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Model and Actress Janel Tanna Interviewed

Tell me about yourself and career.
I grew up in Buffalo, NY. I attended undergrad and medical school in Buffalo, which I enjoyed very much. I was a gymnast growing up and also ran track and field. I cheered in college. I love science and medicine, but was also born an actor. Life just took me on a certain path. I made short films growing up with neighbors but didn’t get into acting formally until a little later on. I started at community theater as stress reliever and to live out a day dream. I came to NYC and started training in method acting the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute. I also decided it is always good to gain new tools and was curious about Meisner as it was referred to a little bit, so after John Leguizamo (and alum of Strasberg) whom I consider to be an excellent actor, came and gave us a talk I decided I wanted to get some training in Meisner as well (although I absolutely love Strasberg and the method). An actor (or anyone for that matter) is always learning and developing. I have done several indie films up to this point, and a few Sci-Fi genre streaming series among a few other things. I also joined a theater group when I first arrived in NYC and do performances with them when I can. I am not one thing, everything makes me up that I have experienced.


What went through your mind when you found out about your Maxim cover?

I was really excited when I found out I won and then some nerves set in as I realized the shoot was very shortly after 🙂 It was an honor and a privilege to shoot with Gilles and the team at Maxim.

Any plans to do more modeling?

Although I consider myself more an actor, I have done several seasons of various fashion weeks. I have met some really good souls in fashion, so I like to do things with some of those people when I can. Runway is a nice artistic experience and I do enjoy print. I love when an artistic vision is brought to life and when I can help be a part of that.

Tell me about Cozmos. What is your role?

Cozmos is a Sci-Fi genre comedy series where humans and aliens co-exist with the focal point being neighborhood pub and owner, Cozmo. It was a real treat to work on that and is where I earned my SAG card. I play Sheen, a femme fatale assassin from a futuristic area in Eastern Europe, but find myself in space to take care of business. What business does Sheen have? Only time will tell.

What do you hope people like about the project?

Just like any project, I hope people can connect to it while in this case much more comedy driven, so to make people laugh and feel.

What are some highlights from working with the cast?

The cast and crew were pretty amazing. Some of the main players who are very veteran actors are just a treat to watch and learn from (or act with).

What else are you working on?

We just wrapped a short film, Intervention, in which I am one of the lead actresses (there are only two) that touches upon addiction and the consequences of family dysfunction. Without giving too much away, I hope it is at least a small piece to get people thinking and bring more awareness to the opioid crisis and mental health. While keeping in mind it is a deep and intimate snapshot of what someone is going through. It was intense for a short and we are proud of the work of the entire team. Hopefully it will be screening at festivals late Spring. early Summer. That was directed by Linda Palmer with Julia Silverman the other lead actress and producer. Another film I had a smaller role in, Turnover (also directed by Palmer) has been getting a bit of nice headway recently and as we speak on the festival circuit. I will be playing the female lead in an upcoming indie drama, True North.

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.

I did a research fellowship as a medical student on cerebral aneurysms and looking at factors that predict rupture. I also did two years of graduate research on telomere replication. I used to study every day when I got home until bedtime. No joke 🙂 Good times. I also love traveling to France. I love various cities in France and am always so happy to be there. The architecture, culture, food, etc.

What are you watching on TV these days?

I currently have been watching a French Cinema film series that highlight some of the work of the great actress Isabelle Huppert. I like to watch films in series of actresses I consider to be some of the greats. Their performances inspire me. I was lucky and actually got to meet her too!


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