“It’s like climbing out of the mud,” says Angela Sarafyan of 2013, which is poised to be a banner year for the 29-year-old actor who’s been slogging through Hollywood (in commercials, gueststarring TV spots, and a web series called Hot Sluts) for more than a decade. “You know how there’s the A-list? Well at the other end, on the bottom, there’s a lot of crazy shit happening, lots of fear and corruption,” she says. “But I’m pretty stubborn—I know that this is what I want.” The “this” she’s referring to isn’t necessarily mainstream recognition—although that’s bound to happen—but rather the opportunity to explore and question the human condition through acting.
The Los Angeles–based Armenian actor did just that in two high-profile films slated for release later this year: the James Gray–directed romantic drama Nightingale, in which she plays the younger sister to Marion Cotillard’s burlesque dancer–in-distress; and Paranoia, a corporate espionage thriller starring Gary Oldman, Liam Hemsworth, and Harrison Ford. There’s also the recently released Cullen clan finale, the second installment of Twilight: Breaking Dawn, for which Sarafyan bared her fangs as Tia, an Egyptian vampire. “I wasn’t really into it at first,” she says of the billion-dollar franchise. “But it turned out to be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my career.”
Memory Lane: “I was 6 months old when I started walking, and I remember everything. I remember the walls and the room, and I remember falling. People think I’m crazy when I tell them that, but I can picture it like it was just yesterday.”