We had the good fortune of connecting with Ann-Sophie Vanlommel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ann-Sophie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
Risk taking is one of the most important choices a person can make in life. Because without risks big changes won’t happen and life stagnates. If Austrian- American actress Hedy Lamarr didn’t risk boarding the boat Mayer from MGM was on she’d probably never have reached the United States during Hollywood’s Golden Age. If I hadn’t taken the risks I did I would never know what freedom is. In short, risk taking is scary but absolutely necessary. Risk has cost me many sleepless nights filled with tears and anxiety, but the feeling of satisfaction I was rewarded with afterwards was worth the pain time and again. It’s played an enormous role in my life, it still does because I’m an artist, I take risks for a living (laughs). I was faced with several life defining choices, not knowing where any of them would lead me. Which was the right choice and which was the wrong one? No idea. That’s where the scary breath-taking moment of taking a risk comes in. The feeling I had when I took the biggest risk of them all; a heavy heart that was beating a hundred miles per hour while I was taking the first step up an unknown staircase, hoping it lead to a better place than where I found myself in that moment. Without taking that risk I would not be contributing to this article right now. Taking the risks I did taught me how to take more risks in my work as an actor too. We’re scared of risks while we should embrace them, they lead to new opportunities. It’s also easy to take a risk which doesn’t work out in the end. This doesn’t mean you failed but it means that you will have to find another route to your destination. It’s something to be proud of since taking a risks takes guts and bravery.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a European actress from Belgium who crossed half the world a few years ago in pursuit of an international career in entertainment. Taking the risk of leaving everything behind and starting all over again wasn’t easy, but it was definitely the right choice. It gave me the opportunity to grow as a person and artist, which has been beneficial for me on many levels. The process of growth is not easy since it requires a lot of time, effort and dedication, it’s important to stretch your mind and become aware of things you usually don’t pay attention to. I’m proud of the choices I made that lead me to the opportunity of being an actress in Los Angeles and for all the projects I have been able to work on since being here. I’m excited to see what’s in store next. I’m quick to judge myself harshly on many levels regarding my work and self since I set the bar pretty high right from the start. This is only counterproductive and toxic which means you have to get rid of it. So I started to treat myself a bit kinder which felt unnatural at first but became more and more habitual as time went by. It’s important to be good with yourself because others will do the judging of you for you, there’s no need to do that to yourself. The pandemic has kept me busy exploring my creativity which I think is a wonderful gift to get in this terrible time. I’ve picked up sketching and drawing again, and I have very recently started performing little sketches where I sing original or (comically altered) cover songs accompanied on my piano in stereotypical characters under the name “The Ridiculous Pianist” on YouTube. I’ve got several new sketches planned but have been out for a few weeks thanks to my voice being lost for a while. I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere (laughs).
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Since we live in the period of Corona there won’t be many friends visiting nor would there be any touring around. But if we’d be living under the usual circumstances I’d take my friends to see the Griffith Observatory, I’d take them to Javista Tea and Coffee Bar on Sunset and then take off to San Francisco to spend the rest of the week there in the parks (laughs).
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to do a Shoutout to my supportive family and friends both here and at home, with a special thank you dedicated to my grandparents and mother who always believed in me as well as my brother William who’s always been an important key person in my life. Thank you! I’d also love to thank the Stella Adler Academy of Acting for the tremendous acting training they have given me.
Clay Larsen, Yvel Sagaille, Universal Music Belgium, Giancarlo Diaz, Taylor Brooks, BBDO Belgium