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Film Producer & Award-Winning Actress 
Beating Breast & Cervical Cancer 
While Painting Her Pain Away

Kathrina Miccio Shares Her Cancer ourney with Preferred Health Magazine

Photo By  Gianni De Gennaro 

By Angelina Cappiello

Kathrina Miccio is an esteemed actress, artist, and producer of many international film festivals from New York to Italy. She has over 20 years in the entertainment industry working in several films and cable TV shows, landing a reoccurring role in the acclaimed HBO mob series, The Sopranos, alongside the late actor James Gandolfini whom she dated for a time. 
   Of her own accord, Kathrina is the producer of the award-winning comedy, St. Joseph- Do Your Thing, 
and the producer of many International Film festivals, the Cutting Room International Short Film Festival, 
The Venus Italian International Film Festival, and now serving as a director of The Italian Cultural Capital Festivals. She is also the publisher of Indie Film Online Magazine. She is also a passionate artist commissioned to paint for various venues, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where she painted the likeness of musicians, including Rob Thomas of the band Matchbox 20.  

Kathrina is an extraordinary woman who has accomplished numerous achievements in her life, but what sets her apart is her unwavering resilience as a survivor of both breast and cervical cancer. Her story is nothing short of inspirational, and she bravely shared it with Preferred Health Magazine to motivate other women battling cancer to hold onto their faith and discover their purpose. 

PHM: You’re an award-winning actress featured in films like The Wrestler, The MobKing, and The Fontana’s . You even had a recurring role in the blockbuster TV Series, The Sopranos. When did your love of the arts begin? How do you choose your roles? And what are your favorite roles to play? 

Kathrina Miccio:  Thank you, yes, well, I definitely feel I was born an artist. As far back as I can remember, I was drawing, painting, or sculpting something. I hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts from FIT. then transferred over to Wagner Theatrical College and took as many acting classes as I could. I loved it and received another degree in Theatrical Arts. The Soprano’s was a fun gig for a few years. That’s where I met the late James Gandolfini. We continued a loving, yet very private relationship for over a year. He was incredibly supportive of my acting as well as my art career. He sponsored an almost sold-out show of mine at The Gibson Showroom where I had exhibited 25 portraits of Gibson musicians. Art has always been a big part of my life.            So, as far as choosing my acting roles, I love challenging characters, like playing drunk Aunt Vivi in Al Dente. Pulling it off authentically is the challenging parts. Also crying in a dramatic role believably, is not easy to pull off. Like in MobKing, I played Angela. During a shoot-out in her house, she had to be panicked and seriously frightened. I love comedy as well. Recently we finished the 1st season of the TV series The Fontana’s, Dram/com I play Angela Ferretti, the manipulative ex-wife. We’re planning to start up again in the spring. And as Isabella in In Fidelity, aging rock star Hoyt Johnson’s obsessive groupie played by Dennis Haysbert. My next upcoming film is The Ministry, with Robert Davi, William Levi and Ciro Dapagio. We’ll be shooting this spring in New York. 

PHM: A Director of three film festivals, The Cutting Room International Short Film Festival, The Venus Italian International Film Festival, and the combination of the two, upcoming, first-ever Venus on Broadway Film Festival in NYC. You also direct the 1st ever Italian Cultural Capital Festival in Italy. Congratulations! How exciting!  Tell us more about how you got started as a Director. 

KM: It’s a lot, so, The Cutting Room International Short Film Festival started 6 years ago, after I wrote, starred in, and directed a short film called St. Joseph, with Vincent Pa store, Jackie Martling, Lou Martini Jr, and Angela Pietropinto. It had an amazing Festival run winning over 26 awards collectively all over the world, for Best Actress, Best Woman Filmmaker, Best Director, Best Comedy, Vinny, and Angela won for Best Supporting, Audience Choice, and Best Ensemble Cast. 
    I wanted a private showing for the cast and crew. Since I have had my art on exhibit at The Cutting Room Music Venue in NYC for over 20 years, I thought this would be a perfect spot. The projection and sound were perfect, so I came up with the idea that day, so CRISFF was born. I’ve awarded lifetime achievement awards to actor, and director, Tim Busfield, actor Vince Curatola, and the late NY icon director John Gallagher. I was then awarded Best Actress and Best Comedy at a Festival in Las Vegas in 2018. I researched and found out there was never an Italian Film Festival in Las Vegas, so in 2019, The Venus Italian International Film Festival was born. The films were shown at The Palms Hotel Theater. The awards were epic at The Italian Social Club where The Rat Pack performed decades ago. I had a Frank Sinatra Impersonator, singing in front of a big band with members of The Barry Manilow Band, we served an Italian Buffet, and Italian pastries, and everyone was dancing!  Awarded that night was Armand Assante, Daniel Baldwin, Michael Pare’ and Angela Pietropinto. Then 2020, the pandemic happened, and we had to do a year of festivals remotely. In the meantime, a winning Italian filmmaker of mine who was at my last CRISFF Festival, Cristiano Esposito, went back to Italy and proposed to The Procida Film Festival for me to become the new International director in Procida Italy. I accepted and held that position for three years. The last year Procida became The Cultural Capital of Italy. I resigned from Piff, and started my own, 1st ever, Italian Cultural Capital Festival. This year it’s in Pesaro, Italy off the Adriatic Coast. I also decided to combine CRISFF and VIIFF and created the 1st ever Film Festival on Broadway! Venus on Broadway International Film Festival. It will be at a new location on Broadway! Secrets Speak Easy. (Below The Iron Bar) 707 8th Ave Btw 44 and 45th. Check out dates and time on magazine. 

PHM: You are a fierce woman in business, and some would say in life as well. A two-time cancer survivor, you were first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. How did you first discover you had breast cancer, and what were your thoughts when you heard the diagnosis? Was this hereditary? 

KM: I had just left an abusive marriage. The month the divorce was final, I found two lumps in my right breast. I had missed my yearly mammogram because my ex didn’t pay my insurance. My gynecologist was dismissive about it, saying it was probably hormonal. She asked if I wanted a sonogram and possible biopsy. Want? Well, I don’t want it, but I think I need it, so I went to Memorial Sloan Kettering for a biopsy with a friend of mine who had breast cancer. Sunday morning Aug 23, 2015, an oncologist called and said, I had a very aggressive breast cancer Her2+, but the good news is, there was a new chemo  Pertuzumab, that raised the chances of it not returning from 85% to 98% if I did everything they said to do. I got off the phone and broke down. It certainly was foreign to me, considering there was no history of cancer in my family. By the way, I fired my gynecologist who dismissed this. Sometimes you have to be aggressive. It’s your life. 

PHM: Tell us about your treatment and the journey you endured during this time. 

KM: Within a week of the diagnosis of Her2+ breast cancer, I was in chemotherapy. I was advised not to use the cold cap to save my hair because the chemo has to escape your brain, If it doesn’t the chances of brain cancer rise. So, after two weeks I had my hair shaved so I wouldn’t’ see it going down the drain or wake up with it on my pillow. I then went through 6 months of chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, three months of radiation 5 days a week, and another year of infusions. During the 1st 2 months of chemo, I received something they nicknamed the “red devil” Doxorubicin. The nurses would come in, in what looked like a hazmat suit, to ultimately inject this red chemo into my veins. 
    It was surreal for sure. Also, within 24 hours to replenish my immune system, I had to give myself an injection in the stomach. The 1st time I did, about 5 hours later, I felt like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. I was lying down in bed, and all of a sudden, I sprung up to a pain in my sternum that felt like I was having a heart attack. But then I remembered my doctor telling me it would feel like that, but it will go away. After about 10 minutes it did. So, during this time of treatment, there were good and bad days. 
    My friend who is a pediatrician wanted some artwork for her office. Since I had no income, I was happy to say yes. She had just come back from the Galapagos Islands. So, I asked her what her favorite animals were that she saw there. She told me blue-footed boobies! I looked them up and had to paint them. To this day, children walk into her office and say “What are those?” And when someone says blue-footed boobies, they laugh every time. How great is that! I painted a cute sea lion as well. But come on, the boobies! 

PHM: What did you do to help yourself emotionally get through this challenge in your life? 

KM: I loved the idea of paying it forward. During chemo I decided to write a short comedy lightly based on a true story, hence St. Joseph was born. The story goes, that 500 years ago nuns used to help landowners sell their property by burying St Joseph medals in the ground and praying over them. It evolved into a St Joseph 3-inch statue that you bury upside down in your yard towards your home if you want to sell your house fast. I did it twice and it worked. During the Q&A’s at the festivals, so many people knew of this superstition or knew someone that did it, or did it themselves, and swore by it. I wanted people to laugh instead of feeling sorry for me, and it worked! My oncologist told me at the beginning of all this, not to be stressed. The chemo works better when you’re not stressed. So instead, I wrote St. Joseph, and I still laugh when I watch it. 

PHM: Years pass by; you are free of breast cancer, and then in 2023, you are diagnosed with cervical cancer. How much of a blow to you is this diagnosis?  What were your symptoms leading up to this diagnosis? 

KM: This was a crazy story of how I was diagnosed. At the end of February, a friend of mine took me to dinner at a 5-star restaurant to celebrate my CRISFF film festival. We had sushi and other cooked fish. A few nights later I was experiencing extreme cramping pains going down the tops of my thighs. The next day I experienced some bathroom issues, so I went to my gastroenterologist. He took some tests and it came back that I had a bacterial infection called campylobacter caused by eating raw fish. He put me on antibiotics for three days. The pains were getting so bad, I could barely walk. I knew it was something else, so I made an appointment to see a gynecologist at MSK in the middle of March. I almost didn’t make it there since I had to drive myself. When the gynecologist saw me, he almost rescheduled the exam because he saw how much pain I was in. At this point, I couldn’t even sit. He examined me and gave me a PAP smear. They both came back negative. I said I wanted an MRI, but they were afraid my lymph nodes were still swollen from the bacteria infection and didn’t want to get a false positive result. So, I had to wait another 2 weeks in horrible pain. Now the 1st week of April, I had the MRI, and they found a 7cm tumor that adhered to my cervix. The Gynecologist called and said the biopsy came back positive for cancer. He said it was in a place the PAP smear wouldn’t detect, and the same for the examination. He said I would need chemo and radiation. I hung up and broke down again thinking of losing my hair and going through all that again. It literally stops your daily life in its tracks to stay on a mission to save your life. 

PHM: And how did treatment go this time around? 
So, the good news was, with this chemo for cervical cancer, you don’t lose your hair, the bad news was they scheduled my 1st chemo and radiation on the same day, April 25th my birthday. Yes, I spent 6 hours in the hospital on my birthday. Fun. I was already fitted for the plaster cast they molded around me, so as not to move during radiation. And I was tattooed again in 4 spots to line up the lasers. I think they might have used the upper ones I had already from the breast cancer radiation. Then the 2.5-hour chemo. My schedule was 28 rounds of radiation in total, which was 5 days a week, and on Tuesday’s I would get chemo as well. Total of 5 rounds. 

One thing I did every day for almost an hour driving to the hospital, was FaceTime live. I would just say what was on my mind, and knew people were praying and rooting for me. I was flooded with support and love. I also had a stuffed Panda I called Cozy which I held during chemo. Yes, a grown woman with a stuffed Panda. So, it helped. Especially since I didn’t want to know the stage I had, but accidentally saw it on my portal. I had stage 4. Think I cared if people stared at me holding a giant stuffed Panda? After all the treatments were completed, it is now June, the tumor has gone down to 2 centimeters. The radiation and chemo continued to work, but they decided to add another procedure called brachytherapy which includes staying in the hospital for 3 days. The 1st procedure was done under four hours of anesthesia. Several metal rods are inserted, placed towards the tumor, and sewn to my inner thighs, well, actually higher to keep them in place. Ouch. I would have two treatments a day for three days, which consisted of being taken down in the bed to the radiation room. With every bump a tear would fall from my eye. It felt like medieval torture. The rods were connected to an exterior radiation machine. I couldn’t move an inch for three days, and the pain was incredible. They told me I was on a Fentanyl drip. It didn’t do much. The nurses had to put hot packs under my back because I was so stiff and sore from not moving, and the crapping in my stomach because although I had a catheter, they stopped, …well you get it. I was so grateful when that was over. After waiting two months for the results, the PET Scan showed the tumor was completely gone! 

PHM: As a survivor, do you ever ask yourself, what is my true purpose? 

KM: I can tell you for sure something changes within you. From the breast cancer and chemo basically stripping whatever beauty you have away. You look at this alien self in the mirror, with no hair, eyelashes, or eyebrows, and it's not easy but, you have to think, this is just temporary. It’s in that time when things change. I became determined to do what I wanted to do. I wanted every day to count. I feel I became more empathetic to other people that were suffering, and have less patience for greed, ignorance, and rudeness. My purpose? Maybe, I’m supposed to get the word out about cancer detection. My PAP smear and exam came back negative. If I hadn’t pushed for an MRI after the bacterial infection from the sushi, it could have been too late. So can we say, “the sushi saved my life!” 
   I have a dear friend, Giovanni Scala, CEO and scientific researcher in Italy. His company is They are making great strides in the early detection of endometriosis, birth defects, and certain cancers in women with just a drop of blood. 


PHM: What advice can you give to other women fighting cancer? 

KM: Stay positive. Laughter is the best medicine. It releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Share a laugh. Spend time with friends who make you laugh. And then return the favor by sharing funny stories or jokes with those around you. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. Also, have a vision board of what you will do when you feel better. Also, being alone, I was financially spent, so I contacted every cancer fund I could. They are there to help financially and emotionally. Thank you so much for allowing me to tell my story. I truly hope in some way it will help others. 

To learn more about Kathrina Miccio visit,, and  

Kathrina would like to give a special thanks to 
Castello Giusso 

Photo By  Gianni De Gennaro 

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