If I am honest, it all feels pretty surreal. I remember talking to my agent years ago, telling him: C‘mon Josh, as If I would ever land a role in an american comedy series and oh boy, was I surprised when I got that confirmation call back, followed by the first table read with the rest of the cast and and and. Now, being a part of this project, surrounded by all these professional, talented actors, writers, directors and producers, that also happen to be amazing people – I start to realize, how truly lucky I was let alone the constant support I get from them. They all are such good people – they understand that a newbie needs some kind of reassurance and I get more than enough of it. It only takes one team to believe in you and they are this team for me. I think they don’t even understand how much they have done for me. And I will never forget them. These past years I felt lost and deeply depressed, as I didn’t know what’s next and simply lost faith in myself and my talent. The first time I appeared on the big screen (Thanks to my personal hero Luc Besson) was one of the happiest moments in my life, that has awaken new hope and self respect in me. I felt special, irreplaceable. All I ever was – was finally needed. All of a sudden I wasn’t crazy – I was an actor. For the first time I felt like I was someone. Someone I’m proud of. I was longing for this feeling years after. And the Pitch Perfect crew gave me that very feeling again and as Jameela Jamil told me: I hope for the best and keep my expectations low.
In the series, you play a successful DJane and music producer. How much Lera is potrayed in the role?
I feel like my role portrays someone way cooler than me, I low-key always wanted to be. A big part of the character is the dark side of mine I shall never reveal, haha. A lot of the time I feel disconnected from the crowd, too different. It’s like there would be a thin layer of some kind of shield between my skin and the air that we breathe. And I think, that’s why I understand that role so well. I feel so good playing that character. But you will understand what I’m talking about as soon as you will see the pilot of the series! Also a big shout out to my coach Goli Samii, who is just brilliant and made me understand the character to the core and find the similarities with it within myself, within my soul. Last but not least – I’m absolutely in love with my looks, thanks to the amazing costume designer Tiziana Corvisieri.
Which creative person inspires you?
What is your best memory as a creative?
How do you get out of a creative slump? Do you have one at all?
My whole life is a creative slump. You see, it’s hard for me to enjoy the success I get at any time. I set a new goal right away and if I don’t reach it as soon as possible I get all fucked up in the head followed by existential fears and self loathing. I would even call it self hate. As I said, I was just lucky enough I always got people coming in and dragging me out of this hole with new projects – or just real friendship. Pure love. New steps in life gift you hope. Feels fucking awesome. Every time.
What is your dream role?
From comedy to drama to action. I want to be able to play a rather quiet art house movie and at the same time star in a spectacular blockbuster. From acting in an Ulrich Seidl movie to being a villain in a huge Marvel production. Also I always had a thing for historical movies and their whole approach to portraying a specific time, specific events. It can do a lot in terms of opening peoples eyes and raise awareness since history tragically always repeats itself. One of the most amazing things in acting is to become one with the whole era, the style, the language, the gestures and habits of that very time. I just wanna do good shit, mate. I just love a good play.
Besides acting, you are also a successful fashion model. What came first?
Modeling definitely came first. Sometimes, looking back, I can’t believe this was my life. My first try at the fashion industry started when I was 17 years young, that brought lots of joy and losses, laughters and mental breakdowns. I’ve been to Tokyo and New York multiple times by the age of 20. I stopped for years after that. Not because I broke or anything. I was always working much during that time, but at some point I felt like I was too young being 20 in New York. People tried to change everything I am and I simply felt sick of it. Then my dear friend and my first non toxic agent Anne Heinzel (A Management, Berlin) picked me up, built me up and introduced me to Peter. The rest is history. Acting was always a desire of mine all along, but I have to say I did enjoy being around wonderful people and in front of the camera and I always will. Maybe, at some point it wasn’t enough for me but it gave me so much in life. There are days, where I look back and ask myself was it worth all the nerve and stress? Being in a place no longer than half a year. Romantic relationships never last and being away from your best friends and family constantly breaks your heart. Everyone lives a life you are never a part of. But where would my crazy ass be without modeling and acting?! Nowhere. I was made for it all, I know that.
What do you like about the combination of both professions?
I never thought about this one for real, because despite all comparisons and connection people try to find between the two professions – I see none. Even the people working in the industries differ so much. Even the purpose itself. Modeling for sure taught me lots of will power, discipline and that you shall always be aware of your chances, choose them, catch them and don’t take them for granted, as there might not be more after.
What do you not like so much?
Some don’t see how a model can become an actress and roll their eyes. Especially actors, who have been through tough acting schools. But you know what? Not everyone who studies the craft and its skills is a good actor. And not everyone who has done something else before is a bad one. You either got it or you don’t. I’ve been an actor all along, modeling was the first step into that direction. Plus I was incredibly lucky.
Do you have any advice for young creatives (that you would have liked to get before)?
If you are a true talent, there is always gonna be a future for you and your creations. And yes, you will feel like a peace of useless shit sometimes, but it will pass. So don’t let anyone change you for the worse, and as emotional creatures we shall always choose people who bring us up mentally further in life, in a positive way. Be the captain of your own ship and do not let it become the titanic. Use sunscreen, as botox is way more expensive. Pay taxes and do not make your money go as fast as you get it. Do not compare yourself. Do not loose yourself. Do not give your soul and body to the wrong people, and if you ever did – take it back by believing in your inner genius and that you are incredible and rare. A different breed.
How do you want your future to look like?
I want my brother to have a beautiful life. Easier than mine, not less interesting. Just less chaos. I want to see him becoming a strong, successful and happy man. A good man. I want my parents to never worry about finances again and my lover being by my side. Just as my always dieting naked cat. I want to have a name, that makes it possible to move mountains for those in need. I want to spread help around the world. I want to make a change. I want voices of the always unheard to finally matter.
Lastly: When do you feel the most free?
I remember walking up and down in this airport in Switzerland, tears running down into my mask, repeating probably hundreds and hundreds of time: „Please, I need it, I fucking need it. Please, please, please.“ I think, for the first time in life I needed something so much, that the highest powers there might have heard it. I manifested the shit out of that role. This role is my ticket to freedom. And why it is I keep for myself.