DANCE WITH LOVE. Briana Evigan is almost too good to be true. The young actress reminds one of the girl every boy had a crush on in high school, and the feeling of infatuation, although one might like to think that he’d outgrown it, still persists upon first meeeting Evigan.
Lingerie by Dita Von Teese, robe by Flora Nikrooz, ring by John Hardy
The beautiful brunette is drop-dead-gorgeous, with a bright smile and a pair of arresting eyes. Yet, just when one would assume that a girl so beautiful would be out of reach and intimidating, she draws you in with her easy manner and a quirky sense of humor.
The actress with a girl-next- door allure possesses a certain lighthearted nature that is rarely found in many who work in her field. Success, for many actors, is a double-edged sword that could turn any bright-eyed girl to a ruthless starlet. But, in Evigan’s case, the actress rides the wave of her success like a veteran surfer gliding smoothly on the perilous wave, all while preserving her sweet, quirky nature. With the same candor and endearing quirk that put moviegoers in a spell, Evigan opens up about scoring the role of Andie West in the “Step Up” franchise, expressing her thoughts in a song and the explosive chemistry with her co-star Ryan Guzman.
DA MAN: Hi Briana, we’re so excited for your new movie! one of the first times we’ve seen you was in “Step up 2: the Streets” and you’re also starring in this summer’s “Step up: all in.” how did you first get involved with the franchise?
Briana Evigan: I got involved in the franchise by going to an audition through my dance agents. I got a callback when I was in Hawaii and did not want to come home—I have been to so many unsuccessful callbacks, and I figured like all the others, this job was not mine. Then I came home and got a phone call from the film’s director, Jon Chu, who messed with me by making me think i didn’t get it. It felt like the happiest day of my life when i got the part. I’ve been so blessed to work for the past seven years on other projects and to be coming back to start in “Step Up: All In” with the lead actor Ryan Guzman and all the incredible returning cast members.
DA: What was it like working in a highly charged, adrenaline- filled film like the “Step up” franchises?
BE: “Step Up” has been such a great part of my life and an inspiring one that has also kept me grounded. It was so fun to be on set dancing with the best dancers around the world. It’s an honor as a dancer to be seen with people of such great talent and strength. Dancers are dedicated. And they never stop the fight to be the best they can be. I admire them for that.
“Competition judgement and rejection can be tough, but it makes you solid in the end”
DA: what was it like working with Ryan Guzman as your partner in this film?
BE: Ryan rocked my world. Love that man. He’s got such a great career ahead of him. We had fun and goofed off a ton. I feel like he’s my brother, I don’t need a filter around him. He recently said to me as he laughed, “YupI forgot there’s never a dull moment around you.” We have that kind of friendship. We eat a lot of food and always make fun of ourselves!
DA: So you two had the chemistry going?
BE: I think chemistry is very important. The cool thing is, whether you’re actually in love
or hate each other, those two relationships somehow come off as hot and passionate. In between is where you find trouble. I think Ryan and I having a great friendship paid off in creating a great chemistry. Also, our only kiss was in the last scene of the movie, so I think the heat was there. But hands down, working with someone you like and respect is the best. It makes my job fun and easy, and builds levels of tension for the characters.
DA: Was it challenging to work in a dance film?
BE: The only additional challenge to a dance film is that it is much more physically taxing than a typical role in a drama or comedy. I always give myself mental pep talks before bed or when I wake up. One benefit to being in a film that centers on dancing is that there is less dialogue, so there is not as much to memorize! The lines you would typically have to learn and memorize in a dialogue in heavy films are, in this case, expressed through the dance choreography. There is less memorization of lines, but lots of choreography. And that is always changing!
DA: How did you cross over from dancing to acting?
BE: I crossed over to acting because of “Step Up.” I fell in love with acting to become and create all these characters that are outside of me, which is fascinating. I love working on dialects and creating crazy characters. I have a few in my tool bag that are pretty fun. One is an old Irish man.
DA: Any advice for dancers who want to cross over to acting?
BE: Make sure you love it and it’s really what you want. The competition, judgment and rejection can be tough, but it makes you solid in the end. You have to see through it all and really understand why you chose this path. And obviously, never give up on yourself.
DA: We’ve heard that you also write some songs?
BE: I do enjoy doing it, but I don’t find myself to be best at it. I get stuck a lot. I like to write a journal, come up with melodies, and then collectively put it all together with someone else who is skilled at putting all the pieces together. It is something I need to work on for sure. I do love mindlessly playing my piano in my apartment, though, and singing really loud. Even if my neighbors hate me for it!
DA: So, what else are you currently working on?
BE: Right now, I’m really focusing on developing my own projects. We’ll see what happens. I’ve got two one-hour dramas I’m really pushing to get packaged, as well as a cool action film, thanks to Benjamin Jackendoff, who is a wonderful writer. Teaming up with writers and going through the process together are really fun. And it keeps me busy as a producer. On top of that, I am busy with press for “Step Up:
All In” and figuring out what to do in the music world. I’m also doing charity work, traveling, and helping young children all over the world. Somaly Mam and Oceana are two charities that have my heart now.
“I fell in love with acting to become all these characters that are outside of me”
DA: Last but not least, what are you looking for in a man?
BE: I like a man that makes me laugh, who loves to kiss and could cuddle for life. When a man has confidence without ego, that’s awesome! I look for a strong, honest man that loves family and is very connected with himself; one that has pride but can let go of it and be vulnerable and honest with me. To me, a healthy relationship is loving everything about each other, good and bad. I like a challenge, so I like a man that makes me grow every day
Hair stylist: Tanya Abriol @ Tracey Mattingly
Makeup artist Shiyena Chun @ Exclusive
Artist using Urban Decay