We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Van Yck and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Honestly, for me it was never a deliberate choice. I started being creative from a very young age, which was the reason my parents sent me to art school. It was always my way of expressing my personality. Drawing, writing, acting out stories, I couldn’t live without it. Still can’t. I guess it was my way to discover and develop myself. Being artistic was a drive in me that I couldn’t get out, it was a part of my personality. I never really had a moment in life where I was comparing different paths in life, different studies or different careers, and contemplating what to choose. So in that sense, it wasn’t a choice for me, I was just driven towards it. Of course in the end you still make the choice to actually go for it, or abandon it. The support of my mom and dad definitely played a huge role in that for me. and without them I probably wouldn’t have come this far. They supported me in what I really wanted, what would genuinely make me happy. and that always gave me strength to fully pursue an artistic career. I always knew what I wanted, but I was also supported that. Many people don’t have that same support and often give up what they really want, just to pursue something that’s expected of them. I feel like instead of “choosing” this career, many small pieces drove me in this direction. For example, I realized your job is a huge part of your life, so the best is to choose something you actually enjoy doing. Also, the creative career fits my lifestyle. I like challenge, travel and a lot of variety. It’s perfect for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The main two things I’m concentrating on right now is acting and modeling. Aside from those, I still practice photography, I sing and write poems sometimes. I enjoy all my art forms of course, but pursuing something professionally requires focus and you can’t do everything at once. Now that I live in the US, I always tend to say my accent sets me apart! It’s always the first thing people notice. I don’t see that as a bad thing necessarily, since it could definitely be used in certain characters. Also, I have been chosen a lot because of my look, both in modeling and acting. I would say that sets me apart. I feel like I’m a very “typecastable” person for vampires, witches, demons and all of that. The amount of goth themed projects I’ve done is quite large! Even though my specific look has given me work, I still want to keep my casting options open and work on different things as well. Still though, I like my brand and wouldn’t want to change it for the world. I’m definitely proud of what I’ve already accomplished. Even though I always tend to look at the things I still want to happen, I’m happy with where I am now. I started with nothing and worked myself up, project after project, and of course a lot of training and education. I deserve to be proud of that. The entertainment industry can be very surprising, and new opportunities can definitely come up if you put in the work. I’m very excited for all those opportunities and the new projects I can be involved in in the future. I’m also excited to maybe start making my own stuff. I now only edit my modeling work and come up with new photoshoot ideas sometimes, but I would love to write my own movie or series maybe some day! I started out in Belgium of course, with art school and theater. My first actual acting education started at age 13. Later I also took on professional opera singing. It was sometimes a lot to combine with my high school work, but I loved every second of it. Years of education and preparation is what brought me here today. Of course I knew what I wanted, but finding the way to accomplish that wasn’t always easy. While working on becoming better, I had to think about where I would go, how I would go there, what the right path was. Europe has a great film industry, but I wanted to get experience elsewhere first. I went to Canada first to follow an acting program. After that I went to New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, with the idea of working for a few years after my program. I knew this experience in the USA would definitely serve me well in the future. Of course when I met my partner here I decided to stay and build my career further here. When I was younger I definitely overcame most challenges with the help and support of my parents. I used to be way more vulnerable and my parents always encouraged me to go on. Right now, I only have my dad left, but I have an incredible wife and great friends. A great support circle just makes you feel so much better in everything you do, even when facing the biggest obstacles. That being said, most of the hard work of course has to be done by yourself. If you really really want something, challenges don’t really matter. I always gave my all to overcome whatever difficulties I faced, because it was just so important to me. Support definitely pushed me forward, but in the end, it still all depended on myself. In the artistic world, and definitely as an actress or model, you work your way up. It always starts with the smallest gigs. When you leave a good impression, you’re on time and you do the work, people will notice, ask you again or pass on your name. It’s all about making connections and taking every opportunity you can get. You never know where it will take you or who you will come in contact with. I definitely learned that’s how you get yourself out there. I got rejected a lot, but I tried again every time and something always came out of it. You can never give up, not even when you don’t get the job after trying 100 times. You never know you might get it the next time. I also learned that you have to be patient, but that doesn’t mean just sitting on the couch and not do anything. If you keep doing what you’re doing, putting in the work, making new connections and so on, things will absolutely happen. Patience is a good thing, but you never just get lucky. It will all depend on yourself and how much you are willing to give. And of course having a day off and relaxing on the couch is sometimes nice too!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First of all, I would introduce them to my wife and all my friends of course, if they don’t already know them! Let’s say there is no Corona virus, we would definitely hit the city and explore some fun clubs in downtown LA or Hollywood. Maybe we could then end the night with a typical In n Out burger. One of my favorite bars is The Pikey in Hollywood, so that’s a good spot to bring someone to. I would show them my theater, Zombie Joes Underground, where I have spent many a day to prepare for a show. Hopefully they could even watch a show. We could then go to Idle Hour, the bar across from the theater. It’s the place where we mostly all hang out. My acting school, New York Film Academy, is on the list as well, since I spent one full year over there. I would call that the beginning of my USA adventure. For the rest, I would choose to take some trips! California has a variety of travel options, both the beach and the snow. Big Bear and Sequoia national park are my first choices. This would probably already fill a week, but if we would have more time, I would take them to Mammoth Lakes as well.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Definitely my mom and dad! My mom passed away in 2016 unfortunately but was always my biggest supporter. My dad is still living in Belgium and visits me whenever he can. He always helped me and gave me strength to continue. Also my wife Victoria, who is also an actress and loves being creative as much as I do. Very thankful to have her in my life!
Blinky Productions/ Chris R. Notarile Steven Chou photography Mark Edwards photography Céline Tshika Zombie Joes Underground Theater