Text: Rakhshan Abbasi Photo: Sebastian Jazdzewski
Young, exuberant, talented; Alexandra Gjerpen lightened up the mood at Sandnes bibliotek by sharing some of her life experiences and anecdotes from the past. Quickly taking up steps to success, Alexandra Gjerpen is not just a promising actress but also a very down to earth lady. Though surrounded by several journalists, she was very generous with her time for a detailed interview.
The series Unge Lovende is all about young girls trying to figure out their lives, and struggling to achieve their dreams. Have you gone through the same experiences?
Some of it. In Unge Lovende we are taking elements and experiences from our real lives and we are kinda sharing it. May be Siri (Elisa) in the show have experienced something in real life and I’m acting that out. It’s pretty close to where we were 5 years ago. So it is loosely based on our lives.
Do you think people in the creative field have much tough struggle than other professions?
I think struggle is across the board. In the creative world you are faced with different challenges, similarly a lawyer has a whole bag of other challenges that I never have to think about. So it’s pretty universal we all have our dragons.
So you balance your time between NYC and Norway. How different it is to work in US and in Norway?
It’s harder in NYC for sure, but I’m not going to say it’s easy here in Norway too. I have been very lucky because I have been exposed on a platform which is popular and majority of people have seen the show. In NYC, there are 13 million people and the population of Norway doesn’t even match Brooklyn. It is just a completely different ball game there, you are one out of thousands.
About the attitude in New York, yeah people send emails even at three o’clock in the morning, if you do not reply to them within 15 mins you are totally out of the game. I’m glad that I experienced that working style and adapted some of those work ethics; but now here in Norway I’m very happy because at 5 in the evening I could go to the movies, or go to the cabin. It’s nice, it’s just a completely different quality of life here.
Would you want to explore other international films, what if you get an offer from India or France?
100%. I think the community of actors, filmmakers and writers we are not that different. I know the media wants us to think that differences between countries are big, but at the end of the day you and I are not that different. I’d love to work with international media. I’m very happy that I studied in New York, they were people from all over the world in my class, from every walk of life and all kind of ages; but you still have that lingo, you still share this wish to do something cool or do something that matters.
Our field is universal, so I would love to do foreign films. I love Indian movies, I’ve watched a couple mostly the vintage ones and I love the singing and dancing.
You have worked in theatres? What do you enjoy more theatres or electronic media?
They are completely different, yet I love them both. The way you work is so different. There are some great things and some shitty things with both. But right now TV is what’s paying the rent, so that’s where I wanna be.
Do you think theater is a better learning platform?
The thing about theater is that you have immediate contact with your audience, you can feel what works and what doesn’t. Theater is a great way to start your career, getting direct contact with the audience is a great learning experience.
Reality shows, would you be interested in working in one?
No because I’m a pretty private person and I can get really nervous, I’m not used to being myself in front of people in that capacity.
Secondly, I think reality show is kinda shame. I do watch some of them, they are super entertaining and it’s definitely a huge part of media today, but I think it is taking time away from stories that are more important than seeing people fight on TV. It makes me upset to see that we are glorifying the bickering and fighting, and the wrong kind of value system all the time instead of showing good scripted shows.
You are in postproduction of a film Big Mountain, what’s the movie about?
It’s my short film, I wrote, directed and acted in it as well. It’s about a couple breaking up and I wrote it after I broke up with someone. It’s funny and sad, just the way breakups are. We shot it last winter and hopefully we will finish it sometime soon. And yes, it’s a step forward as I wrote and directed it, and I’m really proud of it. Everything is a learning curve, so was this film.