it. It’s pretty magical. There are no second takes and you really learn to trust yourself as an actor. A great Life lesson really. I think any actor should have that experience because it will change them forever in their work, in their confidence and in being in present time. To work on various sitcoms was fantastic training too, and the working schedule is amazing as you shoot one episode per week. It’s a wonderful experience because there is a life audience, so you get the same immediate feedback and the encouraging laughter as in stage work, but it’s on camera so if you make a mistake you can take it again.The art with a Life Audience taping of a sitcom for an actor, is to not only to learn the formula and rhythm of the comedy but learn to make fun of yourself in a creative way, when you make mistakes so the audience
stays with you and it becomes humorous itself rather than un comfortable or embarrassing. In other words, there are no mistakes all of it becomes part of the multi dimensional performance while taping. that’s another great lesson and experience to be had. I was fortunate to have worked with some great sit com directors like the legendary James Burrows. Also unscripted shows like CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, and MAD ABOUT YOU starring Paul Raiser and Helen Hunt, among others. So I learned a lot.
A movie is usually shot in five weeks, or as long several months and it is
a great experience when you love the story, your character, your co star and trust the director, as you travel the journey. You get to develop
a real history and pathology to your character. You get to live an arc and a re-solution even heal and resolve some personal painful events by using and overcoming them through your characters journey that one chooses to use as the underlying authentic need to win, (which is the core of Ivana Chubbuck’s teaching,
I have been exploring and expanding with).I am really looking forward to do a film and hopefully have the amazing opportunity to bring an interesting character to Life that touches, moves or makes people laugh.
A TV series is different as you shoot one episode in 8 days So it’s much faster paced then a film and doesn’t allow for the same freedoms of creativity and prep times.
You finish one script to start another The next day as you discover the future of your characters concurrently. So you have to really know your
character and trust in your preparation as an actor. And oftentimes they are not shot locally. The hours are a lot longer they can vary from 8 to 16 hours a day depending on your workload, in other words you don’t have much of a social life and your cast and crew become your family. So I wish for a really great and fun one for my next show.
My social salsa dancing is definitely put on hold while on a show That’s probably why am enjoying so many other creative outlets like salsa dancing, Greek dancing cooking and painting right now till I’m too busy to do it again. ole’!
Do you ever doubt your work in any particular role?
Interesting question. I think no one should Doubt themselves, but believe in ones ability and dreams otherwise no one else will. Can a performance be better? Performing is an Art form, it has limitless possibilities, other than the one imposed by the networks, or writers and directors.
If it doesn’t sabotage and stop one from being brilliantly authentic; It’s healthy to think there is the possibility of improvement. But it can become lethal, if one gets Stuck in any doubt in Life. Doubt should be used just as a door to other possibilities, not as an end to itself. Trust in yourself. I have no regrets or bad performances.
I love what I do, and put a lot the time given and study into my roles, There is no substitute for training and professional experience, with which I gained the understanding and effectiveness of a communication unique to me in my performance, in spite of any obstacles we may encounter on sets. Each one of us is Unique and that’s what is so special. It’s when you don’t fit into molds, but create the mold that it becomes truly fun.
Which has been your favorite character that you have performed?
Portraying the Neapolitan Mafia Boss Annalisa Zucca in the SOPRANOS was one of the most delicious and fun to play and changed my path from playing sit com’s or comedies for the first decade, to playing Women with gun’s on one or the other side of the law, for the fallowing decade.
What are your strong points as an actor?
I think good or bad, I have my own brand, my own look. I love to play the subtext, the subtle performance between the lines. I feel a whole other story can be told between the lines with your eyes, your nose your lips, a look a nod a breath if their sustained by one’s truth and need.
I have a high work ethic and I am very committed to a project I take on and never give less than expected , but always more. I think we all should give more than expected, that kind of generosity pays back, if not immediately; it will somehow, somewhere. But certainly boosts ones ability, confidence and fulfillment.
What have you learned from the directors or senior actors that you have worked with throughout your career?
I’ve learned early on , and throughout, what I WOULD and would NOT do on a set, and to your fellow actors and your crew. Not everyone knows how to play fair, nice and generous to their co-stars, mostly out of their own insecurities. To me it’s important to be on a happy set and I don’t mind to be the instigator of a happy set. I finally learned to just be myself no matter the drama around me.
What has been your biggest achievement in the field of acting?
To have my parents be proud of me as a woman and actress after a rough beginning.
To be able to be funny in a foreign Language, English, without an accent, then my 5th language and one I learned through watching television, reading books and out in the real world.
Mention about any special recognition or award that you have received for your acting skills?
I received an Artistic Achievement award at the Banff International TelevisionFestival, in Canada. and an Artistic Achievement Award at the HELLENIC TIMES AWARDS in NYC as well as a nomination for my portrayal of Homeland security agent Bianca La Garda, in THE BORDER at the Montecarlo International Television Festival, and a consideration for an EMMY nomination for my portrayal of mafia boss Annalisa Zucca in THE SOPRANOS.
What do you prefer acting in a movie series or acting on stage?
If I was offered anything I wanted right now? I would say I would love to perform in a Film that tells a beautiful and compelling story and gives me the opportunity to perform, in either a challenging breakout role where I get to show my versatility, show my strengths, my humor and my vulnerability, or a Comedy, which is always fun of course. And, I would love to be starring in a new international TV show with incredible strong cast and great premise.
What kind of roles do you prefer?
I prefer roles I would excel with, colorful roles of strong women with flaws and vulnerability and untiring resilience in the fight of what she believes to be true or right. Women who have proven themselves to have earned a place among a “men’s world”, and then some, and yet remain classy and feminine but can be raw and dangerous if needed. Or a fun, hot-blooded, Passionate, humorous yet dramatic role like Anna Magnani or Sofia Loren would portray.
What is the hardest part of being a celebrity?
That all depends how or why you became a celebrity. Which is not the same thing as being an actor or artist. Though it is One of the consequences of being a valued or recognized actor in which case I would say lack of privacy and being scrutinized for everything. Every word being weighed in with added value which in itself has its upside and downside.
Your personal life can become not so personal and people may think because they know you, that you must know them too, and there is an expectation usually reserved for real life friendships. On the other hand I am very grateful for all the support and kind, loving words my fan’s give me daily and in a way, that become a virtual friendship.
In general the more successful one is in any field , one has to be aware of fake “friends” with ulterior or superficial motives. Vampires that suck your energy and time when you are on high roll and couldn’t care less about you during your low’s.
Give me a few tips to be a successful actor?
Keep working on your Kraft. Work on yourself. Believe in yourself with Confidence. Have a Purpose. Have Goals. Don’t give up. Don’t wait for outside validation to know who you are. No matter what success you reach , stay humble because you never stop learning and you always need to first know what’s needed and wanted. Ride the high ways with caution and gratitude, and withstand the low knowing you will raise again.
Who is your favorite actor?
Today I greatly respect and enjoy Kate Blanchet, Leo DiCaprio‘s work who are just consistently amazing. I love the superb talents of Robert Downey Junior and Jamie Foxx. Or talents such as Javier Bardeem and Sergio Castellitto among many others. If I get to reminisce on old movies and classics, I love Anna Magnani for her rawness, earthiness and authenticity, Katherine Hepburn, Sofia Loren and Marcello Mastroiani and the comedic hero’s TOTO and Charlie Chaplin.
What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?
During the casting process One is always too short, too tall, too fat, too thin, too young or too old, too unknown, too different, until one gets hired in a big show or a big film; then it’s Noblesse Oblige and YOU set the trend. To be an actor you have to keep your dreams alive because others won't do it for you. You have to want it badly enough, where thousands of rejections don’t sum up to the immense vision and courage an actor must have , to keep perusing this path in spite of any obstacles. You really have to keep your eyes on your mountain or you will roll down so fast you won’t know what hit you.
Is it true that you have to change yourself in order to be accepted into the entertainment business?
In spite of the telling airbrushed Era, Inflated breasts and perfect visages, thinking that one has to be anything other then themselves as an actor, to fit into what is expected is a mistake. Aesthetics should be a personal choice. A good director wants to see YOU and whatever you feel best in. Most casting directors don’t even know what is expected themselves by the writers or producers and wait for you to bring it in. Parts have been re-written to fit someone or other that either was recommended for a role, or was a Network approved star, or blew them away with their audition, or just blew them, or helped produce or write it. But the last thing to do is to change oneself to fit into a make believe invisible box.
What we need to do is BE who we are and increase our skills, work hard at them. A breakout role is just that, a perfect fit to whom WE are and with which we can shine. Timing has its value too.
What is some advice that you would give to someone aspiring to become and actor?
If you want to become an actor first of all do it for the right reason and Fame is not one of them. You have to be able to handle rejection and keep getting up again until you get your break, and even then, there will be rejection and you have to be able to keep getting up with the same passion and vision, persistence, humbleness and confidence. At the same time, you have to be willing to work hard, rehearse, research.
In other words You have to be a little crazy. If all that sounds great and by God there is so much gratification in what we do, Go for it! Believe in your dreams and go make them a reality. Work on yourself and outflow every day. Because dreams without actions are just hopes.
What is your message to people and your fans?
I believe we should find the courage and confidence to be ourselves, because each one of us is unique.
I believe we should enjoy life, dance, have fun, use your imagination and passions and talent to create your successful life. A Life where you can make a positive contribution. There are infinite ways to do that, that make us happy. A quote I love is: ”smile and you’ll soon find something to smile about”.
I believe, You have to have a purpose that is true for you, not just ideal at best. Something to believe in and peruse in spite of all obstacles. That is the most important thing if you want to be successful and happy. Something worthwhile getting up for every day and fighting for. Where our passion becomes our profession.
I found through my own harder experiences there are always many things we can be grateful for at any given time or circumstance. There’s always joyful moments that can be created and important loving supportive people we can be grateful for. There are people that count on us and our integrity. And I knew that if I just focus on all those positives Instead of focusing on the negatives, and potential losses, rejections, illness or threats of losses, but focus on the positive outcome of my goals and dreams, and all the people like my mother and true friends I can be grateful for every morning and night, magic can happen. And it does. So, have faith in God and yourself. But I also had to make sure my actions would involve steps to get closer to my goals every day.
I believe success comes from having having the ability to confront and proceed in spite of heavy whether and all obstacles towards a desired goal.
It’s much more important what you do with obstacles and setbacks. keep your eyes on your goals and your actions in line with them. “goals without action are just hopes.” Sometimes success comes faster than other times when timing is right. sometimes it will take longer but one cannot give up as that’s the only failure and regret one will remember.
And if one persists there is no loss in fact; if it takes longer one keeps growing with experience and become better at what one does for when opportunity arises. It’s not a race, it’s a Journey. Enjoy YOUR Journey.
Romance, gifts, A new car, a new house, can make us happy momentarily but also dependent on outside validation luck or gifts. But achieving your goals in spite of all obstacles, or losing it all and re-creating it again and again, falling down and getting up again to go and win your dreams, that builds confidence and skill and that drive is what shapes us to live a much much happier life.
I like the saying “don’t pray for an easier life pray to be stronger” so you can have a great life! Just wishing to have a problem free life or career in the Entertainment business, well that’s an oxymoron.
Life is a game with wins and losses, highs and lows; careers have ebbs and flows. And a game to be called a game and be played with gusto, has to have a goal, oppositions or obstacle, rules and barriers within which to play. And so does life,otherwise what a boring life it would be. We would stop playing as there is no game, no challenge! But if it gets too hard don’t just stop playing, you can win Goals if you put your mind and your passion to it and your skills.
And if you don’t win something, well you can still say; “you had fun and played a great game! you lived a fulfilling and great life.”
I want to be able to say that when I’m old sitting on a bench, next to my husband in the park reminiscing on all the magic moments in this life time I created .
And ultimately; Don’t believe anything anyone says, go and experience yourself. Observe and decide for yourself what is true for you. As that’s the only truth. Then just GO FOR IT, follow your dreams.
To follow sofia Milos; facebook: www.facebook.com/sofiamilos/ Twitter; @MilosSofia Instagram; SofiaMilos2015
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