Shoshana Gungurstein is one of nineteen U.S. Senate candidates running in the August 16 open primary, facing off against incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Anchorage residents have seen Gungurstein’s small, colorful signs pop up on numerous roadsides and medians. She fielded a float in the Fourth of July parade in Juneau, a U-Haul with signs at the State Fair in Haines, and a vehicle at the Bear Paw Festival. Gungurstein elicited cheers at a pro-choice rally in Juneau, and is currently running ads on Must Read Alaska and the Alaska Landmine. Gungurstein, who is running as an Independent, has reported significant fundraising and is actively campaigning.
However, Gungurstein has been remarkably evasive about her past. She refused to provide basic information about her background during an Alaska Landmine podcast that aired August 6, stating only that she had spent time in Alaska as a child and had moved to Juneau at an unspecified point. In the podcast, she claimed to have received a law degree from Whittier Law School, in California, which closed its doors in 2017. Gungurstein was similarly evasive about her employment history; she claimed to be an angel investor, but refused to name any companies she has invested in.
According to a June 14 Juneau Empire article about Gungurstein’s campaign, the candidate “was also emphatically vague on the details of her work and life. She declined to say which companies she had worked for, citing privacy issues, she also declined to say where she grew up and exactly how long she’s lived in Alaska.”
Now, an investigation by the Alaska Landmine has revealed that Shoshana Gungurstein is actually Hollywood actress and producer Shoshanna Chagall.
An online search for “Shoshana Gungurstein” returns only recent results related to Gungurstein’s U.S. Senate camapaign. However, the Landmine found that a “Shoshana Chagall Gungurstein” registered to vote in Alaska on April 25 of this year. The address listed on Gungurstein’s voter registration matches that of Alaska’s Capital Inn Bed & Breakfast in Juneau.
An online search for “Shoshana Chagall” uncovered an extensive IMDB page for an actress who, based on photos included on the page, is clearly the same person as Gungurstein.
According to IMDB, Chagall executive produced and starred as Princess Lakshmi in the 2016 fantasy movie “Neshima,” which was produced by Hollywood, California-based Fantastic Films International, LLC. A synopsis of the movie on IMDB reads:
“Warring tribes desperately seek the fragments of a sacred crystal key, but when one piece is stolen, Princess Lakshmi must fulfill an ancient prophesy by leaving her tribe, reuniting the crystal, and opening the portal to Neshima.”
Gungurstein/Chagall’s IMDB page lists numerous credits in addition to Neshima, including a 2019 short titled “The Concert of Life” and a 2022 executive producer credit for the feature film “Demon Fighter.” An IMDB summary of Demon Fighter reads, “A Kung Fu master becomes a Jesuit priest ordained as an exorcist fighting demons in the streets, demons in the souls of the possessed and wrestling with his own. Inspired by Historical Events.”
On IMDB, Chagall’s credits spell her first name “Shoshanna.” On the title of the IMDB page–as in her campaign–her first name is spelled “Shoshana,” with one “n” instead of two.
Gungurstein has stated that she previously lived in California and Utah. She is not listed as a member of the bar in Alaska, Utah, or California.
According to the latest FEC reports, Gungurstein has raised almost $30,000; $16,400 of that is in the form of a self-loan to her campaign. Gungurstein reported a $1,000 donation from Jacob Pechenik, a producer who was married to actress Zooey Deschanel from 2015 to 2020. Gungurstein also reported an $1,800 donation from an individual named Adam Stein. According to IMDB, a person with that name co-directed 2019’s “Kim Possible” and edited “Flakes,” a 2007 film featuring Deschanel.
While her fundraising pales in comparison to that of Senator Lisa Murkowski or Republican Kelly Tshibaka, the amount Gungurstein has raised is only modestly less than that raised by Pat Chesbro, the leading Democratic candidate in the race. Political analysts overwhelmingly agree that Murkowski, Tshibaka, and Chesbro will take the top three spots in the August 16 primary, allowing them to advance to the November 8 general election. It is unclear who will take the fourth spot, which will also allow a candidate to advance to the general. Sean Thorne, the only Libertarian in the race, has reported less than $5,000 in contributions. Gungurstein’s fundraising and active campaigning suggest that she may be able to eke out a fourth-place finish.
Yesterday, the Landmine reached out to Gungurstein’s campaign and asked “Is Gungurstein Shoshana’s maiden name? Or is that a married name? If so, what is her maiden name?” The campaign responded, “Hope you are having a great Sunday. She goes by Gungurstein legally and professionally.”
The Landmine followed up for comment about Gungurstein’s career in entertainment. The campaign sent the following statement:
“Please do feel free to include her acting and executive producing credits as she is proud of her work, in fact, her film background is also mentioned on the ballot info. Do please include other aspects of her bio including work she has done in business, renewables, and faculty positions to make it a well rounded, factual article. And to answer your question she has been married for over a decade and doesn’t use her maiden name legally.”
Gungurstein’s candidate statement at the Alaska Division of Elections includes a sentence reading, “Post J.D./MBA, my work experiences in corporate private sector and startup settings of finance, renewables, film, and healthcare, inform a multilateral and dynamic approach to implement sensible solutions as Alaska’s Senator.”
The Landmine followed up by asking the campaign whether Gungurstein was making a movie or other media project in conjunction with her U.S. Senate campaign. The campaign responded, in part, “Lol, no we are running a US Senate Campaign not making a movie. Shoshana is documenting her journey for campaign purposes and you can follow it at Shoshana4senate.”