First Breath Speech by Speak Well US - Better Voice Better Life

First Breath Speech from Speak Well US, is a podcast for anyone looking to improve the way they speak and feel more comfortable in their own skin. Host Lauren Lovett speaks with a wide range of experts from acting teachers to yoga practitioners to her favorite therapist about how to find your true voice.
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May 13, 2016

We’re wrapping up our 6 month season and taking a little break to circle the wagons and cook up an even better show for you!


Jenny Walters is back and we’re talking about walking through your daily life and finding what is nourishing to you and what is depleting -- and as usual I want you to check in with your breath!


The Somatic Experiencing author Jenny mentions is Peter Levine (


Don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list on the website (

We will miss you -- but you’re going to be on our minds and in our hearts! See you soon!

May 6, 2016



An Actor Prepares (Stanislavski) - tried and true about how NOT to act in novel form

The Second Circle (Rodenburg) - prior recommend - about acting, being present and harnessing your life-force for good!

Acting In Film (Caine) - it’s a quick read and some if it seems a bit trickster-like, but it’s a unique point of view about film acting from one who has been doing it for decades.


Human-y (modern classics)

The Alchemist (Coelho) - if you haven’t read this yet, please do… now, please!

The Catcher in the Rye (Salinger) - if you just skimmed this in middle or high school, go back and read it - great seamless example of transparent inner life.

To Kill A Mockingbird (Lee) - story about prejudice vs. compassion - go back and read it!


(front list-ish)

Between the World and Me (Coates) - OK I haven’t read this yet, but it’s on my nightstand and the reviews are nuts! Conceived in letter form from the author to his son.

A Little Life (Yanagihara) - I’m not gonna lie, this book is loooong but the writing is acute and one of the 4 main characters is a actor. Takes place in NYC over several decades. If you have the time and the bandwidth for sadness, it’s a great read.

Girl on the Train (Hawkins) - This was the big thriller hit last year and of course they are making the movie as we speak. Can you say unreliable narrator? (I knew you could).


Ted Talks:

Researcher Brene Brown in her now infamous talk about vulnerability

Neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor - about the stroke she had in her 30’s which transformed her understanding of existence

Dan Pallotta’s most recent about humanity and dreaming together


Classes in LA:

Jamison Jones Acting Studio -- just moved to Burbank

The masterclass is an ongoing scene study class Monday nights from 7-11 in Burbank (across the street from Argentum photolab)

Grand Opening for the Burbank space on May 14th at 4pm and on May 19th at 7pm there is a FREE Open class

It's a class about finding your power as an an actor and honing your skill and unique sensibility. It's also about pointing out your weaknesses and your actor ticks and tells and getting rid of them, it's about awareness and specificity and being able to walk in the audition room or onset or stage with your most confident self, with your work prepared and complete.



Art of Acting 5-week Shakespeare Intensive

5 weeks, 20 hours per week, 10 of which will be in rehearsal for a play -- by WS!

If you mention my name, you’ll get a 50% discount!

Audition Class with me - Breathe -- stop choking!

Two Saturdays per month in June, July and August, I will be giving an audition class around breathing. We’ll focus on scenes or speeches you would be preparing for auditions and how to breathe through them (and not hold your breath) so you can stay connected to the inner life of the character and to your scene partner/reader. Come once -- come again.

We will work with whatever you got and make it better! Space TBA in Burbank or Hollywood.

Email me: if you’re in LA and you’re interested!


Online Class:

How Your Voice Works - Elissa Weinzimmer (Episode #12 - Your Voice and Your Vibrator)

How Your Voice Works is a new online class from vocal health specialist Elissa Weinzimmer, explaining the anatomy and mechanics of the voice in clear and simple detail.

Visit and enter your information to get the first module of the course for free!


New mobile headshot with The Headshot Truck -- in LA and coming to NYC soon!

One of my acting students works as a make-up artist for them - ask for Kristin!

Go where the truck is or have it come to you -- starts at $300 and is quick and fun.



Mediation -- Ok people, I have been remiss in the meditation, but I am re-upping and have found some good apps for you to try...


Meditate Me --Kelly Howell - The Brain Whisperer -- there is one for $2.99 and I think it’s worth it. It’s a guided mediation so we can help our brains to process our thoughts and experiences - like our bring laundry, you know? Dirty shirts cleansed and folded and back in the drawers?



This one is free and the structure of the app is pretty cool with a timer and a choice to engage in challenges and post on FB etc.

There is a plethora of meditations from which to choose, which is super-fab. The sound quality is not up to the bar set by the tech, but they work just fine.

Speech Ring

I’ve developed an articulation tool that everyone is LOVING so far -- we’re not going to sell it online yet, though as we are still in the testing stage, but if you take my summer workshop classes OR you send me a message from the Facebook page we can probably work out a way for you to have one!

Re-brand - taking a break -- if you want to know about all we’re cooking up, please go to the website and sign up for the mailing list so you don’t suddenly suffer from FOMO!

Apr 29, 2016

How a delightful dancer from Columbia and a cunning production guy from Quebec created a successful multi-media entertainment company in LA.

This is the story of Rene and Donald.

Rene Veilleux and Donald Lopez are partners in business and in life. I went to their Verite Entertainment offices in the heart of Koreatown to get to know them and what they do (which is a helluva lot!). They share some great insights about what they look for when hiring actors…(Practice practice practice!)


Check out ALL they do here (

Like them!

Apr 22, 2016

This week it’s me talking to you about your voice. I’ve been noticing people are paying more attention to the way people sound -- especially with the growing popularity of podcasts -- and there have been many studies done of late about how your voice affects both listener and consequently, you.

I give you some homework at the end of the Ep to help you become more aware and more in touch with your voice.

Please send questions and comments to

Apr 15, 2016

This week Jenny Walters is back to help us break up the hard stones of self-criticism and just curious about our confusion.




From the Wiki for Sankhara:

The Buddha taught that all such things are impermanent (arising and passing away, subject to change), are essenceless (not worthy of reifying attachment or aversion), and are not reliable sources of pleasure.

Understanding the significance of this reality is wisdom. Saṅkhāra is often used in this first sense to describe the psychological conditioning (particularly the habit patterns of the unconscious mind) that gives any individual human being his or her unique character and make-up at any given time.


Jenny’s website:


Jenny Walters (Marriage and Family Therapist Intern (#80042) earned a B.F.A. from the University of Oregon, and an M.F.A. from University of Illinois at Chicago, before going on to earn a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She received depth psychological training at Counseling West in Sherman Oaks, CA and continues her training with Dr. Sam Rader in Los Angeles. Additional professional training includes Somatic Experiencing and mindfulness meditation.


Jenny approaches therapy from the belief that each of us holds the capacity and power to heal. To nurture this innate healing process, she helps her clients become aware of the conscious and unconscious beliefs that shape experience. Jenny acts as an empathic and curious guide as clients experience relief from symptoms, gain deeper understanding and find more meaning in their lives.


Apr 8, 2016

This week it’s all about web series and all about winner for best supporting actress,Darcie Siciliano!

We chat about her popular web series, He’s With Me (, and about how she learned to accept herself as one who does not fit in to typical “actress” molds, and how she got more comfortable about her own process.



He’s With Me web series (

Indie Series Network (

Indie Series Awards (

Darcie Siciliano is a professional actress based in NYC who has had the privilege of collaborating on stage with Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris, Academy Award nominee Michael Weller and renowned actress Kathleen Chalfant; and on-screen with such acclaimed directors as Joe Pytka, Bob Giraldi and Neil Kraft.  She has recently completed her second season on the hit indie webseries HE'S WITH ME - for which she won an Indie Series Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, after being nominated twice. Follow her @damedacia and  

Apr 1, 2016

In today’s episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with my pal Nancy Linari about voice-over and particularly the world of Audiobooks!

Nancy began her career in Chicago with the famed improv comedy group, The Second City. She appeared in David Fincher’s Academy Award-winning The Social Network and Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center.  Her numerous television credits include guest-starring roles on Bones, Brothers & Sisters, Criminal Minds, Desperate Housewives, ER, Frasier, Fringe, Grey’s Anatomy, and Modern Family.

On stage, Nancy has been seen in resident and touring productions at the revered Briar Street, Drury Lane, and Wisdom Bridge theaters in Chicago, and the Geffen, La Mirada, Canon and Victory theaters in Los Angeles.

She originated the role of Myrna Thorn/Emily Block in “Ruthless! The Musical” a schizophrenic combination of an uptight, pill-popping 3rd grade teacher having a nervous breakdown, and a sexy, hardboiled newspaper reporter with the hots for the leading lady – all this in Bob Mackie designed costumes!

She’s a popular voiceover artist for broadcast commercials, video games and animation, and starred as Morticia in the ABC cartoon, The Addams Family.

Nancy is also an award-winning audiobook narrator, whose passion for performing books comes in part from her childhood desire to play all the parts.  And she doesn’t have to share a dressing room.

Some of her audio books are:

This first book is the second in the series, following FRAGILE:

Darkness, My Old Friend: A Novel


This is a new release - a romance/chick lit genre:

A Girl's Guide to Moving On: A Novel


And she is one of 3 readers on this collection of Truman Capote stories:

The Early Stories of Truman Capote

Mar 25, 2016

Hey Easy Speakers,

Some recommendations from today’s Good Friday hodge-podge-cast!

Podcasts I like:


Book oriented podcasts I like:


Audio books:

Song of Achilles (Miller)

Paying Guests (Waters)


Check out the Hillary C post on the website:

Speak well….

Mar 18, 2016

This week we talk to actor Joe Mortimer about how a jock from Philly ended up at grad school to study theater, and then on to LA where he launched a very successful career in voice-over (much to the surprise of his voice and speech teachers)!

Joe Mortimer Joe Mortimer is a professional voice actor.  He can be heard on t.v.’s and radio’s trying to convince you to buy something.  He graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia and has an MFA from West Virginia University.  In his free time he enjoys writing and making shit up at Improv Olympic in LA.

Mar 11, 2016

In this episode my good friend Jenny Walters and I talk about being human.

When I teach a class or workshop or coach a client, I am helping not only to open up the vocal instrument, but often times we get into opening up the psyche in regards to self-judging and holding onto old beliefs that don’t work, ideas that tend to manifest physically in the form of tension.

Jenny, an artist and therapist, sheds some light about what goes on in the subconscious and how we might look to form a sense of safety internally so we can free ourselves and our voices from constriction.


Jenny Walters (Marriage and Family Therapist Intern (#80042) earned a B.F.A. from the University of Oregon, and an M.F.A. from University of Illinois at Chicago, before going on to earn a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She received depth psychological training at Counseling West in Sherman Oaks, CA and continues her training with Dr. Sam Rader in Los Angeles. Additional professional training includes Somatic Experiencing and mindfulness meditation.


Jenny approaches therapy from the belief that each of us holds the capacity and power to heal. To nurture this innate healing process, she helps her clients become aware of the conscious and unconscious beliefs that shape experience. Jenny acts as an empathic and curious guide as clients experience relief from symptoms, gain deeper understanding and find more meaning in their lives.

Mar 4, 2016

Following your fear vs following your bliss is what this episode is about. An email I got from Marie Forleo got me to thinking about fear related to our voices and how we speak, and how working on freeing our voices might well we worth the risks.

Feb 26, 2016

This week we connect with screenwriter, Deb Setele to hear about her PitchFest experience. We get some great tips and take-aways about how to handle the stress when you’re pitching -- which goes for auditions too!

Deborah Setele

Screenwriter/Story Analyst

Deborah started her career as a screenwriter by writing short stories in her bedroom as a kid. In an effort to become more social as a teenager, she studied acting in high school and then continued her acting and theatre studies at Virginia Tech. While her love of movies brought her to Los Angeles, she also wrote and performed sketch comedy. After some time bouncing around different day jobs, she landed at a production company where, as part of her job, she had to read screenplays every day.
She then studied screenwriting, at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program where she earned a Certificate in Screenwriting. Her credits include the independent feature “G.I. Jesus” (winner of the grand jury prize at the Cinevegas Film Festival) and the short film “Latchkey.” In addition, she provides script coverage and/or story notes for hundreds of scripts for contests and production companies.

Her IMDB page is here

Feb 19, 2016

This week I’m talking to producer, director, actor, stunt-person, America Young. We talk about how she broke into the business from Nebraska of all places, and how she went from being accepted into med school to having 32 stunt credits on IMDB, and the importance of good relationships.

America Young is currently working in many aspects of film-making. A show she co-created has been licensed by POW! (Stan Lee’s production Company) and Comediva. She has directed 5 entire web series, and episodes from two others. She has directed 2 music videos and 7 shorts. America is so excited that all her years of production experience and geek obsessions culminated into directing her first feature, a pop-culture comedy called, The Concessionaires Must Die!! which is now in post

Her IMDB page is here and her women in film project is

Feb 12, 2016

This week I Skype with Elissa Weinzimmer, a vocal health specialist. She’s got a new program explaining in detail How Your Voice Works launching later this month.
She’s also the co-creator of the Vibrant Voice Technique with David Ley where vibrators are used to improve your vocal production and resonance.

Elissa attended the University of Southern California and after losing her voice she began to study and then became certified in Fitzmaurice Voicework ®.
In 2012 she earned an MFA in Theatre Voice Pedagogy at the University of Alberta

Feb 5, 2016

This week I’m letting you in on a conversation I had with veteran dialect coach, Andrew Jack about being on big sets like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars.

Check out his website here. I also tell you about how they found the sound for BB8 for the latest installment of SW.

Here is the article in Post mag


Jan 29, 2016

Oh great, I’m sick!


Hello Easy Speakers,

So this week I’ve been overcome by the dreaded seasonal cold. Those of you out in snowy places are permitted to snicker at our LA “seasons” but it the temps out here do shift and that shifting has an effect on your bod. If you’re like me, you get a bit frustrated with the whole runny nose hazy existence BS, and that frustration can turn into white hot fear if you have to perform, present or say… record a podcast episode.


This week the Ep will be short so you don’t have too much sniffling in your ears, but I thought we should cover what do about your voice if you’re sick.



    1. Steam -- If you’ve ever seen the movie Terms of Endearment you may remember the most unromantic shower scene in movie history. No naked bodies here, folks! Debra Winger and Jeff Daniels in the heat-clouded bathroom next to the running hot shower. They’re there because their baby has a bad cough and Debra is trying to use the steam to break through the mucus so the tyke can breathe clearly again. You can do this too by either with a hot shower, a steam room or creating a face steam by boiling water and once it’s giving off steam, shut it off and have a towel over your head and hang your little face over the steam (make sure it’s not TOO hot)! If you have essential oils like eucalyptus or lemon (or some real lemon juice) you can put a bit of that in the water. Steaming should be done until you feel the mucus breaking up, but no longer than 10 mins and again - make sure if you’re in close contact with the steam that it’s not too hot!
    2. Let’s talk about tea with lemon and honey… and ginger! -- Here’s the deal: caffeinated tea and lemon are acidic, so having a big thermos full is a bad idea because it can dry you out. Instead choose decaf herbal teas with a squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of honey (try to use raw as it has more benefits). Add some grated ginger into your tea or get ginger tea - I think Yogi Teas makes a good one - as ginger helps to reduce inflammation and clear congestion.
    3. Cough drop story -- The like do you with cough drops -- those Halls can be OK in a real pinch but they are drying too because of all of the menthol going into your system. Instead try Ricola or another natural brand without too much menthol in it.


  • Humming -- we can borrow from singers when we lightly hum before we have to do our public speaking so the vocal folds can vibrate and some of the phlegm that may have taken up residence there can be released. A soft hum is best and don’t do it consistently for an hour or something because then you may just tire out what voice you do have.
  • Placing your tone higher -- Now I don’t mean PITCH like Minnie-mouse style -- NO. I mean as you do a simple (not to long) warm up or humming, think of placing the tone in your forehead or even higher. This may result in a shift in pitch but only a bit. The idea is to bypass the nose if it’s blocked and breathe through your mouth while using your support to fuel the roundness and fullness of the tone.
  • Stay hydrated - skip the dairy and alcohol -- Listen, don’t drink a ton of soda, certainly not dairy (or Hot Toddies) when you’re ailing - go for good ol’ water, and enough of it so your pee is clear. I mean, I wish you would do this anyway but certainly when you’re sick. If you’re under the weather and your body and head aches, sometimes it’s the dehydration of a fever that can contribute to that achy feeling because you need water to help your systems move fluidly. Drink in that H2O!
  • Eat Light, Eat Healthy -- It’s sometimes tempting to go for the comfort foods like cookies, but really what you need to eat are foods that will strengthen the immune system and adi faster recovery. Sugar don’t do that! Do the usual chicken soup, fruits and veggies (unless you’re having the runs, then you’ll need foods that bind a bit like saltine crackers).
  • GO TO BED! Oh I know “Busy is the new Black” but seriously - the best strategy can be sleep. During sleep your body can begin to repair itself and refuel your immune system. If you continuously run yourself ragged and then wonder why you get sick a lot...hmmm!



Jan 22, 2016

This week I wanted to broach the topic of Clarity. Most of us interested in vocal production and accent management are interested in being clear when we speak, right? Well I believe clarity begins inside us with our intention -- before we can communicate clearly we need to be clear about our intention, in our message that is born in our body-mind.


The teacher I mention is Patsy Rodenburg and the book is:

The Second Circle, How to use positive energy for success in every situation


Send me comments and questions!

Jan 15, 2016

This week we are visited my actor, Maya Eshet who plays Meredith on the series Teen Wolf (MTV). We talk (and laugh) about her first auditions in LA and her continuous and very specific work on her accent.

She offers some great observations about getting started with your career and about waiting for the “right” moment.

Maya Eshet is an Israeli actress best known for her role as Meredith Walker on the MTV series, Teen Wolf. She has also appeared in such films as Voices from the Heartland and Bro What Happened as well as many plays including Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale.

She attended The Stella Adler Art of Acting studios in New York, and now lives with her husband in North Hollywood.

Jan 8, 2016

In this Episode, Phillip Charles MacKenzie talks about the camera and how…”it really looks into your soul, and your soul better be available...” We talk about starting out with co-star roles and why owning your uniqueness, even when the role is small, is important and can get you more work.

Philip Charles MacKenzie is an award winning actor and director.

After graduating with an MFA from the Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program, he worked as an actor in regional theatre, the New York stage and in such films as "Dog Day Afternoon".

Moving to Los Angeles, he appeared in many of the most popular shows on television; "Cheers", "Family Ties", "Bosom Buddies", "Three's Company", "Remington Steele", "Newhart", "St. Elsewhere” as well as several Movies for Television. He was also a regular cast member in nine pilots and several short-lived series.

He played the role of the flamboyantly gay character Donald Maltby on the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed comedy series "Brothers" for the Showtime Network. For his work he won the Cable Ace Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series as well as garnering four more acting nominations and a nomination for Best Director.

“Brothers" afforded Philip the opportunity to move into the directing world, receiving a Best Director nomination in the process. From there Philip became a full time director in the half-hour genre directing such shows as "According to Jim", "Roseanne", "Frasier", "George Lopez", "Dharma and Greg", "Suddenly Susan", "My Wife and Kids", "Normal, Ohio", "Just Shoot Me", "Ink", "Living in Captivity", “Sonny With A Chance” and many others.

In 1998 he directed the feature, "Attention Shoppers". In recent years Philip has also written several screenplays.  

Dec 18, 2015

In this episode Lauren talks directly to you -- a bit about breathing, vocal placement and the first steps toward accent management. Please email us with questions after you listen and don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list on so you can get your free gift on Dec 24th!

Dec 11, 2015

In this week’s ep, a great conversation with actor, teacher, Artistic Director, Rob Nagle about how a shy kid got bitten by the bohemian actor lifestyle and what 3 essentials actors must master in order to be successful artists. Bitterness “takes a powder”!


Rob Nagle is a proud member of the Antaeus Theatre Company and the Troubadour Theater Company.

Recent credits include the world premieres of Meghan Brown’s The Kill-or-Dies (with Electric Footlights and Moving Arts), Melissa Ross’ Of Good Stock and Samuel D. Hunter’s Rest (both at South Coast Repertory), as well as James Still’s Appoggiatura at Denver Center Theatre Company. Also, Itamar Moses’ Completeness at Vs. Theatre Company and James Joyce’s The Dead at Open Fist Theatre Company.

Other theaters include Portland Center Stage, Mark Taper Forum, Old Globe Theatre, Centerstage, San Jose Repertory and Shakespeare Theatre Company.


Film: Boost, Fishing Naked, New Year’s Eve, Life As We Know It, The Soloist, Fun with Dick and Jane, Cellular and American Wedding.


Television: recurring roles on Eli Stone, Lincoln Heights and Dawson’s Creek, as well as guest appearances on Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, Criminal Minds, Castle, Major Crimes, NCIS, Mad Men, Cold Case, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Without a Trace, Everwood, The Guardian and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Training: Northwestern University. Wife: Heather Allyn. Pug: Roosevelt.

Dec 4, 2015

In this episode, I’m chatting with casting director, Dan Shaner about what he looks for in auditions and a bit about how the network TV system works. He’s got some great advice about how make acting your daily job - whether you’ve got a gig or not.

Dan Shaner has been a Casting Director in film, television and new media for over 25 years, and has cast pilots and/ or episodes for every major studio and network.  He also teaches Business of Acting courses at USC, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Art of Acting Studios, and coaches actors privately in Career Counseling and Audition Technique and Preparation. He was born and raised and lives in Los Angeles. And also makes a kick-ass pumpkin cheesecake....Just sayin...

He can be reached at,, and of course on Facebook.

Nov 20, 2015

Here in episode two, I talk with Don Williams, the Managing Artistic Director of the Art of Acting Studio in LA. We talk what he looks for in a potential student or actor for the shows he directs, as well as theater vs. film and TV.

Since 2002 Don has worked as Head of Acting, Managing Artistic Director and Chief Academic Officer for the Art of Acting Studio, Los Angeles and the Stella Adler Studio NYC. Don holds an MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory and BA from California State University Fresno.

As director, Don Williams off- Broadway: Lebensraum, Turn of the Screw, Look Back in Anger, Libidoff.
Regional: Waiting For Lefty, Marisol (LA premiere), Long Way Go Down (LA Premiere), Muckrakers (LA Premiere) Macbeth, Speed The Plow, Midsummer Night's Dream, the Laramie Project, Carrying, All in the Timing, Prelude to a Kiss, The Dining Room.

At New York University: The Shape of Things, Dancing at Lughnasa, North Shore Fish, , That Championship Season, Twelve Angry Jurors, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, the Rimers of Eldritch.

As actor stage: the Neighborhood Playhouse, 78th Street Theatre Lab, the Harold Clurman Lab Theater, New York University, The Producers Club, the Denver Center Theater Company, the Marin Theatre Company, the San Jose Stage Company, the California Shakespeare Festival, Theatre 1050 and the Hot Ink Play Series to name a few.

Nov 9, 2015

When I thought about creating First Breath Speech - the website, blogs, videos and podcasts -- I knew I wanted to explore the voice and how we speak, and also how that integrates into other aspects of our lives. I’m interested in how our voices are affected by the way we live and what we think and how we see ourselves. I want to offer ideas as well as practical solutions for actors and public speakers so each person can feel prepared and well-spoken -- though what you say is entirely up to you…


In this, our nascent episode, I talk with my friend, Jessica Mariglio who is a yoga practitioner and teacher. We talk about pieces of yoga you can do in your car or a small room to help warm up the breathing mechanism, and the head, neck and shoulders. We also touch on strength and balance.

Jessica Mariglio has been practicing yoga and meditation for over 10 years. She received her 200hr certification from the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Dalat Vietnam, and has a MS in Conflict analysis and Resolution from George Mason University in Virginia. Jessica currently resides in Los Angeles where she teaches meditation and classical hatha yoga, reads lots of books, and plays with her neighbors' dogs.

Jan 1, 2015

In this episode Laura and I talk about the voice and how UNrelaxing acting is, as well as her time in Moscow in the 1990’s and how things have changed.