‘Big Sky’ Star Katheryn Winnick’s First Language Isn’t English

by Allison Hambrick

Big Sky actress Katheryn Winnick revealed that she did not grow up speaking English with her family at home. In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the actress said that her family immigrated to Canada from Ukraine.

“We spoke Ukrainian at home, and obviously English as well,” Winnick explained. “We went to Ukrainian school every Saturday, which is always a pain in the butt when you have to go every Saturday!”

Throughout her life, Winnick was told that she wouldn’t make it. Instead of believing that acting was a pipe dream, she drew on the criticisms.

“I come from a very strong Ukrainian family,” the actress said. “It was one of those things that even to leave Toronto was a big deal. I am glad I stuck with it and didn’t believe everyone who told me ‘No.’ I kept pushing myself to find a way.”

Though she was fired from her first acting gig, Winnick scored a lead role on Vikings. She starred on the series from 2013 to 2020. Afterward, she moved on to the crime drama Big Sky.

Why Big Sky’s Katheryn Winnick Got Fired from First Role

As mentioned before, Winnick didn’t exactly nail her first time acting. She got the job through a friend who brought her to a movie set.

 “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.”

Winnick overconfidently decided she was going to get herself noticed no matter what.

“So when the director called ‘Action,’ I started acting,” said the actress. “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.”

However, Winnick did not let this failure slow her down. After all, who hasn’t messed up? She took the opportunity for growth and learned what not to do on set.

“‘One day, I will be a lead actor, and I won’t be able to get fired that easy,'” Winnick said she told herself. “It actually super motivated me to definitely work harder.”