How do you feel about this career?
I feel really blessed to get to do my dream every single day. It feels like a gift to be able to do something that you want to do. It’s incredible to be on GLOW, the TV show on Netflix, because we’re 14 women and our dreams came true simultaneously. It’s fascinating to be an empowered female in the mainstream. I knew it was going to happen, I just didn’t realize it was going to happen for me. It’s great to be getting to do your dream. Everyone out there should do their dream, whatever it is.
How did you decide to become an actor?
I just knew it in the embryo. My mom was pregnant with me, and I was like, “I have to do acting.” I have never not wanted to do that. We had no television when I was a kid, so we only watched movies and went to really good theater in Edinburgh. I knew that I wanted to do what those people were doing, which was being in their bodies and being artists and caring about the work and being able to heal life and people through stories.
How would you describe your specialty or type?
Like nothing you’ve ever seen before. A Polish person who’s also a gypsy, Roma-blood person—who’s also basically Russian. It’s very interesting to have that blood but also be born in Scotland and then to have Polish be my first language. There’s not a lot of people like me. I never had an example like, “That’s who I can be like.” I had to just blaze my own trail. Now I’m a wrestler though, so I guess that’s my type.
Who is your favorite actor you look up to?
So many, but I love all the women on GLOW. They’re such great actresses. I’ve always looked up to Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett. I love Ryan Gosling. Talk about a really great female actress. Ryan is my favorite. I look up to him so, so much. I feel like he is knocking himself out. Every time he does something, he is just trying to impress himself. I love actors. People think acting is about lying, but it’s actually about telling the truth.
What would your ideal job be?
What I’m doing right now. GLOW on Netflix, that’s my ideal job.
Do you consider yourself to be lucky?
Yeah. But I also worked really hard. We did Bitch recently, and I directed and wrote that. I felt very lucky on that set but also like a hard worker. I’m very serious. I like to prepare. I don’t drink or do drugs or anything. I sleep, and I do this, and that’s it. That’s my life.
“The next generation of artists is going to
be amazing. They’re going to be better
than us. More passionate, more interesting,
more human, more intimate. Everyone’s
scared of the internet like it’s this thing
that’s causing distance, but I think it’s
making us better people.”
— Marianna Palka
What advantages do you have?
My mother never made me think about what I looked like from the outside. She made me think about who I am inside and how to be a great person, so that when you age as a woman or lose something that’s external, you actually gain internal beauty. She was always an example of internal beauty. That’s an advantage I feel like I have as a female. And the love of my family and friends in general. That’s a huge gift, having a community of artists you can always count on. It’s beautiful to be part of a circle like that.
What challenges do you feel the world is facing today?
I think we’re finding ourselves in this weird place where we are probably as divided as we’ve ever been. It seems to be something that’s happening across multiple countries, which leads to tension and turmoil, obviously within a country but also when it comes to international policies. I think one of our biggest challenges is just communication and finding ways to treat each other better and hear each other and love each other for who we are.
What did you do before?
Nothing. I’ve always done this. I was dancing on tables and doing monologues when I was a kid. I’ve never not done this. When I lived in New York, I would go in the subway and recite this Bob Dylan poem that’s in Lion’s Mouth Opens, a documentary about my dad and Huntington’s disease, which runs in our family. I was always just getting it out. I couldn’t stop making stuff into performance art.
What do you feel about the need for instant gratification?
I love instant gratification. I’ll take it right now.