We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Tornberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Maria, what role has risk played in your life or career?

There is no way I can talk about risk without talking about how I risked my life when I jumped out of my bedroom window during a home invasion a few years ago. As horrifying as that and my devastating injuries I suffered were, the following months of recovery triggered a profound self discovery journey that forced me to take a good look at my life. The vision of me jumping in blind faith, was showing me how brave I really am, and always have been. I realized that I have been taking huge risks my whole life. Even though, at times, the fear was overwhelming, it never stopped me from my true calling; to find freedom. I was always scared, but my desire to live was always greater. And for many artists, creating art is the way we breathe, feel free and feel alive. Choosing a life as an artist, is in itself a huge risk. It means risking financial stability, risking feeling exposed and rejected and also facing the risk that we may be misunderstood and isolated at times. I took a huge risk when I left my country, Sweden, at fifteen years old, and moved to Paris on my own to work as a fashion model. Years later after having worked and travelled around Europe, I risked what I knew and had worked for, when I left the modeling profession behind and moved to New York, went to drama school and pursued a career as an actor. And when I got an offer by a theatrical agent in Los Angeles, I jumped on the opportunity and packed my bags. After a couple of years in Los Angeles I decided to risk it all again by moving behind the camera and make my on films and do photography. After getting a lot of fantastic feedback, I decided to start my own photography business. I started from scratch and risked the “illusion” of safety but within three months, my business was thriving and I have been working steadily as a photographer ever since. Today I am able to share all my experiences as a model and actress with so many aspiring actors and help them with their careers. I believe the word “risk” is often about; loosing what you think you know and feel familiar with, loosing the illusion of safety and the idea of yourself and others that you are attached to. Sometimes the risk you take, the leap you make, is what will catapult you into the truth of yourself and what you are meant to do. The biggest risk you take by believing in yourself, to bet on yourself when no one else does and when the odds are stacked against you, is that you might “fail”. When I was very young, I thought that taking risks could mean; to fall flat on my face, make a fool out of myself and find out that I was not talented after all. But “failure” is only the attachment we have to other people’s judgements. The seed that has been planted in you is your own unique calling and you are risking betraying yourself by not listening to your true purpose. Today I believe that the worst risk you can take is to not take the risk of following the highest calling. If you don’t fail, don’t take the leap of faith, don’t follow your dreams; you’re risking a life without true fulfillment and meaning. Taking Risks is scary but also exciting and always worth it. And as the Finnish author wrote: “For if you’re not afraid, how can you be really brave?” -Tove Jansson

What should our readers know about your business?
My business is dedicated to actors. Tornberg Headshots unique, differentiating quality is that we offer a full-service, helping actors with everything from career strategies, personal brands to headshots.

I have helped hundreds of actors increase their auditions by creating headshots that stand out and grab the casting director’s attention. I have also placed many actors with the best agents in Los Angeles.
My new weekly branding class gives actors the tools to take control of their careers, and establish authority through their personal brand. Tornberg Headshots keeps expanding and the goal is to assist actors with all their needs, and navigate through the business which can be overwhelming. Since I myself have been in front of the camera for over 25 years, both as a model and actor, I have so much knowledge and experience that I’m able to pour into my business.
I am now in a position where I can share everything I have learned both as an artist but also as an entrepreneur, because at the end of they day, artists need to think about their careers as a business as well as art.
The way I have come to this point of success is to do consistent high quality work, keep growing, always be curious and open to learning. I truly love what I do, give everything I have during the sessions and my clients feel that. You can never become jaded or get into a “routine mode”. I look at every session as the first time I do a headshot session. I put in as much thought and care into every session. During the headshot session, my job is so much more than composition and lighting, it’s also helping the actor with looks and wardrobe, body language and what I call “soul language”, how to connect and convey emotions while being still. It’s really powerful, Whenever I witness a moment in someones eyes that is completely raw, vulnerable and present, I get goosebumps, and that’s when I know: “We got it!”. I know that whatever I’m seeing, the casting director will see too. Watching actor’s careers change for the better with the help of the headshots we create, brings me so much joy.
I believe that once you have found your passion, and have found great success in your business, it is your responsibility to share everything you have learned and use your business as the springboard to make a difference in other peoples lives.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love this! My WEHO-hood. Weho Bistro is the best little Bistro in LA. Right on the corner of La Cienega and Holloway drive. They have the best home made soups, bread and a fantastic Bloody Mary. I’m basically a part of their inventory. The little intimate bar in the garden of Hotel Sunset Marquis, (Schhh) is a favorite spot where I often go and work. It’s the rockstar hotel where you’ll be able to mingle with rockstars during the Grammys. I am a huge fan of Barney’s Beanery. Their buffalo chicken wings are to die for. Beer and wings and a game of pool on a Sunday afternoon? Can’t get any better than that. But I think the number 1 spot is the West Hollywood dog park on St Vicente Blvd, where you’ll meet the hottest dogs in town. 

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Music has always been the source of my inspiration. Ryuichi Sakamoto is the artist I listen to when I need to find my emotional core. His music resonates with my soul. I used his music as the soundtrack of my latest short film “The Empty Space In Between”.  David Hauver is an amazing talented photographer and cinematographer who has been my mentor and partner for years. We are now in pre production of my next short film: “The Realm of The Queen”. Quyen Tran, the cinematographer on my latest short film “The Empty Space In Between”, is one of the most talented and genius people I have ever had the honor to work with. Every shot she creates is a work of art.

Website: www.tornbergheadshots.com

Instagram: @tornbergmaria

Twitter: @mariatornberg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miamiatornberg

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4PetCNs9rm6ODmHhKIEA4Q

Other: www.tornbergphotography.com

Image Credits
David Hauver

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.