WHITE HOUSE RIOT. His unbridled sense of humor breaks the ice as one gets to know who Vanya Asher really is. The Eastern European charmer breaks out his best poses before the camera.
Always up for throwing some witty jokes to light up the day, Vanya Asher is the easygoing bro you’d love to grab a beer and hang out with. There’s no elitism façade straight from the beginning, the actor is as true as he is in the real life. And cracking up some laughter is his natural talent, on and off the TV set. Born in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, the 28-year-old thespian had a completely different childhood than most red-carpet walkers. Yet it’s all the more reason why acting is part of his nature, a given survival instinct to survive through perhaps unbearable times. Such tough circumstances fill in the depiction of TV political drama “Scandal,” in which Asher made an appearance on the third season. The journey so far is just the beginning, as Asher reveals more during the photo shoot.
DA MAN: Hi Vanya, we’ve been watching “Scandal” from season one. You’re playing Ethan, a White House aide working for the chief of staff, Cyrus Beene. How is he in the third season?
Vanya Asher: Stressed out. Really stressed out. Being the assistant of Cyrus Beene (played by Jeff Perry) is definitely not for everyone. Ethan is ambitious but he still wears his heart on his sleeve. I feel for the guy. I haven’t had the experience of assisting political monsters, but I have assisted some fine folks in Hollywood and, well, one day I’ll write a very dark comedy about it.
DA: So you’ve had an inkling of what Ethan would be in real life.
VA: I like Ethan because he kind of doesn’t fit in. He’s still idealistic about politics even though he’s in the most cynical setting of political environments. He’s also a tad naïve, or at least he wants everyone to think of that. But he gets the job done, skirts the dark side, and still sleeps well at night. I think there is a lot more to him than meets the eye, though. I mean, Cyrus handpicked him, so…
DA: So … will Ethan come back in the following season?
VA: Let’s just say he survives the third season, I think. Things get crazy in the last eight episodes. No one is safe. But we are still shooting, so I actually have no idea. Quinn (played by Katie Lowes) is violent now, so you never know.
DA: You’ve mentioned two other cast members so far, but how’s everyone on set?
VA: It’s fantastic. The show is obviously very intense, but the cast is so easy and supportive. I’ve learned more from Jeff Perry and Kerry Washington in the days I’ve spent with them on the set than I have in years of acting classes and schools and all that. I love working with Bellamy Young and Darby Stanchfield, because they laugh at my jokes. Darby cannot keep a straight face around me. Of course, I’m assuming she’s laughing with me, but you just can’t be sure with that one. [Chuckles]
DA: Seems like you’re having a blast every time you shoot. Do you have any special routine for shooting preparation?
VA: I have a ritual. I’m superstitious about it and I’m afraid saying it out loud will take away its powers, so I can’t tell you what it is. My livelihood depends on it. [Laughs] I don’t know why, but I’ve built up all these superstitions around acting. Whenever I shoot, I avoid this one intersection on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. On the corner is a weird foot clinic that has a big spinning sign. On one side there’s a sad cartoon foot, it has crutches, and on the other is a happy healthy cartoon foot. Years ago, I read on some Tumblr that the sad foot is a bad omen. To this day I avoid the intersection if I’m shooting, because I don’t want the sad foot to ruin my day on the set.
Outfit by Giorgio Armani
DA: That’s quite quirky. And how did the role land in your lap in the first place?
VA: I auditioned and found out that I got it the next day. I was on the set three days later. Wild. Usually, it’s a much more dragged out process; you keep coming in to audition again and again.
DA: Why “Scandal”?
VA: Oh, I was a fan of the show. My best friend and I were budding gladiators before I auditioned. She coached me for it. She kept telling me to go faster. Go faster! To get that “Scandal” pace. Kind of surreal thinking about it now. It was just a few months ago.
DA : Before “Scandal,” you’re part of the sci-fi series “Eureka.” How do the two shows differ?
VA: Well, on “Eureka” I was trying to blow up the moon, and on “Scandal” I’m trying to blow up elections. Every set is so different that it’s hard to compare, but both Scandal and Eureka are very high-stake shows. Eureka was the first show I worked on. It was a comedy as much as it was a sci-fi show. Great quirky tone. Fun fact: Joe Morton, who plays Rowan Pope on “Scandal,” was also on “Eureka.” My favorite scenes were with him!
Outfit by Tom Ford
DA : Truth be told, acting as a career isn’t for everyone. What is it for you?
VA: I was this angry Eastern European refugee kid from a war-torn country. Acting was a way to make sense and connect with the new world around me. I loved it. I went to Point Grey Secondary in Vancouver, and we had a great theatre program. I watched the likes of Seth Rogen and Nathan Fielder on stage. It was a great environment, and my teachers, Alicia Correia and Jodi Doerksen, had a huge impact on my life. I actually went to college for Biopsychology, but I was miserable for not acting, so I kept taking classes and training throughout. Basically I just couldn’t quit it.
Grooming: Bethany Brune @ The Wall Group using Kiehl’s and Bumble and Bumble
Styling assistant: Shawna Rivers
Photography assistant: Brandon Sosa
Shot on location at NOMAD (www.nomadlosangeles.com)
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