The talented Nina Seul from Cannes to California!
You were raised in Cannes, on the French Riviera. What was that like?
I was lucky to grow up on the French Riviera and to attend school in the city of Cannes, well known for the Cannes Film Festival. The South of France reminds me a little bit of California countryside (mountains are 45 minutes from the city and the Mediterranean sea is beautiful and warm during the summer). I attended a music class from 11 to 15 and started to perform for the first time in the musical Orpheo Negro. Cannes is a city with an important cultural life. The Palais des festivals is well known for hosting the Cannes Film Festival every year, but also is the creative center for other important live entertainment programming with no less than 50 shows every year. At an early age, I had the chance to attend movie screenings, plays and concerts with my parents, both of whom are very passionate about arts and culture.
Where are you located now?
After 15 years in Paris, I moved to Los Angeles, where I have been living and working for more than 3 years.
Who has been your greatest influence throughout your life?
My parents gave me the chance to follow my artistic path and I’m very grateful for that. They both had successful careers in works that they were passionate about. My dad is a University Professor and my mom is a long time project manager of Cultural Programming for the Cannes Palais des Festivals. They supported me when I told them I wanted to become an actress. This support was very important coming from two very smart people that I respect.
When did you begin acting?
I started to take classes when I was ten and was in acting programs throughout school. At the age of 17, I attended the Summer Class at the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in New York for two months, and then after High School, I moved to Paris to study acting for two more years and started my acting career at 20. I was in a theater company and my first role was Miranda in the Tempest by Shakespeare.
Is there someone career-wise that you want to emulate?
I usually find my inspiration in life, travel, people, movies. Everything I see, everyone I meet can feed my imagination, my inner world and my subconscious and I use reality to build my characters. But of course other actresses, actors and careers influence me and inspire me. For example when I was nineteen I was a huge fan of the show Alias starring Jennifer Garner and she is the reason why I started martial arts training. I wanted to be able to perform action roles. I think Meryl Streep is the actress who impresses me the most. She is an electric actress. A few others who have influenced me greatly: Viola Davis, Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington and Scarlett Johansson (among many others).
What is your latest project?
My two latest projects are a feature film and a music video. Our Almost Completely True Story is a comedy directed by Don Scardino about the encounter of an aging movie star and a funny little man in a bird store. It details how two seniors, back on the dating scene in their old days, transform their new friendship into romance. In a different register, I had the chance to produce and perform in the latest music video of the trendy Los Angeles based rock band Yard of Blondes. The band released 4 EP’s since 2011 and was featured along with Eric Burdon (The Animals) and Victoria Williams on the Hi-Desert compilation ‘Highway 62 Love Songs’. Rodney Bingenheimer (legendary KROQ DJ) began playing their song ‘Murderology’ on his show which led to a breakout moment with hundreds of other radio stations picking up their music. Despite the pandemic hitting worldwide, Yard Of Blondes released their 4th single ‘Hummingbird’, in February 2021. The song was written in 2016 after the Ferguson unrest and the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.
The song ‘Hummingbird’ was featured on editorial playlists and radio stations worldwide. The song came out with a strong music video that I produced along with Fanny Jacob and Vincent Jacob, the two lead band members. The concept of the video (in which I also played the lead) was simple and shows a menace coming at people who don’t have time to react. It spreads like a deadly virus among the population.
What is a project that you will always hold near and dear?
Producing and starring in the Music Video Hummingbird made it a very special project for me. I produced it with Fanny and Vincent Jacob and it quickly became something very personal. I’m a huge fan of the band Yard of Blondes and working with some of my favorite artists in the Music Industry was very exciting. The song talks about the drama of mass shootings and gun violence which is to me one of the most important problems in our society. Having been able to talk about it publicly thanks to the song and the music video was an important act for me.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
This year on a personal plan, I’m really looking forward to seeing my family again! Because of the pandemic and the travel ban, I haven't been able to see my parents and my little brother for more than a year, so I can’t wait for the borders to reopen again! Artistically I’m working on a new movie called Violent Origami written by the director Buddy Chambers. I will play Rose, an assassin trying to escape her past and her former employer. The feature is an electric action thriller in the vein of Atomic Blonde and Nikita meets Sicario and Traffic. Violent Origami plays into the rehabilitation of Rose, an assassin who is no longer addicted to her former profession.
What would you say to your younger self if you could?
I would say: hey Nina, keep going, you are in the right direction but don’t forget to work on your American accent!
On a scale from ONE to TEN, how driven are you?
TEN! 100% TEN! As an actress, if you are not hyper-motivated then you shouldn’t choose this career path. As with a lot of artistic paths, it’s a scary and uncertain career, you don’t really have control over things, and for one role that you book, there are many more roles that you didn’t. That is why you need to be extremely motivated and driven. You have to keep faith and believe in yourself.
When you're not feeling motivated how do you get back on track?
When I'm not feeling motivated, I first allow myself to feel down for a little bit and do something different. I mean we are all human and being motivated all the time isn’t possible. I give myself time to process this lack of motivation and treat myself with a good meal, I authorize myself to take a day off, watch a movie, do something I enjoy that has nothing to do with work. I kind of take a mini-vacation from work and then I give myself a schedule to go back on track with easy tasks, just to slowly get back into work without too much pressure and expectations. Being gentle with ourselves is important for mental health and well-being because most of the time we are the ones who are pressuring ourselves.
How much do you believe LUCK plays a role in success?
I believe that luck plays a big role in success. Being at the right place at the right moment is part of success. But above all, I believe in work and effort. The most important factor in success is a good work ethic. This is what makes you ready to succeed when luck shows up.
When did you feel like you made 'it'?
Acting makes you question yourself and your career constantly. One day you can be on set living your best life and the day after looking at your phone hoping that your agent will call for a new project. Of course, success on a project or winning an award for your work can give you an extremely rewarding feeling of happiness and achievement. But I honestly haven’t fully felt the ‘I’ve made it’ feeling. Nothing can be taken for granted but you can be grateful and thankful for each role you played.
Best piece of advice you've ever received about the business?
‘You have to do 90 % of the work’.
Even if you have a manager or an agent, don’t expect them to do all the work for you because you are your best representation and your number one supporter.
How can we stay up to date with you?
I post my latest news and projects on Instagram: @ninaseul_
Thank you for the Interview!