Nina Arianda biography
Florence Foster Jenkins
Date of Birth: September 18, 1984
Nina Arianda Matijcio was born in New York City to Ukrainian parents but grew up in nearby Clifton, New Jersey. Her stage debut came when she recited part of a patriotic Ukrainian poem at a Ukrainian school hall at the age of three. When she was six, Nina was taken to see Les Misérables on Broadway and was hooked, especially when she was given a backstage tour and was allowed to walk onstage.
By the age of nine, her mind was made up. She was going to become a professional actress. Her parents began driving her to auditions, and although she obtained some voice-over work, she didn't get any parts. Nina began taking acting classes at the Herbert Berghof Studio. She also enrolled at the Professional Performing Arts High School in New York but was only able to attend for one semester before the family moved to Germany for her father's work. After high school she applied to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art but was rejected by both.
Back in the States, she was accepted by the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Just months after graduating, on September 21, 2009, with very little professional experience on her resumé, she auditioned for the role of Vanda in the Off-Broadway play Venus in Fur. After taking a look at her sparse resumé, artistic director Brian Kulick was ready to write her off but by the end of the audition, she'd impressed not only Kulick but the play's director, Walter Bobbie, who wrote "STW" (Straight to Wardrobe) on her audition sheet. During the play's time Off-Broadway, Nina received a 2010 Theatre World Award and a 2010 Clarence Derwent Award.
The play moved to Broadway in 2011 and she received more rave reviews. Nina went on to win a Tony Award in 2012 for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her role in Venus in Fur.
Nina's luck hasn't run out. Her onstage acting talent caught the eye of onscreen legend Woody Allen. Woody gave her a small role in his 2011 film Midnight in Paris . In an interview with the New York Times Magazine, she recalled Woody's hands-off approach to directing. "We were shooting at Versailles, I think, and one of the P.A.'s handed me a camera and said, 'Woody wants you to have this.' That was all the direction. I had to make a choice and do something with it. I panicked. So I decided to take pictures of Michael Sheen the entire time."
She has also appeared in several episodes of Hannibal in 2015, playing Molly Graham. In 2016, she appeared in an episode of Louis C.K.'s web series Horace and Pete.
Nina had the opportunity to act alongside Meryl Streep in 2016's Florence Foster Jenkins . In one scene, she actually had to laugh at Meryl's singing. "The concept on paper is a lot scarier than doing it. When you have to do it you just do it and you take what's around you and you use it. In general I think there's kind of an expectation that joy is easily accessible to people and I think that joy is just as extreme an emotion as any other. It comes with the same challenges of having that live in you organically," Nina told Theater Mania.
At the end of the day Nina remains unseduced by the trappings of high-profile celebrity. "I have no time for that part of my life. I go home and I have soup and Throat Coat and I go to sleep. I let steam off by watching Downton Abbey,” she told the New York Times.