SKII: Who Is Violett Anna Licari?
Violetta: Violetta is… a woman who was born to an Italian father and a Greek mother. I was raised in a mixed cultural because of that. I was born in Queens and my parents moved us out further on Long Island when we were children. I have 8 siblings. I will always consider myself a Long islander. But, right now, I live in a town called Old Medford in an old Victorian built in 1892. House has about an acre of property and we are nestled in woods.
SKII: Where are you out of your 8 siblings.
Violetta: There are 3 girls and 5 boys. I am the 3rd oldest.
SKII: You live in Old Medford. How long have you owned that beautiful house?
Violetta: Well, we actually bought that house 33 years ago. It was an old farm which grew grapes and tobacco. This gave us fertile soil. Although we don’t farm, but we do garden. We’ve lived here for a long time. Me and my husband and three kids who was raised there. My oldest son is married and he has three boys. My daughter is married and she has a son and daughter. And my youngest has the two babies.
SKII: What schools have you attended?
Violetta: I went to High School in Seldon. I started out in Brentwood High. My father decided to move us further out on the island. My father wanted a more rural area to live in. So, I went to Community College where I received my Associates degree in Arts. From there, I transferred to State University. But my 3rd year there, I transferred to a private college “Dowling College” where I received my Bachelors degree in Education. And from there, I transferred to Bible College. I really didn’t want to go but, It was something that I needed to do. In graduate school, I received a Masters in Counceling and the religion education. I continued on to receive my Doctrin in Religion Education.
SKII: What motivated you to start acting?
Violetta: Well, I started acting in Kindergarten. I was doing my 1st play and I actually loved the attention. My parents weren’t so oriented in the industry and frowned on it a little bit but, they allowed me to take over the garage . I set up my own little stage in the garage. I actually began putting on plays and also making all of my friends be the students while I became the teacher. One of our favorite plays that I have done was…. when my brothers helped me. We hung a sheet up and behind it we acted out scenes. You just saw the silhouette of us acting like we were pulling boots and other things out of a person’s body. I was probably around 10 by then.
SKII: What type of jobs have you held before acting?
Violetta: I graduated with a degree in education. So, I went into education. Prior to that, I’ve worked in department stores. Cosmetics department stores, bakery’s etc.. I even worked on campus during the time I was attending school. I began working in the theater department during my 3rd year in college. I’ve learned about costumes and how to build things like doing construction. But, I put my acting on hold to start working in my teaching field. I did regional theater also. I belonged to a theater Group and we’ve traveled around the tri-state area to act out plays. We did a lot of local stuff and then I concentrated on my teaching because I got involved in missions.
SKII: So tell me something about your missions?
Violetta: While I was teaching, I was attending a conference out of state. The conference was a group of people who were representing Russia. They were looking for teachers to help the Christian teachers learn how to teach Roman Christian prospective. I had an appointment to meet with the person who was in charge of that program. But, while I was there, I met someone else who was involved with a program called Project Philip. It was about delivering Bibles to communist countries. Underground work. I spoke to them and they said, I think this is something you might want to pray about. I prayed about it and I knew the reason I was at this conference and it was not for Russia but, for Project Philip. That was my introductions into Meshings.
SKII: Tell something about your project Philip.
Violetta: I have done some work in the Philippians prior to that. I was working with people who were living at squatter villages. They were feeding the hungry and clothing the poor. But, I got involved with a program that delivered Bibles to areas that wasn’t able to receive them. I pretty much did that in communist countries. I became known as a Bible Smuggler. In 3 different countries, I smuggled Bibles. And in those countries, I got caught by police in 3 different times. When becoming a Bible smuggler, you travel with a large group when you first start out smuggling those Bibles..
We’ve traveled anywhere with 18 to 24 people. But, when you get to Customs department, you break up into groups of 2 to 3 people. So if you got caught, your on your own. One particular time, I was called of the line because my bag looked suspicious. I was ushered out of the main room and into a back room where I was interrogated. Of course the team I was with was long gone out of the building. I was detained for a few hours. The Customs police agreed to let me go, only after I promised to not come back into their country.
They confiscated all of my luggage and then they let me go. While being interrogated, I’ve just been praying. And I didn’t speak the local language that they spoke while they were interrogating me..
So, I prayed to GOD to get me out of there. And he did. I didn’t know where my team was. I continued to pray. As I walked out of their door, I looked across the parking lot and I saw a group of people standing. It appeared to be the people I was with but, they were too far for me to tell. As I got closer, sure enough it was the group of people I was with. They were detained because their pickup person was detained. They had been in prayer for hours, for me to be delivered out of the hands of Customs. We waited for about half an hour before our pickup person came and got us. Everyone else’s Bibles were delivered to the underground churches. Our mission was complete. In 1 of the countries I was caught in, I slipped money in my passport and that got me out of that situation. The underground church would divide a Bible. After they finish reading that part of the bible, they exchange them to get the other parts to read. I’ve done Bible smuggling for about 5 years more after being caught by the Communist.
After graduating from college, I along with every other graduate was put into this college catalog which spoke about what the graduates were doing. Well, this couple in India who were educators, somehow got our information and wrote us a letter. When we got back to the states, we contacted the people from India. Within a couple of weeks, we had a flight itinerary set up and off to India we went. We’ve been working in India since 1995. We’ve built 2 orphanages. 1 was in the state of Karnataka which was outside of the city Mangore. We got invited to another state called Andhra Pradesh. The pastor that was working there had a robust ministry. He had a lot of pastors working under him. They were helping many villages but, they needed more help. So we went and got involved. They had 25 orphans. So we built an orphanage that held 50 kids. We are now working towards building another orphanage to accommodate 100 orphans. I’ve also been involved with South Africa building Safe houses during the late 90’s to 2001. I met a woman who made soup and sandwiches in South Africa for the people.. The government saw what she was doing. They told her that they would help her. They gave her the authority to help the kids who were being abused. She reached out to people within the ministry. We heard about it and said that we would help. The government then gave her land and told her that she had the land for 99 years only if she can find some people to help build safe houses for the kids. We went to South Africa to help build safe houses for the boys and girls who was being abused. Then the woman assigned 1 woman for 12 girls and 1 man for 12 boys.
While working there, I saw a woman who was burned from the top of her head to the soles of her feet due to an electrical fire. All of her skin was burnt off. There were nothing but a scar on her body which reminded her of what she’d been through. She lost her hearing and speech because of that. She was raised in this condition. They asked us to pray for her. And we did. My ministry partner got on 1 side and I was on the other side of her and we began whispering the name Jesus over and over. We were praying that she would hear us saying the word Jesus to her. She began to open her mouth and started saying the name Jesus. Jesus. Not so clear but you were able to understand what she was saying.
SKII: How did you get involved with BIG SKY?
Violetta: About a year and a half ago, I was cast in another production. Some people who were involved in this production had approached me and said that they knew of a production company which is new. They are just in the developmental stage of things. The planning stage. We think you might be good for it. Are you interested in it? They also told me that the production is a TV show called BIG SKY. It’s a western show dated back in the 1800’s. It’s something clean and wholesome. It’s a western show like it used to be in the olden day. I told them that I was very interested in it. They asked me for my bio, my resume, my headshot etc. I gave it to the production company BIG SKY. I got a call a few days later. They invite me into the cast of BIG SKY. It’s still in the pre-production stage. We’re interested if your interested. So I got to be part of the cast. It took them 2 to 3 weeks to decide what my part would be. When I was contacted by the Executive Producer who said, we have your character. Her name will be Daisy Hicks. She’s married to the barber and she is the town’s nosey body. I said I loved it. Because of my experience of acting on stage and some with film, they asked me if I would like to become an executive producer. As the producer, I approach the executives and say, I have a great idea. What do you think about a tour for meet-up? We would get the cast together and go on a tour around the country. Stage meet-ups in many cities. Gather as many cast members as we can in the city. Do some interviews. And have the cast sign their autographs. They loved the idea so I ran with it.
I do have a tv show of my own. That’s how the tour started. It progressed into an international tour. I’ve been all over the country meeting with people and interviewing them. During the course of that, I was asked to become a Co-Executive Producer. So my primary duty as an Co-Executive Producer, is to do promotions. Every time we meet-up, we invite people to sign autographs. It’s awesome.
SKII: When do you think the production is going to kick off?
Violetta: Well, we closed casting. We’re moving towards the project. We are working on a project called the towns people. It’s a combination of reels from actors. The best ones are being chosen for the sizzle reel which is now leading us into the pilot. Our anticipation is leading us to shoot in late spring and summer.
SKII: Can you talk a little about your current movie your in?
Violetta: Sure. I’ve been cast in a film called Garden of Thorns. It’s a James Arcurie, Lauren Levin film. They are the film makers. Brilliant film makers. They’ve done a number of films. They cast me as a school teacher in this WW2 story about resistance. It’s a true story based on Roger DiAnfresio. He was a child during WW2 in France. He became an informant for the French resistance. He was never recognized as an informant. He wrote his amazing story as an adult. He became a world renowned barber working for all of Hollywood. He finally wrote his book in his older years. In that book, Lauren Levine and James Arcurie read his story and they was astounded. They contacted him and through him, they made his book into a film. It’s the short version of it and of course it took some rewriting but, it turned out to be an awesome film. My scene is as of a school teacher. The scene is; Roger Dianfresio was sitting in a classroom setting and one of his friends were taken from the classroom. I wanted to protect him but I couldn’t because I knew it would bring danger to the rest of the class. I had to let this child go to the Nazi’s. Roger were fighting them to get his friend back but, it didn’t work. My house was used for some inside filming. I have a period home. Actually my house is used for quite a bit of filming. It was built in 1890 so, the film industry use my house for a lot of filming.
SKII: Tell me about your television show.
Violetta: My Television show is called Under The Big Sky. The network is MADHOUSETV.com. It’s an internet tv station. Under The Big Sky – I chose that mainly for promoting Big Sky the tv show. It gives opportunity for the actors to come on the show. We get to know them on a deeper level. I update what’s going on with BIG SKY. The audience and the fans get a way to see what the progress is. They get to meet the actors that’s going to be on the scene.
SKII: What’s Next Violetta?
Violetta: I have a lot of things going on next year 2016. With the tour, we’ll be in some major events throughout the year that will be posted. I have a few films that I’m cast in. Besides Garden of Thorn, I’m cast in a movie called Gillies. It’s based on the place called Gillies from Urban Cowboy. I’m filming that in the summer of 2016. I’m also cast in a movie that takes place in the 1400’s. That’s going to be filmed in England.
SKII: Who inspires you the most?
Violetta: My biggest inspiration is Dr. Carol Mackhoney. She’s always been an inspiration to me. We met 30 years ago and we didn’t like each other when we met. We both are very different. We had both come out of friendship relationships that was not good. We both decided that we didn’t need that type of relationship. . We both agreed that a cordial hello in the morning would be good for the both of us because we both worked in a school as teachers, in which our rooms was right next to each other. . And that’s all we would say to each other. One day Carol said, I had to pick up my son from camp. I decided to go along for the ride. It was a 2 ½ hour ride to her sons camp. While we were driving, we’ve discovered how different we really are. Especially in music. She was playing some music that should have been thrown off the radio 80 years ago. I went to change the channel, she said… Don’t touch that Channel. She said, in my car, we will listen to my music. In your car, we will listen to yours. I stood quiet for a while.
So when we arrived at the camp ground, she had a trailer there. She then asked me… Your hungry? I said yes. She opened up a box of cheese it. I love cheese its. She then said, let’s go tubing down the river. I love tubing. We both got into the tube. We were in that tube for 4 hours. We became the best of friends that day. We both went back to school for our doctrines together. We graduated together. We both graduated with a 4.0 and with honors. We were invited by the chancellor to be the flag bearers. We did everything together from that point on with tubing. Our family became the best of friends. We did everything together. As different as we were, we were brought together by one person. That was the belief of GOD. A few years ago, the LORD took John home. That was her husband. It changed some things because we weren’t two couples anymore. Carol has dealt with breast cancer. A double mastectomy. She over came it. She had a heart attack. She had a stroke. She overcame that. She encourages everyone to keep your eyes on the prize, which is CHRIST. She is now dealing with Leukemia. She’s very ill and the doctors are not giving her a good report and yet she posts everyday about CHRIST. How he is our strength. She said to not look at your circumstances, but believe in the LORD.. Keep your eyes on the prize. CHRIST. No matter what she is hit with, she always encourage everyone to keep their eyes on the LORD. So, out of everyone I’ve ever met, Carol is my biggest inspiration.
Tell me something about your brother.
Violetta: My brother Ron. He’s a younger brother. My parents only had 4 children. Then they lost a child. They waited 7 years to have 4 more. So we call it The Original 7 Memorex. Same parents but years separating the group. Ron is just below me in age. He was a spoiled little brat growing up. He was the baby. It seemed whatever he did, we all were blamed for it. We were all competitive when it came to sports. He went into the navy. Had children. Recently he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As busy as we are, we don’t stay in communication with each other as we should. When he was diagnosed. He had a major surgery where they took out 80% of his pancreas. His spleen and his gallbladder too. The surgeon said, she got everything she could see. So now it’s a watching and wait period. He said, being sick made him think about life. Because, when you are well, you don’t think about dying. But, when your faced with the fact that I can die from this, then you start to think about what’s important to you. And family is important to Ron. He does not go to church but, he believes in GOD. He said, tell everyone who is praying for me, I feel the prayers of the saints. He goes to work and goes to chemo. Doctors tell him that he should not work but, he said that he has to work to support the family. With all that is happening to him, it is making his belief in GOD stronger.
SKII: If you can go back into time, what will you tell a younger you?
Violetta: If I had to go back into time, I would tell a younger me to follow your dreams and don’t let anyone dissuade you. You can have a dream that seems so far fetch to everyone else but, it’s what you believe in. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Go to school and get your education to get a better job. Of course you can do that but, also follow your dreams. Now, what I would tell an older me, I’m glad you didn’t let your dreams DIE. Even at a later time in your life, you pursue it. I would say Good job.
SKII: Violetta Anna Licari is a strong minded, educated and determined person, who would go after whatever she want to do. She would strive to get to the top. She will help you climb up there too, if you are in her path. Violetta is a GOD fearing person. Her belief in GOD is strong (just like mine.) Violetta Anna licari is always on the move. Violetta is a woman to follow.