After years of planning, Jana moved to New York from Slovakia, fulfilling one of her many lifelong challenges. Brave enough to face any fears head-on, Jana launched herself into the world of acting soon after arriving in New York, beginning her adventures as a theatre performer. One of her big passions was to always find a connection between her travelling experiences and her acting, as she became immersed in many new and different cultures. Whilst in Australia she even became part of the prestigious "Griffin Theatre Company", which has been a highly regarded "launch-platform" for many well-known actors.

Combining the experiences of travelling with acting work

Sabina: Jana, how do you combine the experiences of travelling with your acting work?

Jana Holkova: I always let myself get inspired by my surroundings. Since I am a very passionate traveller I am lucky to have seen and experienced many different influences and cultures. As an actor, you have to be able to put yourself into imaginary circumstances, some of which you may never have actually experienced or know anything about. So the big advantage in actually having a first-hand, personal experience of something interesting is that you are able to utilise it in your creative process at a later stage. When I lived in Australia, I was a part of the Griffin Theatre Company.

Cate Blanchett, David Wenham and many other great actors started in the same theatre company. It was a terribly exciting and rewarding experience. Still, I am not just talking about the theatre, I also relished getting to know new places and delving into so many different cultures.

From Slovakia to New York

How did you plan and make the big move to New York from Slovakia?

And where did you find the courage to leave your home country and go abroad?

JH: Well, I planned the big move for years, but I had to be patient as I wanted to finish my studies back home first. The courage thing? I get that a lot actually: that it is brave just to pack my stuff and move to another country, speaking with a different language etc., I don’t find it brave though.

To me, it seems very natural. I never saw it tough to move. Just pack the suitcase, book the ticket and got on the plane. That’s all it needs, for me at least. I love the thrill, possibly more so as the outcome is unknown; but the incredible feeling of sitting on a plane, at the start of a whole new adventure ahead of you, is just magical. Now I am here, and I am enjoying what New York is offering me, it seems crazy, but the adventure just keeps going.

Jana's inspiration

Who has inspired you the most throughout your acting journey to date?

JH: Many people have inspired me over the past few years, but I keep meeting new people who inspire me for different reasons. Obviously, from being very young, I do have a few actors that I have always looked up to.

From my own country, I have always admired actors such as Jana Olhova, Tana Pauhofova, Daniel Fisher and Robo Roth. I adore their work, particularly watching all the energy and creativity that they put into every single one of the characters they play. If you want to hear internationally known names, I will say Meryl Streep and Robin Williams. But in all honesty, some so many other amazing actors inspire me too.

What would be your advice to other actors who want to follow their dreams but do not have enough courage to do so?

JH: There is no better advice than ‘just do it’. You have to give it a try, and only then, if it doesn’t work, you can move on to something else you’d be happy to do. But if you never try you’ll always be wondering ‘what if?’