Now Playing

Photography by Collin Stark

Cult Favorite

by Lindzi Scharf | Angeleno magazine | January 3, 2013

“In my mind, I’m a nobody,” says 29-year-old Alona Tal. Born in Tel Aviv, the blond beauty widely known for her stint as Meg Manning on Veronica Mars spent two years as an Israeli defense soldier before moving to the States at 19 to pursue acting. “At first, I found L.A. to be intimidating, but once you settle down you realize it has its own heartbeat.” Tal soon landed recurring roles on Cane and Supernatural in addition to her tailor-made role on Veronica Mars. This month, the rising star puts her butt-kicking skills to use as an LAPD detective opposite Mark Wahlberg in the neo-noir thriller Broken City, and in the CW’s new psychological thriller series Cult, which debuts later this year.

Were you a Mark Wahlberg fan growing up?
I grew up listening to his music and seeing his underwear ads. When I saw Fear, I thought he was the hottest thing ever. I never thought I’d get to meet him, let alone work with him. I actually have some of his Funky Bunch songs on my iPod. I don’t think he knows that, but I do—and I enjoy them very much!

How did your time in the Israeli army prepare you for navigating Hollywood?
The army is a testosterone-driven system. I learned how to hold my own and not be intimidated by the fact that I’m a woman in a ‘man’s world.’ You learn to be a smarter woman.

What skills did you pick up?
Everybody seems to think that I’m a really big badass or some sort of undercover agent. I’d never deny it. I learned a little bit of krav maga, [and] how to fire and dismantle weapons. If there’s a scene that involves getting physical, I’m game. In a recent episode of Cult, I used some of the martial arts, which was fun.

Cult shoots in Canada. What do you miss most about L.A. when you’re there?
I have two blue-nosed pit bulls that were rescued, so I frequent the dog park off Laurel Canyon. I miss that place. And [I miss] Toast, because I worked there as a hostess when I first came to Los Angeles. It’s owned by Israelis, so the quality of the food is great.