Our interview with the unbelievable Hollywood fairy tale of Jenia Tanaeva, a single mother who moved to America with her 2 daughters to launch her first screenplay. Now she is set to star alongside Academy Award winning actor Harvey Keiteland Poppy Drayton (“Downton Abby,” LITTLE MERMAID) in her own modern day love story film that she wrote and produced called SEE YOU SOON, about an unlikely romance between two people, who against all odds give true love a chance.
SEE YOU SOON follows a U.S. soccer star who, after suffering a career-threatening injury in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup, embarks on an unexpected journey of self-discovery and gives true love a chance.
It was a remarkable 2 ½ year journey for Jenia from script conception to final edits. It was through chance meetings with a Warner Brothers exec that led to a meeting with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner who loved her script and gave her notes.
Hi Jenia please tell us a little about you?
I was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, I moved to LA 10 years ago with my 2 little daughters and a big dream. I’m very much into self-growth, I do believe that everything is possible, and that LOVE is the answer to everything.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Mother. Dreamer. Achiever.
Who is your biggest supporter?
Myself. And my daughters.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Being in harmony with yourself, with the loved ones, clearly understanding what you want and moving in the direction where your heart leads you.
How did you get started in the industry?
Really from scratch, I wrote a story and against all odds I believed that I can make it into a beautiful movie. I was working on myself every day- learning screen writing, acting, meeting new people, getting to know Hollywood and looking for a way to make it. I never stopped.
What was your first film?
See You Soon is my very first project- as a writer, producer and an actress.
What is the best and worst part of being a Producer/Writer?
The best is bringing your ideas into reality. One of the sweetest feelings I’ve ever experienced is when you write a story and put together a team of people to work on the project and then you see with your own eyes how your story comes alive!!
The worst for me was making creative changes, when I had to sacrifice something in the story in order to make the film work. And at times, dealing with creative people wasn’t be easy. Everyone has their own ideas and sometimes people get really passionate about them.
What advice would you give to those who want to be in this business?
I’d say it’s important to clearly understand what is that about your project that people are going to love and connect to, what message are you sending? And once you have that – believe in it, take necessary actions and never stop. Remember – “if you can dream it you can achieve it!”
Best advice ever given?
Advice on how to take rejections probably. That if someone says NO to you it doesn’t mean that your project is not good or you are not good enough, it only means that it’s NOT for that person and nothing else. That kept me going through lots of NOs I’ve heard.
Tell us about SEE YOU SOON? And how was working with Harvey Keitel and Poppy Drayton?
Of course it was beyond exciting for me! I felt and still feel endless appreciation to the people who are already successful in the industry, and that they found my project interesting enough to dedicate their time and energy to it. Harvey is a very classy man and a great actor. Being on set next to him was very inspiring.
Poppy is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. She is a joy to be next to and a super talented actress. I feel so lucky to have them in the movie!
When and where will we be able to watch it?
Hopefully everywhere in Fall 2018. Working on distribution now.
What other projects you have been part of?
Nothing from what I’ve done in the past was movie related. I had other jobs in order to live in LA and support my kids while I was working on See You Soon.
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress? And why?
Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. Simply because they are brilliant, their acting is mesmerizing.
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
As long as I have some clothes on, I can leave the house. Even without my phone.
What music do you like?
Happy, dancey, romantic. I love Andrea Bocelli, Ed Sheeran, and Beyoncé.. I also enjoy classical music very much.
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is?
Definitely with my family. Green juice in the morning, hike, maybe going to ride bikes on the beach or horseback riding, nice dinner and a movie maybe.
How’s a normal day in your life?
Every day I do something to stay healthy and fit, I take care of myself- gym, hike, and visit the cosmetologist sometimes. I work a lot, so I always try to spend some time on learning new things and working on myself to become better, stronger, and more productive. I enjoy dinners with family and close friends, I love spending time with my loved ones.
What is your favorite healthy food?
Everything green – green juices, avocado in particular.
And your favorite cheat food?
Russian food. Dumplings and pies.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Leonardo Da Vinci probably. I’m fascinated by him and his creativity. I think he was a creator on the highest possible level – he somehow knew what’s going on in the world and what’s going to be happening in the future and was able to translate it in his work. There are so many things about him that I’m curious about!
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’d love to be involved in making movies that have a positive impact on people. Being based in LA and traveling the world, and in 5 years when I look back at myself I’d love to say “wow! I’ve grown so much!” 🙂
Something people don’t know about you?
I still have a lot of insecurities; I’m very sensitive and vulnerable person inside.
Do you support any charities?
Yes, I help kids in Russia. Mostly ones that need surgeries and their families can’t afford it.
Where we can follow you?
On Instagram @jenia251
Quote: “Everything is impossible until someone crazy enough comes along and makes it possible” CT Fetcher.
Holiday Destination: Dubai, South of France, or Siberia
Restaurant: Nobu Malibu
Drink: Lychee martini, Bellini, Red wine from Bordeaux.
Song: Andrea Bocelli “Canto Della Terra”
Sports Team: LA Lakers
Movie: “As Good as it Gets”, “Bridges of Madison County”, “Titanic”, “Pretty Woman”.
Photo Credit: Nika Vekilova