In an exclusive interview, Flickering Myth sat down with Kadia Saraf to talk about acting, life in New York and her role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit…
Hi Kadia Saraf, welcome to Flickering Myth! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Switzerland. My father Boaz is Yemeni-Israeli, he’s a jazz musician. And my mom is Swiss and a humanitarian. I moved back and forth between Switzerland and Israel until I moved to New York in 2004. So I can technically call myself a New Yorker now.
Was it always your dream to be an actor?
I was born with the acting bug! Around age 3, I joined my mother in a dance class. I sat there watching her dance so gracefully and I wanted to be part of that. I danced and performed wherever I could: plays, local theaters, talent competitions etc. But really, I remember watching TV as a young child and just knowing that’s where I belonged.
What was your first professional acting gig?
The TV show Rescue Me. I’d never been on a TV set before, so I took a gig as a background actor to see what it was like, and director Peter Tolan chose me for a little featured bit. So that was a nice first experience. And it’s been uphill since then!
Congrats on your role in the award winning TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Can you tell us about the episode and the role you played?
I’ve been playing US attorney Anya Avital since season 23. But episode 10 of season 24 called “Jumped In,” which aired on January 5th this year, is special because I was involved in the creative process of it. Both my husband and I were credited with “story by”. The episode tells the stories of deaf survivors of sexual assault, played by four deaf actresses. Deaf folx experience tremendous challenges when trying to report an assault to law enforcement like lack of interpreter availability and lack of access to resources. They face so many obstacles that hearing people never even consider. I’m pleased that the episode was well-received by the deaf community because their struggles were depicted accurately, which rarely happens on TV.
Who else was in the episode?
Mariska Hargitay, Ice T, Terry Serpico, Kevin Kane, Jasmine Batchelor, Octavio Pisano, Molly Burnett, Camryn Manheim, Robert Manning Jr., and Maurice Compte. We cast four deaf actresses: Jackie Roth, Anjel Piñero, Ashlea Hayes, and Elisa Richards.
Where did you film the episode?
We shot the majority of the episode at Chelsea Piers where the stages are for the show, and some of the scenes were filmed on location in the Bronx.
You mention your husband, Terry Serpico. Do you help each other with acting tips etc.?
Yes. We help each other with auditions and self-tapes. It’s fun! We absolutely love working together!
How would you describe the projects that you are typically drawn to?
That’s a hard question to answer… These days there are so many amazing projects across all genres. If the story and characters are well-written, then nothing is off the table.
How can people find and follow your journey?
Our thanks to Kadia Saraf for taking the time for this interview.