Irina Antonenko talks about her journey and achieving goals

Actress, singer, TV presenter, and former Miss Universe finalist, Irina Antonenko moved to the United States only two years ago. In this brief time, she has earned our praise for her roles in the movie thriller, Break, and Gasoline Alley, an action film starring Bruce Willis. Irina’s next film, Taken from Rio Bravo, was in the stages of final production when she modeled for our STYLE feature. We enjoyed meeting Irina and think you will, too.

About becoming an actress: I grew up in a family of little means, and even as a child, I dreamed of owning a car so I could travel. I started working at 13 and began saving money. When I was 17, I learned about a beauty pageant in my hometown of Magdeburg, Germany. The first prize was a car. I decided right there and then that I had to compete. No one, including my family, believed that I could do it. Some even laughed. But my goal was to win. It took a lot of hard work, but I did win that pageant. I continued to compete in beauty contests and was often told to try a career in theater or film. I went to film school and when I graduated, I started working as an actress. 

About her move to the United States: I decided to move to America to grow further in my career. Casting directors kept offering me secondary roles portraying beautiful women, but I rejected them, believing that I was capable of more. I knew I could play various characters and eventually, when producers began recognizing my true potential, they began offering more complex roles. I’m so thankful for the way I was able to inspire thousands of people. For example, I helped them find faith in themselves, move forward when no one believed in them, and find their own way in life. After eight years, when I had been cast in every role I had ever dreamed of, I knew it was time to move on and step out of my comfort zone.

Meg Nobriga
Meg Nobriga

About the challenges when she arrived in Hollywood: I made it to the United States on the very last plane to Los Angeles before the lockdowns began. That first year was very difficult. I did not speak English and I had no friends nor family nearby. It was impossible to make connections when everyone was hibernating at home. As soon as things started to reopen, I went to every possible event looking to meet people, but everyone was still cautious due to Covid-19. Finally, I found friends, learned English, and began working on a few projects. Life began to have color again.

About lessons learned and achieving goals: I have learned that we must stay true to ourselves and push ahead. Life isn’t a fairytale. It’s a constant fight for happiness. Anything is possible, but you need faith and determination. There will always be people who don’t believe in you, who laugh, and tell you that you won’t be successful. Don’t listen to them. Instead, let their words motivate you to push ahead. Life isn’t perfect, but we can make it beautiful and light, filled with goodness and love.