I had occasion to meet the lovely Briana Evigan almost seven years ago. At the time, she was wearing lingerie, dumping a body down a mineshaft in the freezing Pittsburgh night. No, this wasn't a romantic meeting (sounds like it though, huh?), we were on the set of SORORITY ROW. At the time, Evigan was a relative unknown (although people may have recognized the last name thanks to her actor dad Greg Evigan), but she had made a big impression earlier that year in STEP UP 2: THE STREETS, and was absolutely a star on the rise. Since then, Briana has appeared in over a dozen films, including MOTHER'S DAY, S. DARKO, and STEP UP: ALL IN and will soon be seen in the second season of El Rey Network's From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series. Me? I'm still stuck in that night in Pittsburgh...
These many years later, it's nice to find Briana is just as sweet and personable as she was when I first encountered her. And her trademark raspy voice is just as alluring as ever, it must be noted. In the below interview, I speak to Briana about her latest gig, her dreams of being a superhero, her tattoos and the weird google keywords associated with her name.
What can you tell me about your character in From Dusk Till Dawn?
Not to give too much away, but her name is Sonja and she becomes involved with one of the Gecko brothers, Seth. They have this really fun relationship throughout the season that's more about making money than having a sexual relationship. I think we both have our own intentions, obviously I can't say what her game plan is, but that's what made her so fun to play, you don't know which team she's on.
She's a bad girl, but is she a really bad girl?
That's the question. I can't give too much away, but she's really funny, super dry and sarcastic. It was so much fun playing her, I really enjoyed this character.
Were you a fan of the first season?
I wasn't really. I loved the movie, but then I watched the first season right before we started shooting. I really enjoyed it, it was very well made.
Do you get to kick some ass?
I do, a little bit towards the end. It's so much fun, it's really all I want to do. I love it so much that I've started up again with fight training in L.A. so I can be ready for the right role when it pops up.
Would you like to be an action heroine?
I want to be a superhero. [Laughs] Forever I've wanted to be a superhero, that would be so much fun.
You've been in a handful of scary movies, and now this, are you a fan of horror?
I'm really not, actually. Everybody asks me this, too. These kinds of roles were popping up for me at the time and you kind of take what you can get. Some are okay, but I think the older I get and the more I find passion in what I'm doing I want to stay away from some of it. Unless I really love the script and there are talented people behind it. I think there's something really fun about being scared, I love scaring my friends, but it's not really my favorite thing to be in. It's not really the stories I want to be telling as an actor.
You haven't done a whole lot of TV, as far as I can tell. Do you like being part of an ongoing show, is that something you'd like to pursue more?
As long as it's the right show. It terrifies me as an actor to get stuck on a show that I don't want to be on, so I'm very selective. I really want to love what I'm doing. And of course, there's the stability of it. I think when you choose to be an actor, you're signing on to not have job security for the rest of your life. There's something fun about not knowing what going to happen tomorrow; in a couple hours you can get a phone call that tells you you're on to the next thing, you're changing your life again.
Did you always want to be an actor, I know it's sort of in your bloodline.
I didn't, actually. I wanted to be a musician and a dancer. But I got Step Up 2 and that kind of opened up the world for me. It's cool, it feels like acting found me. It makes me so happy.
What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't an actor?
I probably would be doing music. Or I'd be doing something with animals, or traveling a lot and working with kids.
What do you do when you aren't acting?
I'm a really easy person, I like everything. [Laughs] I'm a big outdoors person, I love eating, I love cooking, I love exercise and everything physical, for the most part. I travel a lot. I've been backpacking for about two months out of every year, and working with different kids in different villages. A couple family members and I partnered up and started a non-profit in the Philippines, I try to show up once a year and help out with the kids, I'm writing a book about it.
What was the most fascinating place you've visited in your travels?
Cambodia wasn't my favorite, but it was the most fascinating. It was a really hard trip for me, I was working with sex trafficking victims. It was just such an eye-opener for me. Some of these countries are so broken, but you meet these incredible people. So that visit alone had so much power behind it.
Do you google yourself?
It's pretty rare. [Laughs]
When I googled your name, the second thing that comes up is "Briana Evigan Height". Are people obsessed with how tall you are?
I have no idea, I'm a pretty average height, I think. What did it say?
I don't know, it's just the second most popular search for you.
That's so funny. You know what came up for me when I searched my name? Briana Evigan Feet. [Laughs] That's what pops up for me, my hot feet all over the internet.
Whoa! Does that trouble you?
No, I think that's hilarious.
The third most googled thing about you is Briana Evigan Tattoo. Is your tattoo a big topic of discussion?
Well, I've got four tattoos. I've got a tattoo on my shoulder in Polish and Italian. I've got "Butterfly, Protector, Strength" on my ribcage, and my brother and sister have that tattoo as well. I've got a couple of dots on my wrist from three of my friends. And I have a B and a J on my wrist, which stands for Barbara-Jane, my middle name.
What's one thing you'd like to change about Hollywood if you could?
That's a big question. I think so much about this kind of thing, actually. It's a toxic world. It's very hard on women. It really puts things in people's heads, not necessarily the right things. You have to be really strong to be in it and to be able to see through some of it. I would definitely take out all of the people who want to be famous, that would be a first. [Laughs]
Do you ever regret pursuing it?
I think everything has a balance, so if I can find the balance, I'm with it. I feel like I have, I love what I do.