Mar 15, 2011

RA Fan Spotlight~ Sharona of the Russian Richard Armitage Site

*FanstRAvaganza Day 2*

One of my favorite RA hot spots is

Thanks to google translator,
there's no need to speak Russian to
maneuver your way around it.
(Try it out!)

I became acquainted with the site's
administrator, Sharona, a few months ago
when asking permission to post some of their photos.

Being a curious person, I wanted to know all about her,
but restrained myself from peppering  her with questions...
until now.  (As Frenz mentioned before, having a blog
gives us an excuse to be nosey interview people!)

While getting to know Sharona, I was surprised to find out that the person who runs the Russian RA site is not actually Russian!
I live in Ukraine, but I run a Russian-speaking site because the Ukrainian-speaking one would have a much smaller audience.  I know the Ukrainian and Russian languages. I can read and understand what people are saying in English but when it's time for me to say or to write something in English, I'm not at all confident. So I can't really say I know English.  I adore British TV and actors. Richard is obviously my favourite but there are so many brilliant actors out there and I love them all. I am a passionate fan of period drama as well.  (You can guess how I first discovered RA.) Also, I love doing stuff in Photoshop - graphics, icons, wallpapers and site layouts. 

If Richard came to Ukraine, I'd recommend  he visit the beautiful city of Lviv. It's very old and really beautiful and it feels amazing just to walk down the streets.  I know foreigners are always excited about Ukrainian cuisine but I'm not a fan of it as well. It is too rich for my taste. (And I think Richard might consider it unhealthy, too.)

I'd recommend he go to the Karpaty for skiing... I think he'd really like that!

Sharona is one of the few RA fans who doesn't adore "North & South."
It is too gritty for my taste, although I loved Richard's performance. My favourite Richard characters are Thornton and Harry Kennedy. (Actually I'd love to say Thorin because I know I'll love him in "The Hobbit" even thought the movie isn't out yet.)

In fact, she wasn't too crazy about Richard when she started the Russian site.
I must confess, when I started my site January 1st, 2010 I liked Richard, but I wasn't actually what you would call a passionate fan. I didn't see much of his work and I didn't know what kind of person he was (well, I still don't know this because I don't know him personally but I think I understand better now what kind of person he might be.)

What I did know - he was handsome, he was British and that he had loads and loads of Russian-speaking fans and there was no Russian site for him. So I thought I could create one. It was meant to be a small site with a few photos and some interviews but from the first day, my visitors started demanding the forum so I just had to start the forum. I didn't have time to moderate it though, so GizTheGunslinger, a fellow fan, became my co-admin. She now runs the forum and does it wonderfully. She's also adding some news and articles. And yes, she's Russian.

[Nat note: GizTheGunslinger is one of my favorite RA vidders and artists!  Check out her YouTube page HERE and keep an eye out for her fan spotlight on RA Frenzy's blog this week.]

So what was it that finally turned Sharona into a true blue Armitage admirer?
Richard's interviews. I read and watched many of his interviews for the site and then I just realized... well, that I can call myself a "passionate fan."  The sexiest thing about any man to me is his sense of humour. And Richard is always really serious in his roles. But the way he talks, laughs, jokes in his interviews makes me melt. I wish he'd do more comedy.

My favorite thing about the Russian RA site is the wonderful photo gallery.  How does Sharona get her hands on such great pics?
That's a big secret!  But really, I just keep surfing the net. You wouldn't believe how many beautiful and rare pictures you can find if you google properly. And another tip - try to use other search engines, not just Google, especially the ones for different countries.  I was quite lucky to get some rare promo photos, production stills and photo shoots of Richard. I am especially proud of our gallery since it's extensive and has some amazing photos. My favourite photo shoot is the one by Chris Floyd, for Red Magazine. Richard's not just handsome in these photos, he's exquisite.

I've always wondered what Richard's Russian fans thought about about their country being cast as "the bad guy" in Spooks and how well Lucas North spoke Russian.  I could almost hear Sharona laugh out loud in her response.  Well, all the Russian bit wasn't very believable. It was hard to understand what people were saying when they spoke Russian - that's how bad the accents and grammar were. So... It was a bit funny and you couldn't seriously be offended by it.  I love Richard to bits but if it weren't for English subtitles, you would never guess what he was saying. I got to say, it was some kind of a very angry accent. Sometimes there were swear words but I'm not sure he knew he was swearing. Sometimes there was the impression he didn't know what he was saying at all.

A big thanks to Sharona for giving us a little inside info about
herself and the Russian RA site.  Keep up the good work, ladies! 


MillyMe said...

Richard speaking Russian has the right effect on me, but if it was nonsensical to a Russian speaker, let's blame the coach. If he ever has to learn Norwegian for a role, I'm ready to spend long hours tutoring him one-on-one to make sure he gets it right! ;)

Skully said...

Great interview! And a great tip re using other search engines.

mulubinba said...

Thanks Nat and Sharona - really interesting interview. Now I'm going to have to ask if we can see the rare production stills on the site somewhere? (Which other search engines do you use?)

tyme_4_t said...

great interview...and I agree with Sharona that Richard is sexiest in his interviews - "But the way he talks, laughs,jokes in his interviews makes me melt." Me too sister!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Nat, for venturing so far abroad to "snaffle" Sharona for a splendid interview. Sharona, you emerge vividly in your enthusiasm!Lovely to meet you!

Saving the loonies and twoonies for planned trip to Russia, and Ukraine. Two generations of English expats were born in Russia, grandfather in St. Petersburg and father in Grozny.

Thank you, Sharona and Nat!


Traxy said...

Been wondering about how accurate the Russian really was. He said in an interview they'd got in a Russian speaker to help them with pronounciation, but either that Russian speaker wasn't very good or he and the others weren't very good at mimicking! ;) Not the first time people can't speak a foreign language on telly ...

Great interview, interesting to find out more, and very good tip about the search engines. There's more to the Internet than Google! Funny how it's so difficult to remember that.

@MillyMe: Ditto with Swedish! :D (It'd be hilarious if he started speaking it with a slight Gothenburg accent in the process. HAH! Up yours, Stockholm!)

NovemberBride said...

This is what I love about these blogs/RAworld...getting to know gals from Russia, Norway, Australia, Canada, Germany, Tasmania and the list goes on.

Thanks Sharona for the informative interview!

Ivania said...

Loved this post!
Now I want to go visit Russa....

Riv said...

Great interview and also choice of interviewee, Nat!

Thanks also to Sharona for your wonderful website! I don't need to know your secret, just thank you for sharing everything you've found! :)

Anonymous said...

This was a great interview. It's always fascinating getting to learn about people from other countries. What a diverse group fo fans RA has. How did he come to be so popular in Russia?

pi said...

I loved this interview because it hits home to me how Armitage appreciation is a world wide event. But not only that. I appreciated Sharona's candid responses and the strategies she's used to bring attention the Armitage. Wonderfully canny! Also, this is all rather exotic to me, because this is a part of the world that is mysterious- a place about which I know little.

I especially loved the critique of the Russian speech! It sure sounded authentic to me! LOL! Mind you, my granny used to throw Russian phrases at me when I was a kid, so perhaps it stirs that memory.

RA can speak Russian to me anytime!

Fabulous and informative interview, Nat. I learned a lot!

bccmee said...

Great interview questions and answers! I was intrigued to hear more about the Russian site as I've visited on occasion because I get a lot of hits from the forum on my videos and blog. It was interesting to hear about how the site started. Like Sharona, I also love Richard Armitage's interviews and wish he would do more comedy! Someday...someday...

Anonymous said...

Also intrigued to learn more about a site that I mostly fumble around!

Twinkling Moon said...

Thanks for the interview ladies!

I have loved the last question about the Russian perspective on the show Spooks and the accents. I've been wondering the same darn thing.

Also, I totally agree with you Sharona, that the thing that made me into an RA fan was Mr.A himself :)

Charleybrown said...

Hi Sharona! I love how generous you've been to share all your great finds with us! (whether they be of RA or other period dramas!)And I love how the internet has allowed us all to connect regardless of country or language!
Thanks Nat!

Violet886 said...

Great interview! I have been to her site and it's good. I too wonder how to google properly. I am sure there are so many other Richard pix out there we don't know about. Interesting that Sharona prefers Harry Kennedy to Thornton but I can see loving the comedic Richard more. We all agree he does need to do more lighthearted stuff.