THE EXCITEMENT OF THE UNKNOWN
An Introduction to Actress and Model KATIE CHONACAS
By Owen Hoffmann
Katie Chonacas is a fresh new face in the acting world. Not only does she have talent, but she loves a good challenge–she’s excited by the unknown. As her career begins its ascent, I decided to sit down and have a conversation with the model, actress, and artist.
Owen Hoffmann: I’m always interested in people’s stories on how they made their way to the Big Apple. Tell me your story…
Katie Chonacas: I have always wanted to live and thrive in NYC. Thank goodness I am finally here! Two summers ago I did a TV show in Brazil. My episode was all about fashion. O’Neal McKnight was on another episode devoted to music. We didn’t shoot together, but the producer of Noble Exchange, Tamara Park, thought it would be a grand idea to connect us. O’Neal had a project going on with Diddy, so he flew out to California and we connected over the summer. His uncle’s 50th birthday party was being held the following month in New York City with Diddy hosting. O’Neal invited me to come, and I obliged. I bought a round-trip ticket, visited my family in New Jersey for a week, and then went to the city for the birthday party. I decided ahead of time I wanted to stay in NYC for a week to take some meetings and see what opportunities could arise. Right away a modeling agency said they would start working with me, so this was great news. At the time, my sister, Anna was living in the city working for a PR company. We were downtown outside relishing in the moment on Lafayette Street having Greek gyros when it suddenly dawned on me: my return flight was that day, and I had already missed my departure by an hour. We were laughing and in shock, and I just never returned to LA! I went to New York on a round-trip ticket and never left.
OH: When did you first start acting and feel the need to pursue it as a career?
KC: I started professional acting when I ventured west to California. I knew only one person in the acting business–honestly, that is all you need: one person to help and direct you when you first start. I was led into the William Anderson acting studio under the Meisner technique. While studying, I was networking non-stop and found a firm to represent me. Finally, after going out for a constellation of projects and then landing a spot on CSI: NY soon after, I started to book more TV shows and feature films. Beginning in childhood I always knew I wanted to be an actor. When I accomplished my goal, I was full of love and excitement, and it thrilled me to entertain people and make them laugh.
OH: Who has been your inspiration?
KC: Inspirations for me have been Reese Witherspoon, Madonna, Winona Ryder, Andy Warhol. I admire Evan Rachel Wood, Sean Penn, James Franco, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Stiller, Johnny Deep, Judd Apatow, James Mangold, David Lynch, and Amy Heckerling.
OH: What has inspired you to keep acting?
KC: My passion, my love for God, and my love for living–for the excitement of the unknown–to be able to create and make something out of nothing, this inspires me to keep going. I love to push the limits. What are limits, really? It’s exciting to challenge yourself and push others to challenge themselves as well. There’s so much going on in life I want to experience, and when I’m exhausted I love to sleep and dream in the heavens, treating myself to bubble baths and massages. I love going to art shows, galleries, and the Met. I feel much love for the theatre as well.
OH: You also are very talented in other areas of the spectrum; tell me a little about this love for art and music, and what roles they play in your life.
KC: Well, thank you kindly. I have been writing since I was a pre-teen. I found myself writing all these deep, emotional thoughts and experiences. Not knowing where this writing would lead me, I just knew it was important to write. I have turned some of my writing into spoken-word poetry. I record in the studio a cappella. I met this amazing producer, Ronnie Beck, who has done all the beats for my spoken-word poetry. Ronnie says he has never created the way we have created. Normally a producer gives an artist a beat and they lay vocals on the beat, but with us it’s the other way around. Ronnie listens to the message in the poem, and interpolates the beats around and within my vocals. It’s pretty exhilarating and exciting to create something no one else is creating. Since then, we have done more traditional radio-ready tracks. Our first single is “Fresh Louboutin,” which can be found on iTunes under Kyriaki Sunday. Last week, I flew Ronnie here to NYC, and we recorded the sister track titled “Paris Fashion Week,” which I dedicated to my BFF and fashion stylist extraordinaire J. Logan Horne. I am obsessed with fashion, so I have incorporated within the lyrics my love for style and the experiences in the fashion world I see and admire. I have decided to call this “fashion pop.” My follow-up track is titled “Rockstar Legend.” I am also very blessed and pleased to announce I had my very first art show in New York City for six weeks at Pie in the Union Square area. The artistic reception for me in the Big Apple has been a grand welcoming. Since then, I’ve been commissioned in a couple of cafes and coffee shops with plans to have more exhibitions in New York and around the world. The pieces can be viewed at KyriakiSunday.com. and soon Artspace.com.
OH: How has social media affected your career?
KC: Social media is the 21st century’s way of bringing back care for one another on the hierarchy of what’s important in our daily lives. The ability to socialize and connect a little deeper with fans domestically and internationally on such a personal level is rewarding because I can instantly see my positive impact in the lives of others. Twitter is especially good for metering that impact and deepening social connections. When my fans feel that personal connection with me, they love me even more, which in the end, has inspired me to heights I never could have imagined. When it comes to Instagram, I am enchanted and enamored; sharing one’s best life experiences through pictures is really the sweet spot of the social media revolution. You can find my twitter and Instagram at KYRIAKISUNDAY.
OH: How do you see your career playing out in the future?
KC: I am a powerful creator. Having built an empire, I am really excited for the present and the future. I love predicting the future by creating it now because the future is a flowing continuation of “nows.” Looking back, I have been blessed with childhood and ten years of delicious experiences in LA and around the world. I am taking all that I have learned, and I’m applying it here in New York. It’s so exciting to see and feel all the dots connecting with aplomb. I know as long as I feel good and stay healthy, things that come into my experience will continue to please me. I am ready for my pleasing future, for I am so pleased with my “now.”
Katie Chonacas is a New York based model, actress, and artist.
Written by Owen Hoffmann
Photography by Owen Hoffmann
Make-Up by Patrice Evangeline
Hair by Yenni K
Design by Marie Havens
Katie Chonacas, 2012, Photography by Owen Hoffmann