Tina Ona Paukstelis

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Tina Paukstelis
Born (1970-11-20) November 20, 1970 (age 51)

Tina Ona Paukstelis is an American actress. She was born November 20, 1970, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The majority of her film work is in the horror film genre, though she also has a number of stage acting credits. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Parkside and credited professor Lisa Kornetsky as being her inspiration and reason that she got into acting. She was considered as a "stand-out actress" and performed in various stage performances before her film debut in the 1994 independent low-budget horror Aswang, in which she had a leading role.



Early acting

Paukstelis started her acting in 1988 in a play titled Joe Egg, where she played a mute wheelchair-bound girl. It was the first time she had ever performed on stage and despite originally intending upon becoming a costume designer, knew from her first moment on stage that she wanted to act. She credited University of Wisconsin–Parkside professor and director Lisa Kornetsky at the university where she attended as getting her into acting, noting that she may not have done so if it weren't for Kornetsky. [1] During her time at Parkside, she was regarded as a "stand-out actress". [2] In 1991, she acted in a university stage production of And a Nightingale Sang, playing one of the sisters Helen Stott which was described as a "professional-calibre performance." [3]

Stage and film

Her debut was the lead role of 'Katrina' in the 1994 vampire film Aswang - the first horror film to screen at the Sundance Film Festival . She was recommended to the filmmakers by fellow drama student Joe DeLorenzo and had to take time out of her studies to feature in the film, which she said was "a great experience" with "some good reviews". By the end of 1994, as well as her film role, had also performed in leading roles in over a dozen plays and was described as being "easily one of the most talented actresses in Southeastern Wisconsin." She was often praised in her acting classes on her ability to "come so thoroughly grounded" in characters she played, commenting on her own ability to reach a character's "emotional truth", believing that some people were more naturally able to reach that level than others. During an interview in August 1994, she said that she had no doubt of her future being on stage and film, believing she didn't have any other choice as it was the only thing she could think about doing, saying that "I know I'll always be an actress. I just know it inside." [1] One of her last stage performances before she graduated from university was in the Upstart theater production of Winners. [4]

Paukstelis next starred as an endangered teenager in the cult movie 5 Dark Souls (1996) and its 1998 and 2003 sequels. [5] In July 1998, she was part of a new theater group named after her late mother Auralia, herself an actor and singer and was formed earlier that summer following months of discussions among former and present Parkside students. As well as acting, she also participated in directing with the company, noting that she really enjoyed it as wanted to do it more often. [2] In 1999, she and fellow actress Alison Phillips starred in a two-woman show Parallel Lives, where they played six different characters ranging in age from teenagers to seniors. By that time, both actresses were considered as being "well known" in the area. They were the first to stage a theater production at Racine's Yardarm Bar & Grill, after discovering that the Yardarm wished to start offering theater entertainment. They were regarded as being "gifted actresses" by drama teacher Lee Van Dyke at their university. [6]

In the mid 2000s, she worked as a bartender at McAuliffe's. [7] Throughout the 2000s she continued to land lead and supporting roles in the horror films Julia Wept (2000), October Moon (2005), October Moon 2: November Son (2008), and The Legend Trip (2006). [5] In the haunted house thriller Safe Inside (film) (2017) she reunited with many cast members from her earliest features. She leaned on her comedic skills playing bug-eyed, put upon housewife "Mary" in the sequel-spoof Mark of the Devil 777: The Moralist, Part 2 (2022).

In the August 14, 2017 episode of TV's The Morning Blend, Paukstelis discussed her work within the independent horror film industry, including her many features with "scream queen" Brinke Stevens (The Slumber Party Masscre). Paukstelis has appeared in magazines such as Femme Fatales (May 2002, Vol. 11, Iss. 5/6, pg. 84, by: Bud Windale, "Thinking Outside Hollywood").

With much of her career based in on stage roles, Paukstelis is a founding member of Upstart Theater in Racine, Wisconsin.


Paukstelis was born to parents Auralia (née Jaras; January 2, 1993 – November 24, 1996), [8] her mother who was an actor, singer and director [2] and father Vytautas 'Vyto' Paukstelis (June 24, 1930 – March 2, 1999). Her father was born in Linkuva, Lithuania and came to the United States in 1949, graduating from Marquette University in 1959. Her parents were married on February 9, 1959 [9] and were both supportive of theater and anything she wanted to do. [2] She was one of three daughters, her sisters being Vita Paukstelis and Lyna Postuchow. [8]

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  1. 1 2 "Parkside actress to move on". Kenosha News. August 18, 1994. p. 16.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Theater grads start their own company". Kenosha News. July 10, 1998. p. 57.
  3. "'Nightingale Sang' is a joy to see". Kenosha News. October 25, 1991. p. 16.
  4. "Final Upstart play explores couple's love relationship". Kenosha News. August 2, 1995. p. 12.
  5. 1 2 "OOHP presents 'Good People'". Kenosha News. April 8, 2016. p. 37.
  6. "Two actors, six characters in comedy show as the Yardarm". Kenosha News. February 19, 1999. p. 54.
  7. "REPO has the look and name of a tough guy, but he also has a gentler side". The Journal Times. March 19, 2005. p. 28.
  8. 1 2 "Aurelia Paukstelis Obituary". November 27, 1996. p. 12.
  9. "Vytautas 'Vyto' Paukstelis Obituary". Kenosha News. March 4, 1999. p. 18.