Danika Yarosh began her entertainment career as a competitive dancer, quickly moved on to a role in “Billy Elliot” on Broadway, and then played recurring roles on “See Dad Run” and “Shameless.” She plays multiple sports and instruments, and also maintains a 4.0 GPA in her schoolwork. So, what does this 16-year-old dynamo do when she needs new challenges? Archery, of course!
Between work and studying for mid-term exams, Yarosh talked to Archery360 about how archery empowers and helps her find calm among the chaos of living and working in Los Angeles.
What inspired you to try archery?
“I’ve actually always wanted to do archery since I was around 7. When I would play outside, I would always make these makeshift bows and pretend I was an elf. I thought it was so cool because to me it seemed adventurous and kind of dangerous, yet so elegant at the same time.”
What surprised you about archery?
“The thing that surprised me the most was how calming and stress-relieving it was.”
How do you feel when shooting the bow?
“I don’t even know where to begin. It sounds kind of cliché, but shooting archery makes me feel alive. It’s so empowering, invigorating and peaceful. It’s like once you start concentrating on the target, everything else seems to disappear for a bit, almost like nothing else matters. It also makes me feel really balanced and in tune with myself.”
What is the best/most fun thing about archery?
“The best part is letting go of the string, and hearing the arrow pierce through the air and into the target. There’s no sensation like it.”
Where and how often do you practice?
“When I lived in New Jersey, my dad set up a small range in our backyard, backstopped with a wall of hay bales. Whenever I go back to New Jersey, I coach with Mike Usherenko (an Olympic-level coach). Since moving to Los Angeles, I recently started working with Khatuna Lorig (who also coached actress Jennifer Lawrence for “The Hunger Games”) and hope to practice at least twice a week, depending on my schedule.”
What is the most challenging part of archery?
“The biggest challenge is being patient and maintaining my concentration. There are so many variables that come into play when preparing to take the shot that you have to go through a mental checklist to maintain consistency.”
Do you have a favorite archery movie or TV character?
“My favorite archery movie character is definitely Legolas from ‘Lord of the Rings.’ Actually, thinking about it, he might’ve been the reason why I wanted to initially get involved with archery. I always secretly wanted to be him.”
Since acting is a family affair for you (her sister and brother also are actors), do you think you’ll get your family to try archery, too?
“Yeah, I think so! My older sister Mani would absolutely love it, as well as my brother Petey.”
Do your friends know you shoot archery? What do they think about it?
“Yeah they know. When I started out, I was really excited so I would send them photos and videos and they thought it was the coolest thing. Right now, one of my friends is trying to convince her parents to let her try it out.”
Do you hope to compete in archery?
“Yes, I would really like to compete in archery one day.”
Do you have your own bow? What kind is it?
“I love to shoot recurves and recently I acquired a Hoyt Grand Prix Horizon. As I get better, I hope to someday move into the Hoyt Formula series or try bows from other manufacturers.”
What are your other hobbies?
“My other hobbies include dancing, singing, boxing, playing the drums and violin, playing lacrosse and field hockey, hiking, reading, hanging out with friends, listening to music, and going to the beach. I’m just learning the guitar so I’m pretty stoked about that.”
What’s your dream acting role?
“I’m not really sure. I would love to do an action film similar to ‘Kick-Ass,’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ or any movie in the Marvel franchise. But at the same time, I would really love to play a character like Lisa (played by Angelina Jolie) in ‘Girl, Interrupted.’”