We had the good fortune of connecting with Irina Isberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Irina, how do you think about risk?
Risks: I have always taken them, although I’ve always been scared of them. I had been focusing on my international career before the pandemic and had some good opportunities and projects coming up. Then all of a sudden, everything collapsed, fundings were withdrawn etc. I got a chance to return to my previous job in a very succesful show in the Nordics. But it didn’t feel right for me anymore; I had moved on and even if everything was in lockdown, I felt very strongly that there was no turning back. I still had to keep my focus in the future and pursue my artistic dreams, no matter how impossible they might seem. That was a risk; but I believe it will be worth it in the long run. Now I already have two pandemic era short films being released, Persecution which is already gaining festival success, and Shades of Sadness, a collaboration project with fellow artists here in L.A.
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 an actress first and foremost. This for me comes from a deep seated need to tell stories. So the storyteller in me is stronger than the entertainer; although both of these sides excist. It wasn’t an easy road for me to allow my self to become a professional actor – there wasn’t too much support from my background. But it was so evident for me that this is what I need to be doing in life that there was no way to suppress it. Theater was my first love and will always be. I still return to theater whenever I have a chance, even though I’ve worked mainly in tv and film the past years. The stories told and the ensembles formed mean more to me than big bucks so I never say no to an independent project if the story fascinates me. This is why I was eager to do Persecution with a young, ambitious film maker Aku Hietikko. It’s a film with only one actor, myself, in an isolated location. Then I did an experimental film, Shades of Sadness here in Hollywood using devising method. Both have been passion projects for me. I have also worked many years in a mainstream tv drama that was considered to be superficial by some fellow artists, but the amount of lives the story touched was really moving. No story is too shallow and all should be told with grace.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a punk rocker at heart, so what I love most about L.A. is the subculture, the underground, the live music scene and street art. I’d definitely take you to see Jellovision live show on Saturday evening; it’s hosted by Green Jelly frontman Bill Manspeaker at Harvard/Hollywood every week. Then on Sunday afternoon we’d visit Melrose Trading Post at Fairfax/Melrose to hear live music and shop cool second hand and vintage goods and clothes. Also they have great street food and snacks there. Obviously we’d have to strut along Sunset Strip and visit Rainbow, Whisky a go go and Viper – they host some cool up and coming bands aswell as great jam nights. Monday morning would start at Runyon Canyon park yoga class by Black Market Yoga. Food and drink; L.A. is full of great plant based cafes and restaurants. One of them is Extra Market on Fairfax, they make delicious vegan burgers and sandwiches.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My biggest inspiration and encouragement as an artist came from an unexpected source about ten years ago; my boss at a tv station where I was working as a host quit her job and gave everyone a book as a farewell present. It was Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way. The minute the book fell on my lap it felt like kismet; from that moment I was dedicated to honor the artist in myself and stop compromising – the very same thing my boss did and was now encouraging others to do aswell! I know many creatives love this book, but it always finds new readers and I can’t highlight it’s significance to me enough! I’d also love to give a shoutout to the director Aku Hietikko, who I’m honored to be working with. He’s a true talent and a Nordic voice we’ll be hearing more about in the future!
Other: Both “Persecution” – a multiple award winning thriller, and Shades of Sadness, experimental short will be released soon – so stay tuned and see my Instagram for details!
Seinajoki City Theater, Pinksu Makeup, Tom Lahti, Nadi Hammouda, Moskito Television