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An Actress’s Journey from the Canadian Military to Hollywood

An Actress’s Journey from the Canadian Military to Hollywood
“Acting is a desire that I can remember having since I was 12 years old.”
“Acting is a desire that I can remember having since I was 12 years old.”

“[I] started out in Canada; this year, I ended up in bed with Larry David for ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’” reads actress Anne Bedian’s Twitter description. Known for roles in television movies and shows, such as “CSI” and “NCIS,” the Montreal-born actress continues to prove her ability on the small and big screen.

“Acting is a desire that I can remember having since I was 12 years old,” Bedian explains. “I started acting in small parts in Montreal and eventually went to Toronto after some training. But the glue that brought it all together, that allowed me to entertain the notion of this being a career move, was the Meisner training by my coach, Jacqueline McClintock, who passed away last week,” she continues.

Before acting, Bedian was enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces (CF) from 1990-93 and, at 17 years old, was the youngest member to serve on board the “HMCS Nipigon,” an Annapolis-class destroyer in the CF. “The military environment was for some reason not unnatural to me, and yet it never felt quite like home either. So I knew it was not a long-term move,” she explains.

Anne Bedian

Anne Bedian

The Nagorno-Karabagh War during the same time period was unbeknownst to Bedian at the time. Had she been aware of the conflict, she says, she would have served for Armenia. “During my three years of service, Armenians were fighting for their lives and historic lands of Artsakh, alongside Monte [Melkonian]. Had I known of this, I very well may have ended up in another unit, in mountainous Karabagh. The day I officially ceased to be a soldier—June 12, 1993—was the day Monte died. Maybe there was a soldier in me, some hand guiding me to fulfill that desire in a safer place. Who knows?”

After the military, Bedian enrolled at Concordia University, studying accounting—a feat she was determined to accomplish successfully. “I struggled in high school with math and all math-related subjects,” she admits. “By the time I finished my three-year contract, the military had instilled in me a fierce sense of determination, motivation, and very high self-esteem.” She adds, “accounting was a personal challenge I set for myself, and eventually realized that I loved it!”

Bedian believes that her experience in the military helped her develop a fierce work ethic in the acting field, as well. Her role with Seinfeld’s co-creator, Larry David, occurred on the site of “Palestinian Chicken,” the Emmy-winning, as well as highest-rated, episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, David’s hit sitcom on HBO. She describes working with David as both comforting and humorous. “Between takes, [David and I] chatted a bit and I sensed something paternal about him, especially when I expressed shyness at my parents potentially watching the episode one day. One of the points he kept reassuring me was, ‘At least you’re not naked.’ That’s Larry David.”

Recently, Bedian starred as Sona, the troubled wife in Vahé Berberian’s Armenian-language play Gyank. “As much as I like to think Sona and I are alike, [she] is actually braver than I am. To be able to assert that having children for a woman is not an accomplishment is one thing for someone who does not have kids,” she says. The role was also complicated when the audience discovered the faithlessness of Sona, Bedian reveals. “I really needed to convey my message delicately and truthfully with my heart and soul to be able to rebalance the scale of judgment.”

Shortly after the conclusion of the play, the actress made her way to Capitol Hill for Chris Bohjalian’s presentation of his new novel, The Sandcastle Girls, to politicians there. Bedian also spoke with the ANCA interns about their individual projects, pertaining to each of their fields. “I was truly humbled and quite emotional, and expressed my thanks to them for the immense effort and pride they put into their work. They were very impressive and dedicated, and you could see in their eyes that this was not just another internship program for them. It is one thing to root for Hai Tahd, but it’s another to actually work for the cause. For most us who cannot throw ourselves into a full-time mode of working towards our just cause, we need to support the ANCA as much as possible, as soon as possible,” she says.

During Bohjalian’s speech, the packed Congressional room showed images of Anjar on the screen, and of Armenian skulls recovered from the Der Zor desert. Bedian found herself moved to tears. “No matter how many images I have seen from the genocide, the pain that surfaces is as raw and fresh as the first one I ever saw.”

As for future movie roles, the actress assures readers that there are a few projects coming along, with some hopefully in Canada. But, she says, “it’s usually a bad omen to talk about it until the ink is dry, so mum’s the word.”

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