U.S. Senate candidate Shoshana Gungurstein stars in a campaign sign within view of the Alaska governor’s mansion. Gungurstein, an independent, got exposure this week for being a Hollywood actress under a different name after questions about her past went unanswered throughout the campaign. She is one of 19 candidates seeking to be among the four selected in next Tuesday’s primary to compete in the November general election. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

U.S. Senate candidate Shoshana Gungurstein stars in a campaign sign within view of the Alaska governor’s mansion. Gungurstein, an independent, got exposure this week for being a Hollywood actress under a different name after questions about her past went unanswered throughout the campaign. She is one of 19 candidates seeking to be among the four selected in next Tuesday’s primary to compete in the November general election. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Senate candidate sheds more light on background

Shoshana Gungurstein responds at length to recent report on past film career.

Shoshana Gungurstein has been something of a reticent U.S. Senate candidate but, with revelations about her past as a film actress under a different name reported a week before next Tuesday’s primary election the Juneau resident is shining a spotlight on her past, present and politics.

In an 1,100-word email statement to the Empire on Tuesday, Gungurstein stated “I am now sharing more information about my hobbies of acting, directing and producing because the media is making a big deal that I am multifaceted and yes, I can do multiple things at the same time.

“Isn’t that what we need in leadership for Alaska rather than the same old DC insiders?” she wrote.

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Gungurstein, campaigning as an nonpartisan in the 19-candidate race, was “revealed” by the Alaska Landmine to be Hollywood actress Shoshanna (with an extra “n”) Chagall with film credits as an executive producer as recently as this year. None of the 10 projects she has various credits for since 2011 are blockbusters, with her notable works including the fantasy film “Neshima” which has a rating of 5.8 out of 10 at the Internet Movie Database.

A June 14 profile by the Empire notes she was “emphatically vague on the details of her work and life,” declining to name where she grew up, companies she’s worked for and how long she’s lived in Alaska (stating she moved to Juneau during the COVID-19 pandemic).

With three of the four candidates who will advance from the primary to the November general election pretty much set in stone, the last-week revelation means both the benefit of additional name recognition and drawback of derisive comments about her “secret” past as she seeks to emerge as the last contender from the pack.

“One cannot discount the timing of such so-called revelations, akin to the pre-midterm raid in Mar-a-Lago,” she wrote, referring to the FBI search of Donald Trump’s home earlier this week that outraged his supporters. “I’m not one to make comments about my opponents, but no one bats an eye that the incumbent still uses daddy’s name, and one of my other challengers goes by a hard to pronounce married name? Are they fake too? So I urge folks not to engage in double standards, just because I am an independent, millennial, female voice, and honor my strong predilection for privacy, freedom and liberty for all Alaskans.”

In her statement, echoing a response to the Landmine, she declared her past is not secret because “I have shared my film background on the ballot information that all registered Alaskan voters received. She also told the Empire she has been married for more than 10 years and her film name is essentially a hybrid of her maiden and married names.

“My legal name and married name is Shoshana Gungurstein (Shoshana spelled with one “n” for accurate phonetic spelling) and my maiden name is Shoshanna Chagall Gungur, and Gungurstein is a hybrid last name of Gungur and Stein (my husband’s last name),” she wrote.

Gungurstein also emphasized that while she has invested in numerous film and theater projects which she starred in and produced, “I primarily work as a businessperson and investor.”

Past occupations include working for the industrial consulting company AECOM on a Middle East desalinization project, plus energy stabilization and solar projects in Haiti, and water sustainability projects in central California and Nevada, Gungurstein wrote. She also claims to have been an adjunct faculty member teaching numerous subjects at Loma Linda University.

Online searches by the Empire could not confirm or refute her work history claims.

As for policy positions, Gungurstein attended a pro-choice rally in June and in her statement to the Empire declared “I believe in individual privacy, freedom,and liberty.”

“I live what I preach and if people want to live off-grid, be off-line or not reveal all details of their lives that’s one’s prerogative,” she wrote.

Gungurstein has received scant campaign donations compared to the millions raised by the two candidates seen as most likely to win the race, reporting about $30,000 in income including a $16,400 self-loan. But her Hollywood ties are evident among her biggest contributors, including producer Jacob Pechenik with $1,000. Another possible connection is Adam Stein — listed as a Greenbank, Washington, resident who is a self-employed executive, and it was not immediately clear if he is the same person as her husband — whose name is also credited on some film directing projects who donated $1,800.

Her voter registration address is for the Alaska’s Capital Inn Bed & Breakfast in Juneau. Local residents wanting to see her on the campaign trail during the final days she is scheduled to participate in sign waving Sunday evening and host a get-out-the-vote event at 7 p.m. Monday at the Goldtown Nickelodeon theater where the climate impact short film “Above Water” (which she is not a part of) will be shown.

Gungurstein is also scheduled to participate in local get-out-the-vote activities on election day.

Contact reporter Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com.

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