playing characters: interview with helena vestergaard
Helena Vestergaard: sometimes actress, sometimes musician and always really, really ridiculously good-looking. The Melbourne-born artist has managed to squeeze a hell of a life into 19 years, from working with filmmaker Kai Neville in Dear Suburbia to acting in obscure Korean commercials.
What initially drew you to acting?
Ever since I was a child I always loved to play characters and pretend to be something or someone that wasn’t me.
When did you realise it was something you wanted to do professionally?
When I was a an early teen I realised I was good at it and could start making money and my dream then became to be in a big Hollywood movie with all the fame and glamour… now my ideas of that are quite the opposite.
What kind of work do you do?
The work I do is the jobs I can get! But the art and unpaid projects I’ll do are based on a character I am attracted or drawn to, which are usually dark ones that have emotional layers and a lot of history to them or sometimes even just simple ones I feel I could have fun with.
What projects/films have you been involved in?
I have done a lot of screen work with Australian film director Aleksi Veils. I did a weird TV commercial for a Korean client, which had a lot of acting involved. Dear Suburbia, some small roles in TV series and I have a little vimeo film coming out with Monster Children soon.
What was it like working with Kai Neville for Dear Suburbia?
Really fun. He’s a cool dude.
Are you working on anything at the moment?
My music actually. I am a musician and have been really getting into writing music lately so hopefully in the next few months or so you will be hearing of some stuff coming out.
What influences you?
E v e r y thing.
Have you had any formal training in acting?
Yes, I completed my diploma in musical theatre acting singing and dancing where I did my fair share of theatre shows and was the face of a show we toured in New Zealand called ‘curtain call’, and I studied screen acting at the ‘film space’.
What is the strangest thing you’ve done on film?
In Dear Suburbia I had to do a lot of strange things like eat doughnuts off a samurai sword whilst sitting on a post that was spinning in circles, oh and I was half naked… also had to kiss a guy with a camera so close the lens was almost touching my face. A little awkward.
What has been your most exciting project?
Working with Aleksi was exiting because he would push me and make me cry and laugh and feel anger all in one scene. Very emotionally draining though.
What is your proudest moment?
I think I’m still waiting for that.
Would you happily do this forever, or are there other prospects in the future?
I will always be an artist. I cannot do anything else, it’s all I have.
What’s the dream?
Just to feel successful in life which would mean I am always using all my creativity and am passionate and happy.
Tell us an acting secret:
Just think of all the mistakes and bad things that have happened are there for a reason, to teach us lessons and give us life experience and then use those lessons and experiences to trigger emotions that will help you cry or laugh or scream when you are lost in a scene or trying to find your history in a character.
Who is your favourite director?
If I had to pick just one – Wes Anderson.
What is your favourite movie?
Again if I have to pick just one… this is just going on the mood I am in right now, then it is Pan’s Labyrinth… because I feel like watching it.