‘Big Sky’ Star Katheryn Winnick ‘Heartbroken’ in Emotional Plea for Support Amid Russian Invasion of Ukraine

by Allison Hambrick

Big Sky’s Katheryn Winnick pleaded for support on behalf of her family homeland of Ukraine, urging people to speak out against Russia.

“I am Ukrainian, and I was born in Toronto, Canada, but I come from a Ukrainian family,” said Winnick. “The last few days, it’s [like] waking up in a nightmare. It’s horrible what’s happening. I am heartbroken, I am horrified, I am disgusted, I am devastated in seeing what is happening to our innocent civilians. We will fight. We will win. I am praying and I am asking and I am urging everyone to speak out. I can’t not speak. It’s very important to…”

“I couldn’t fall asleep for four days now since it started, and I have family that are underground there,” she continued. “I have friends that are fleeing and are getting bombed in missile strikes. We need to say something. We need to make our voices heard, and it’s important for everyone to know that Ukraine is a strong nation. Our spirit is so strong, and we need all the support we can get.”

Winnick previously opened up about her Ukrainian heritage in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. In fact, the Big Sky actress explained how her upbringing was still very traditional despite her family having relocated to Canada.

“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!”

Additionally, she told Kimmel that her family initially didn’t see acting as a viable career.

“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.”

Big Sky Star Reveals Martial Arts Background

Interestingly, Winnick’s entrance into the entertainment industry had less to do with acting and more to do with another surprising skill: Tae Kwon Do.

“I started training in martial arts when I was 7 years old,” Winnick explained. “I got my first black belt at 13, I started my own martial arts school at 16, and by the time I was 21, I had three different schools.  So, I grew up having a very physical background. I’m a 3rd-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and 2nd degree in karate, and I’m a licensed bodyguard.”

She then clarified how exactly her martial arts background led to her career in acting.

“I started in the [entertainment] field by teaching actors martial arts on movie sets,” the Big Sky star said. “I was their trainer as well as their stunt double. That’s how I got a chance to see what a stunt life is like. I realized it’s amazing and I would love to be a part of it in front of the camera. That was really my journey.”

Additionally, Winnick opened up about how acting actually started off as a side hobby because it allowed her an emotional outlet.

“Martial arts was a hard upbringing in a sense, where women weren’t allowed to show any emotion, especially since I trained four hours a day,” she explained. “So I saw acting as an opportunity to get to know myself, more as therapy, and then it worked out to be in front of the camera and to have a career in it.”