Anja Akstin was born in Florida but was raised primarily in Juneau, Alaska. She is the middle child and only daughter, sandwiched between her brothers Matt and Drew. Her parents (Matthew and Ruth Akstin), moved to Alaska to raise their family. There, she enjoyed the wild terrain and outdoor endeavors, such as fishing, hiking, and much more. In her youth, Anja discovered she had a natural talent for music, and she picked up her first musical instrument at the age of eleven. For years, music was primary focus, and she became a professional trombone player in the local big band at sixteen. At eighteen, she shipped out to boot camp for the United States Marine Corps, enlisting to continue her passion for music as a tuba player in the United States Marine Corps band. After one tour of duty, she ended active service to pursue a new passion for acting. Anja performed in her first stage play, Plaza Suite, while still serving in the Marine Corps. Having grown disenchanted during her tour of duty, she found a new creative love while working on this play, and she decided to attempt a professional career. After her EAS, she moved to Florida to attend the University of South Florida in Tampa, from which she graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Theatre. Not yet satisfied, she moved on to study the Eric Morris process at a small workshop, also in Tampa, conducted by Kathy Laughlin. In 2016, Anja had her breakthrough role on the hit series Rectify (Sundance), but this was by no means her first time in front of the camera. She had performed in a variety of student and independent productions beforehand, along with many stage plays, including such roles as Artie in Eleemosynary (Lee Blessing), Cassandra in Animals and Plants (Adam Rapp), Marcus (Marca) in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, and Isabel in My Children! My Africa! (Athol Fugard).
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