‘Big Sky’ Star Katheryn Winnick Opened Up About Going All In on Acting

by Liz Holland

“Big Sky” star Katheryn Winnick had a bumpy start to her career as an actress. However, it was when she fully committed to the art that opportunities really started opening up for her. The 44 year old actress has been in the game since her teenage years, and has starred on multiple successful shows. She’s appeared on “CSI,” “Bones,” “Criminal Minds,” “Law and Order,” and currently stars in the ABC Crime Drama “Big Sky.”

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the actress, though. In a 2020 Interview with The View, the actress shared the story of how she got fired from her very first acting job– and how it pushed her to try harder. “My very first time on set I was a background actor,” Winnick recalled. “I remember we had a friend that was part of casting background actors and he got a bunch of our friends to go on. I remember I was so excited, I was 16 years old and I thought maybe ‘this’ll be my chance to get discovered!’ So I ended up putting on what I thought was like a mini-skirt, high heels, and a push up bra. The scene was in Toronto… it was a big car crash where the lead actors come out, and they notice two cars colliding.”

How Katheryn Winnick Got Fired From Her First Acting Job

The actress continued, “So they put me right up at the front and I thought, ‘This is my chance!’ and of course I prepared for this in my head.. And I’d never been on set before. So when the director called ‘Action,’ I started acting. I started telling everybody, ‘Call 911!, do this, do that!’ I had no idea that you’re not supposed to do that, I ended up getting fired on my very first job. I was so embarrassed, my mom had to come pick me up because I didn’t have my driver’s license.” The actress shares that through her tears, she promised herself that “‘One day, I will be a lead actor, and I won’t be able to get fired that easy.” She added, “It actually super motivated me to definitely work harder.” 

Winnick’s First Lead Role Was In a TV Movie

Winnick continued her education and once she was in her third year of college, transferred from York University to NYU. She began taking classes at NYU’s school of the arts, Tisch, where many successful Hollywood and Broadway actors have studied. She slowly built up a resume while she worked in a restaurant to support herself. “I definitely had to pay my dues,” she told Inc.

She added, “I took any parts I could get just to gain experience. I did horror films, student films… I would do almost anything that came along. It was a long process and in truth is still a long process.”

She says she found herself travelling to Los Angeles often for work, but wasn’t really hitting a breakthrough role. She eventually decided that she was going to have to take charge of her acting career if she wanted it to go anywhere, and fired the manager she had at the time. 

Winnick’s first lead role ended up being a portrayal of Donald Trump’s first wife, Ivana Trump, on an ABC TV Movie called “Trump Unauthorized” in 2005. Her new focus clearly paid off, and she’s been bagging roles ever since. 

You can see Katheryn Winnick on “Big Sky” on ABC when the show returns from its holiday hiatus next month.