You may have seen up-and-coming actress Danika Yarosh in Showtime’s award-winning show Shameless as Holly Herkimer or as Olivia in Nick at Nite’s See Dad Run. If not, you can currently catch her in the film The Color of Time, starring alongside Mila Kunis and James Franco. With guest credits on shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, 1600 Penn, and In Plain Sight, it won’t be long until Danika Yarosh is a household name. Below, we chat with this beautiful, young star about her lifelong passion for acting and what she plans to major in when she heads to college.
Cliché: Did you always know that you wanted to be an actress?
Danika Yarosh: Yeah, I knew I always wanted to be actress. When I was 4 years old, they were shooting a movie in my hometown. It was The Stepford Wives, and my mom was in it, and she brought my siblings and I along. After filming, I found myself absolutely loving it. I asked my mom if I could try acting, and she initially said no, but I still asked, and she finally agreed to let me try it out.
What was your first role?
I did a lot of theater when I was younger, so probably theater. My first big role was a munchkin in the national tour of Wizard of Oz, and then after that, I did Billy Elliot for eight months.
What’s it like to play the mean girl on Showtime’s Shameless?
Oh my God, it’s incredible. I mean, Holly, she’s so bad. She is so mean, and the writers always write the most funny and outrageous things for her, and it’s always so great. I’m actually really good friends with Emma Kenney [who plays Debbie Gallagher], so in between shooting, we just laugh about the characters. I’m really excited about this season because you get to see a completely different side of Holly that you haven’t seen before. I like that a lot; it was a lot of fun to film. I don’t want to say too much about what happens because I don’t want to give away storylines. I feel like it was a good transition, and I think it was good to show a more vulnerable side of her, where she’s not so confident and mean.
In your new film The Color of Time, some of your co-stars include Mila Kunis and James Franco. What was that like?
It was amazing. You know, it was super cool to be a part of that project, and it was such an honor to be able to work with such incredible people.
Can you tell me a little bit about your character in the film?
I play Irene, C.K. Williams’ [played by Henry Hopper and James Franco] first love interest. We’re teenagers, and he falls in love with me, and throughout his life, it kind of brings him back. Throughout his life, certain things always bring him back to it because as they say, you can never really forget your first love.
Who would you say is your hardest character to portray, if there’s one?I wouldn’t necessarily say that I had any specific hard character to play, because once I get into the character, it just comes very naturally. I don’t really have to think too much about getting into the character.
In that case, which one would you say you were most like and least like?
There are some aspects of the characters that I portray that I relate to, but most of the time there is not a whole lot of relating. With Holly, I relate to the way she takes control of situations. On the show See Dad Run, I played Olivia, and I relate to the easy-going nature. She was just laid-back and went with the flow.
Who is your dream celebrity to work with?
I would say either Anthony Hopkins or Kevin Spacey. They are my two favorite actors.
What are you looking forward to the most this year?
I would say new opportunities. I’m a big believer in “new year, new slate.” I’m just excited for what this year brings in every aspect: school work, acting, and my personal life.
How is it balancing all those three things?
I use a lot of time management, I guess. Work is usually pretty early on in the day, and it sometimes goes to the nighttime. I do all of my schooling at nighttime. I take night classes, and that’s when I do my homework. My friends are really all cool with my schedule because the majority of them are actors, and so we hang out on the weekends and when we are not working.
And if you weren’t acting?
I think I would like to be involved in the industry in some way. Maybe directing. I’m a big science nerd, so maybe I would like to do something with that. I’m going to go to college for biology, so I’d like to do something involving that. I’m definitely going to still continue to work while in college because acting is still my dream. It is what I want to do until the day I die.
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Danika Yarosh interview: photographed by Sami Drasin