The Golden Age of Broadway -- when there were true stars of the stage -- is gone. Now, it's buzzy film actors like Scarlett Johansson and Sienna Miller who tend to be cast in tried and true revivals. Enter Nina Arianda stage left in the Broadway hit Venus in Fur. Without a Hollywood name, she's currently one of the most critically-acclaimed young actresses on the Great White Way, starring in the whip-smart dark comedy by David Ives. Arianda plays Vanda, a desperate actress auditioning for the lead role in a fictional adaptation of the sadomasochistic novel, Venus in Furs, but it soon becomes clear that there's much more to her than an unimpressive résumé. "The mystery behind her was so intriguing," says Arianda, who first made waves in the play's off-Broadway premiere in 2010, just a few months after earning her masters in acting from NYU.
Outfitted in S&M-style lingerie for the part, Arianda offers both sex appeal and perfect comedic timing, two qualities the leggy blonde admits are rarely combined. "It's frowned upon in a way. You usually have to pick one."
To unwind from the rapid-fire two-character play (co-starring Hugh Dancy), she watches Netflix in her Williamsburg apartment. But having been raised in a Ukrainian family where the emotional spectrum "was a little bit wider," her natural intensity follows her home. "I fall asleep to movies like The Negotiator and Die Hard. They match my adrenaline," she says. So how does she explain her love of the more refined Downton Abbey? "The stakes are pretty high there too. World War I ain't nothin' to sneeze at."
Nina wears a sweater and skirt by Jil Sander and bracelet by Alexis Bittar.
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