Interview With Actress Cabrina Collesides, “To Avenge”

By Ruth on February 8, 2018 in Interview, movie, television
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Permit me to introduce you to the actress who will be playing the lead role of Vera in the soon-to-be-filmed movie, To Avenge. Her name is Cabrina Collesides, and she is  a resident of the Hudson Valley in New York. She is perhaps best known for her film, Fight Valley.

Cabrina is fresh off the film, Wing Girl, in which she plays “Edge”, a member of an all-female military aerial performance team. The team gets called to duty and must prove themselves during a dangerous combat mission over North Korea.

Later this year, Worthless will be released. The film has a timely anti-bullying message. Cabrina shares scenes with actress Tara Reid from the American Pie movies.

In To Avenge, Cabrina plays Vera, a recent college graduate who’s been unexpectedly rewarded with a week’s vacation from her employer as a “thank you” for five years of part-time work with her company where she’s just accepted her first post-college, full-time job. While at her parent’s beach house, she is sexually assaulted.

RH: Cabrina, I’m so glad it worked out to talk with you tonight.

CC: Me too, Ruth. Thank you for taking the time.

I didn’t think I was familiar with any of your works, but then I saw that you were in Fight Valley, and though I haven’t seen it, I went to the Artemis Film Festival a couple years ago down in LA, and we got to see an extended trailer for it. So I am familiar with at least one of your works.

That’s so cool! I remember them saying something about the trailer being at the festival, come to think of it.

Fight Valley

Miesha Tate was the star of that, correct?

Yes, that’s right.

She actually graduated from a high school around here, and I have even been a substitute teacher at that high school. So Fight Valley is one I definitely would like to see, but have not had the chance to as of yet.

That is so awesome. Miesha is such a nice person too. She and I both had so much fun on that set.

Cabrina, what’s your story? How did you become an actress?

I think I always liked reenacting movies with my cousin when I was a kid. But growing up, I was really big on sports. So I did sports in high school. After high school, I decided I wanted to try and see how I liked acting. But it’s a lot harder to actually try acting. You have to get cast in the movie, and it’s not always easy to get a role in a movie or a TV show. But luckily, when I was around nineteen, I got my first part. And I just fell in love with it. It was fun being different from who I really am. Sometimes life is way too hectic, and there are times you don’t like what’s going on in your life at certain points. But if you can dig into a different character, then you get to portray that person. You don’t have to deal with whatever is going on in your life for a whole month. It’s nice to pretend to be someone else. I really like that aspect of the art of acting.

Before you made the choice to pursue an acting career, were you thinking of pursuing a career other than acting?

I went to college for softball. I was really good in softball and loved playing it. While in college, I took my first writing class, and I fell in love with writing. I took acting in college too. And I decided I liked both writing and acting.

It’s interesting how many actors start off pursuing sports and then for a variety of reasons, they find acting. So you’re in good company with your sports background. {pause} So what was your first acting role?

My first role was on a short film, and it was comedy. I like to say that I’m funny, even though I’m not really funny. {laughs} But this role was really fun because most of it was improv. And when I watched it back, I was like, “Oh, I am funny.” Then I sent it to my cousin, and she said, “No, you’re not really that funny.” {laughs} But I had so much fun to the point that I knew this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an actor.

Well, if you have natural comedic timing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re funny off the camera, so it may very well be that is what you’re responding to.

Let’s say I’m naturally sarcastic, which comes off funny a lot of times.

That makes sense. And it doesn’t mean you have to be the life of the party.

No, but when I’m in front of a camera and I have the opportunity to be someone else, it’s always great. That’s kind of when I come alive, I’d say.

Wing Girl

You’ve worked on a lot of independent features and shorts over the course of your career. Have you done more mainstream stuff?

I would say Wing Girls had a pretty good budget. It’s the newest film on my resume. It’s about fighter jets and six girls that are really aerial stunt performers. They get called in for a job that’s not in line with their real job.

Toni Ann Gisondi, Cabrina Collesides, Marisa Pangaro, Susannah Jane, and Brandi Mosko in Wing Girl

They are not combat aviators, but we kind of get thrown into the mix of things and we really have to step it up.  It challenges our beliefs about war. That was a bigger budget, and we got to be on an actual ship. And this ship was really, really big, so we had all these signs posted everywhere because we all got lost. We would get lost constantly! Even to go to the bathroom, we would get lost, and we would call each other, “Now which way do we go?” It was definitely a blast. The director actually gave us helmets because some of the doors are so low. He gave me this helmet, and I said, “Yeah, I’m not gonna hit any ceilings or walls. I’m five-one.”

So as far as movies with bigger budgets, I would say that WorthlessWing Girl, and Fight Valley are the films with bigger budgets. While the other ones had smaller budgets, I see them as an opportunity to test the waters and see what I could do. I think any time you’re on set, it’s a chance to learn and gain experience.

Since most of your work has been independent, what do you like about doing these indie works?

I think there’s a lot of good characters, and just because they’re independent does not mean they don’t have a good story. I think that some of the best stories are from independent films if they’re done right. When I get a good character, I don’t want to just let it go. I want to bring that character to life, and it makes no difference if it’s an independent project or not.

The great thing about indie films is that on these sets, you tend to have a smaller crew than you get on something bigger like Wing Girl. But regardless of whether it’s a small or big budget, it’s always a good experience. Either way you look at it, you’re acting. You’re portraying a character and you’re learning.

I’m a big proponent of independent films. I think they are great opportunities, especially for young people like you, to play characters that you might not get to play in the mainstream market. 

Yes, that is true. I love all these wonderful characters I’ve gotten to play.

Fight Valley

Going back to Fight Valley, what role did you play in that film?

I played Jamie. The movie is about an underground fight club. What I would say about Jamie is that she doesn’t fight unless she has to fight. For example, if her best friends get in a brawl, then she has to help them out. But she is more the one who talks it through. She doesn’t necessarily believe in fighting too much. But when push comes to shove, she does stand up for her friends. She will get into it with them when she must, but she is more the level-headed one.

I know that movie had a limited release, but it’s now available to stream online on practically every streaming service. So if people want to look it up and watch it, they can.

That is correct. And I think it turned out really well.

What do you think is the strength of this film? Why will viewers like it?

It’s very entertaining, but the ending is not what you would expect, and I like that. Without giving away too much, you think it’s a revenge story, but in the end, you discover that it may not be what you thought it was. You have to watch all the way to the end to discover this shift in direction.

You talked about Wing Girl some. Do you know about when and where that film might be released?

At this point, there is talk that it might go the festival route, but I know there are a lot of distribution companies already trying to get it. And that’s a really good feeling. Don’t quote me on it, but I think I may have heard it might be available around September of this year. It would be great for it to be released around then, but it all depends on so much that I have no control of. I do know they want to put it in some of the bigger film festivals like Toronto International and some of the other well-known, bigger festivals. I got to see a clip of it where we were in the sky, and the sky work is brilliant. It is so good.

Wing Girl

 As a side note, I happened to look up one of the actors in the film, and I recognized her! She was in one of my all-time favorite movies when I was growing up.

You must mean Annie!

Yes! I was a fanatic about that movie when I was growing up. I don’t know how many times I saw it. So I recognized the name Toni Ann Gisondi right away because she played Molly.

Yeah, we actually got the original Annie and the original Molly.

Oh my goodness! Yes, I wanted to see this movie, but now I want to see it even more! {pause} So tell me about Worthless, if you can.

That movie was with Tara Reid, and she wanted to be a part of it. She has actually gotten a lot of body shaming over the years. In fact, she gets bullied a lot; she’s very misunderstood. Coming on set, she was always polite to me and to the other actors as well. I really had a blast working with her.

I have actually seen her in the original Shaknado and a Christmas movie that she did this past holiday season that was a romantic comedy called A Royal Christmas Ball.

Really? I’ll have to look that one up. I would love to see her in something like that.

Worthless

So what can you tell me about Worthless?

I think people are really going to like Tara in this movie. It has a great message. I think we all have very high hopes for this film. I also like the message it sends. Parents know things are bad in schools, but they don’t know how bad it is. Our job, as the actors in this movie, was to really show the parents what it’s like.

Unfortunately, I am a bully in this film, so I’m not very pleasant.

Well, somebody has to be.

Yeah! It’s really important to be able to show why people bully and why it’s so bad. When I was in eighth grade, I got bullied by these groups of “preps.” Of all people, the preps had to bully me! I was so big on sports, but I had these girls flipping their hair at me and throwing grass on my face and yelling, “Spider! Spider!” It was horrible at recess time. They bullied me constantly, and this group made it a point to always be together and never one-on-one with them. There was always this group surrounding me. It was such a terrible experience. But afterwards, I started making fun of this one girl in my class. And it almost made me feel better. So I understand bullying. By the end of that year, thank God, I came to my senses! I thought, “I know how much it hurt for these girls to bully me, so I can imagine how she feels.” So I apologized to her, and we’re actually still good friends to this day.

That’s awesome. 

Worthless

So if this movie can help people understand how bad it is and help parents see what’s truly going on, then it’s going to be a fantastic film.

Do you have any idea whether Worthless is going to be in film festivals?

While I don’t know for sure, my best estimate is that it will be in a bunch of festivals. And I think our film will get noticed more because so many people know Tara Reid from American Pie and elsewhere.

Moving on now, how did you get involved with To Avenge?

It was so weird. I never knew who Nick Belial was, but I saw a casting call. I reached out and submitted my reel. I met him through that, and that was about a year ago. Since that time, we’ve been talking off and on about the movie and the script. Then I finally got to meet him, and I did a photo shoot. I auditioned for the role of Vera. Then I read the script, and I’m telling you, I was BLOWN AWAY! It’s such a touchy subject, and you really have to do it correctly. Everything has to be right, and it is beautifully written. I know it’s definitely going to be something special.

So what drew you to this particular character?

She’s different from everything I’ve ever played. She’s not weak. You can’t look at her and say, “Vera’s weak.” She’s actually so strong, and throughout the movie, you’re going to see just how strong she is and how much she overcomes. Digging into a character like this is going to be challenging–I’m not gonna lie–it’s gonna be scary. I’m going to have to deal with a lot of my own fears, and I’m gonna conquer them. I’m really lucky that I got to audition for this role because it has everything. It’s going to be really amazing to be able to portray this character.

You said in portraying Vera, you were going to have to face some of your own fears. 

I think when I dig into her character and I’m on set as her, I think everything’s gonna come together. I also think it’s gonna help me with who I am. And I think it’s gonna be a very big learning experience. I’m going to be put into situations that I’ve never been put into before. Obviously, we know the subject, and we know it’s very touchy. I know it’s going to be extremely hard, but at the same time, I want the best for this film. And I do believe that I’m the perfect Vera for this film. I believe I have a lot to bring to this character.

I also want people to see how corrupt the justice system is. For example, I don’t know if you remember Brock Turner from Stanford University–he was the guy who raped an unconscious girl behind a dumpster. He basically got a slap on the wrist because his father was wealthy and he was privileged. Nothing really happened to punish this guy. And you know what? It’s the same thing in To Avenge. The father is wealthy and a very powerful man. This film shows how flawed and corrupt our justice system can be. And Nick Belial does a phenomenal job with the script. It pushes the subject in your face to the point where you have to see it and you have to view it for what it is and say, “Wow! This happens a lot and something needs to be done about it.”

And I think now in light of the “Me Too” movement and all that is coming out, this film is very timely. I know Nick was working on this long before all that, but this is perfect timing, in my opinion. Lately, I cringe every time I see what’s happening on Twitter because yet another one has come out. 

I know what you mean! It feels like it’s ten different people every day. And big celebrities that you’re like, “Wow! This happened to them!” Literally, it’s everyday life. It doesn’t matter who you are. A lot of people are still afraid to speak up, and a lot of people are afraid to do anything. And whether you’re a powerful man like a director who could do this for a very long time because people are afraid to speak up and afraid to even challenge him…I am glad to see so many speaking out. And To Avenge is the perfect film for what’s going on right now, the perfect subject in light of current events.

And I want to say that I am very glad that this Me Too movement is happening. We’re finally seeing the true colors of people. Just because you’re rich or powerful or you know people or you’re a big name, you shouldn’t use that power to belittle and use people.

And I love seeing all these men like Nick and many others who are coming out in support of these women. I’m always a proponent of women supporting other women, but seeing men support women in this movement is so gratifying and encouraging. 

Absolutely! I am so glad that people like Nick exist in this world and that he is not afraid to bring such a timely project to all of us. And I get to be a big part of it!

Now I know you mentioned writing. Is that something that is kind of on the backburner because of all your current projects?

I’m still writing when I can. Obviously, it’s hard when I have so many other projects going on. I would really like to dig in and do a lot more writing, but I don’t want to take away from acting. Acting is my number one thing, but of course, I won’t be acting every single day.

So what are you working on now?

Well, I’m writing a novel. I’ve taken a script-writing class, and I have a lot of ideas in my head, but I haven’t really started writing any scripts. I’m already focused on this novel; it’s one of my passions.

Can you tell us a little bit about this novel of yours?

Well, it has a little bit of romance, of course, because I love romance. But it’s got zombies in it too. {laughs} Yeah, for my first book, I decided to write about dead people. I really like that kind of world. I like writing about futuristic worlds and zombies are a big part of that.

Well, best of wishes with that, Cabrina. And we definitely look forward to seeing you in To Avenge and hearing more about that role and your work with Nick. It’s so exciting!

Yes, it is, Ruth. And thanks for being my first interview. I really appreciate it.

After having such a marvelous chat with Cabrina last week, I can honestly state that her fervor for acting and her insight into the character of Vera in this film truly radiates from her innermost being. While Cabrina is young, her opinions about women’s issues and the corruption within the justice system are concerns about which she has profound opinions. The emotion she senses about injustices against women is something that inspires her to be enthusiastic in bringing such a timely character as Vera to light. Cabrina’s quiet resolve and refreshing vulnerability is something that instantly connects with those who meet her. Moreover, she is more than amenable to conquering any obstacle placed in her way in order to relate this vital story, and I can sense the energy emanating from the essence of her being. To witness a young woman with such fearless drive is something that is not perceived in every circle, and I am ecstatic that Nick has chosen her to star in his upcoming film, To Avenge. As she works to channel that spirit and stimulus into this tale, I have no doubt that she will more than embody the very nature of the robust and courageous Vera.

As the lead of To Avenge has been cast, I would invite everyone to follow Cabrina on her journey by investigating all her links below and following her where applicable. While some may underestimate her and even consider her an ingenue based on her relatively short list of credits, I can assure you that in the role of Vera, Cabrina is going to smash every expectation and hindrance placed in her path as she immerses herself in this vibrantly stalwart and fiercely determined role!

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

3 Comments

  1. Linda Szymoniak February 8, 2018 Reply

    I don’t think I’ve heard of this actress before, but I’ll have to keep my eyes open for things she’s been in. You’re lucky to be able to interview celebrities!

    • Author
      Ruth February 8, 2018 Reply

      Thanks Linda. I am looking forward to seeing more from her too.

  2. Jess Palliser February 11, 2018 Reply

    I am so very proud of you Cabrina!
    For choosing characters that put the issues of this world in our faces. An actress who can tap into our real life feelings and experiences. Someone as talented as you will help #MeToo victims tremendously with their healing. Depending on how much the director dips into the nitty gritty some of us may need to turn away for a scene or two but just know we already relive this nightmare on the daily so it’s something others truly need to see and understand.
    You are going to be a perfect VERA

    Xoxo
    LadyWarriorJess

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