‘Big Sky’ Star Katheryn Winnick Says ‘Stand by Ukraine’ Amid Russia Conflict

by Allison Hambrick

Big Sky actress Katheryn Winnick urged followers to stand by Ukraine after Russia launched several attacks throughout the nation.

“Stand with Ukraine,” wrote the actress on Instagram. Though she is from Canada, Winnick is of Ukrainian descent.

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

As a result of her practical upbringing, choosing acting as a career was a difficult path. Her family met that decision with criticism, as they felt she would never make it in acting. However, instead of buying into the negativity, she used it to fuel her success.

“I come from a very strong Ukrainian family,” Winnick explained. “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‘s Katheryn Winnick Discusses Being Fired From First Role

While Winnick found success first on Vikings then on Big Sky, her early career didn’t go quite as well. After Winnick’s friend helped her score a background role in a movie shoot, she was eager to impress.

“I was 16 years old and I thought maybe ‘this’ll be my chance to get discovered!’” she said. “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 then 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.”

However, the Big Sky star put the embarrassment to good use. After her mother picked her up from the set, she only craved success more. She vowed to herself she’d become a lead actress one day, working her way through NYU to achieve that goal. 

“I definitely had to pay my dues. I took any parts I could get just to gain experience. 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,” Winnick explained.

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