When you look into the eyes of actor Margarita Zhitnikova, you see a spark. When you watch them on the screen, you see the magic. Zhitnikova is a chameleon, playing edgy, and dynamic characters, breaking societal norms and creating representation along the way.
Born in Stalingrad, Russia, Zhitnikova came to America with their family as Jewish refugees when they were six, settling in Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York. It was hard for them getting used to a new country, a new language and new culture. In their teens, they started drinking heavily, stopped going to school and struggled to find a place for themselves in the world. Zhitnikova found acting to be an outlet, a salvation of sorts, to naturally express their feelings and the chance to be someone other than themselves. While much of Zhitnikova’s younger life was drown in drink, they were always sober when it came to acting class. It seemed as if acting was part of the journey to getting clean and they knew it.
From then on, Zhitnikova was determined to become an actor and creator and started taking roles in small projects around NYC, to sharpen their skills. They studied with acting coaches Seth Michael May, Brad Calcaterra (known for his work in the LGBTQ acting community), and Lesly Khan. Zhitnikova’s acting credits include leading roles in the short films Slice, Appetite, the award-winning Jones, 2 Weeks, Teamwork Like Wolves, and Triple Threat which recently made its world premiere at Oscar-qualifying Cinequest film festival. Triple Threat is a project from Besties Make Movies, an award-winning production company Zhitnikova co-founded with best friend and award-winning filmmaker, Stacey Maltin.
Currently, Zhitnikova is working on the audio comedy The Register, and Zasha, an award-winning short that is being developed for a feature script, with Zhitnikova attached as the lead. They are a judge for the Revolution Me Film Festival and a member of NYWIFT, WIF, Women in Media, The Filmshop, and NYC Women Filmmakers.