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Interview by Katariina Forsberg

Our blog series checks in with New York’s local Finns and offers a few of their insider tips into the city. Today we meet actress and singer Sara Nurmi, whose whereabouts in the city were recently documented for a Finnish reality series, “Finland Girls in New York.” The series also stars singer Alexandra Alexis, eco-blogger Annabella Åsvik and former dancer Minna Ajo. It airs on Finnish channel Liv, and can also be viewed online.

What brought you to New York?

I came here almost four years ago to study acting full-time at William Esper Studio in Manhattan. I graduated after two years and decided to stay here to pursue my career.

What are your favorite places in the City?

I like Union Square because I can walk there from my apartment and everything I need is right there, from Trader Joe’s and Barnes & Noble to clothing stores. I love West Village because it has such an authentic New York feel to it. I enjoy taking walks there and getting a cup of coffee. Another one of my favorite places is Lenox Lounge up in Harlem, where I often participate in open mic nights on Sundays. The band is great!

Any favorite restaurants?

I don’t have a favorite restaurant, can you believe it? I love food and discovering new places, and I’ve been to a lot of great restaurants but I don’t have a favorite one just yet.

Do you have a favorite store?

I love vintage and thrift stores in the city. I’ve found a lot of great clothes at Buffalo Exchange, Beacon’s Closet and Second time around. Fashion is not about the price, it’s about how you wear it, even if it’s a $2 shirt!

What are your favorite things to do on your free time?

I love taking walks and sucking in all the amazing things the city has to offer. My favorite areas are West Village and Nolita. I also spend a lot of time at bookstores like The Strand and Barnes & Noble, there’s just something about the smell of books that I adore. Little movie theaters are also fun, like Sunshine Cinema and Angelica.

What do you think is the best thing about living in New York?

Being constantly inspired by all the amazing talent I see here; even a ten-minute walk around my neighborhood can inspire me so much on a bad day. This is so important to me as an artist. You can even see great musicians on subway platforms. I’m a really lucky girl to be able to pursue my career in New York. I really do feel at home here.

What do you miss about Finland?

I miss all the foods! The rye bread obviously is something I could eat all day long. Also vispipuuro(whipped dessert porridge), mustikkakeitto (blueberry soup; I used to drink that every day), Oltermanni cheese and the amazing selection of candy. American candy just doesn’t do it for me at all.

What three words would you use to describe New York?

Bold, inspiring, and free.

How about Finland?

Safe, beautiful, and clean.

Find out more about Sara on her blog (in Finnish): sarainthebigcity.blogspot.com and
her music at www.myspace.com/saramusicsite. Follow her on twitter at twitter.com/Sara_Nurmi.

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