It was then that she turned her thoughts to acting.She took lessons and small roles on LA’s very small theatre circuit.There is a stigma attached to being a model-turned-actress, or MTA, and Russo struggled for a decade, landing a couple of small TV roles before her big break came in 1991, when, aged 37, she landed the part of Detective Lorna Cole in was that when I went up for it, I had modelled for a zillion years and they were like ‘okay, you’re going to bring a model, whatever’, and I went to meet with the director Richard Donner. “My daughter was a teenager and I wanted to spend more time with her,” she says.When I left the interview, he didn’t read me, we just chatted, I heard that he said, ‘she’s not really right, she’s not tough enough’. And I went back and showed him my street girl and told him that when I said, ‘get against the fucking wall’, people were going to believe me.” The next few years were boom time for Russo. “The other thing is that I don’t ‘love, love’ acting.In the mid-Nineties, Russo was the woman every woman wanted to be, one who combined a smouldering screen presence with intelligence and strength.
Russo dropped out of high school and, at the age of 14, began working in an eyeglass factory to help with the family income.
“Mostly mothers, there were no fathers present, your regular kind-of stabbing on the street.
It was a funky-assed neighbourhood in the Sixties and the kids had to raise themselves.
It doesn’t seem that hard for film makers to see women in that way, to regard them as something more than trimming.
, showed her the script about a freelance video journalist working in Los Angeles, Russo was beguiled by the part of Nina, a television producer of a local news show, “She’s colourful and I’ve never played a desperate character and tried to make her feel human,” she says.