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

Hi NÉA, why did you pursue a creative career?
I am pretty sure the creative career found me… and my why is the same from day one – creativity makes me happy in a heartbeat and it felt right from the beginning. I did know it was going to be one helluva ride but it was the next step of evolution for me personally. I was never the 9-5 type or traditional, even though I did the whole high education thing, collected degrees and flirted with science before I took the plunge. However, I was always creative on so many levels and grew up into a modern renaissance woman. Learning new things, adding versatility into my life, exploring and discovering the world… that has always been the constant. I grew up in a Balkan province, where people do not exactly dream entertainment careers into reality. I am sure my start would have been a completely different story was I born in the USA, or even the UK. It really carries an additional layer of work for us foreigners but is by no means impossible. I have always been very transparent publicly about the realities of this career, and would honestly be happiest if social media would stop governing people’s lives. Creating something out of nothing and living life to express (not impress) is a magical thing. This career feels almost like a hunt for joys in life while making a living. Creating imagery and motion, telling fantastical stories through those mediums while satiating my globetrotting needs – that sounds just right in my book! Sprinkle that with a bit of mermaiding, stiltwalking or archery, a lot of languages, some hanging upside down on aerial aparatuses and voila! Life is truly an adventure.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My cheesy logline would be – small town Croatian alt chick conquers Hollyweird! Jokes aside, I really want to make a difference in this industry, especially as a Slavic woman. 2020 has brought some change in diversity and I strive to push that change forward, so that more people can know what it feels like to recognize themselves on screen. And let me tell you, we have been depicted as unauthentically as it gets, and represented by our people even less. Celebrating culture and uniqueness is where it’s at! In this industry not only is it acceptable to have many talents, it’s kinda expected – which is a perfect excuse for me to keep on with the many things that interest me. I enjoy work in front of the camera, telling stories and transforming like a chameleon, so much. And sometimes, I am also behind it – doing makeup, or maybe birthing a project and collecting festival awards. I’ll never stop geeking out when I see my face on billboards or the big screen, and still can’t believe the amount of firsts in my career as a Croat and self-made at that. While all of it is fun, the journey is far from easy – and I wouldn’t have gotten here if I wasn’t persistent, knew my worth and grew a thicker skin over time. No handouts, connections or rich parents/s.o., just straight hustle all day, every day, without compromising my principles. It’s crucial to remember one’s focus and goals. I learned a lot of lessons since I moved across the pond, especially about the American way of life, which is very different than the European one – from everyday things to behavior and mentality. Even though I’m used to everything that comes with not being a “normie” looks- and affinities-wise, I had to accept some new labels slapped on me. For a Croat with excellent English that also includes prejudice or dealing with others’ lack of knowledge. It only fortifies my journey as an international crossover actress and model, causes I believe in and giving back when no one is watching. This Balkan weirdo has only begun, and there’s plenty of glass ceilings to be shattered so watch out!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well… the pandemic changed the usual way of life in the past year and doing any of those feels so distant. I’ve always been a huge foodie and that’s the best memory I have of each of the 39 countries I’ve enjoyed thus far. So of course L.A. is no different and, as such a melting pot of nations, it offers so much variety! My go-to combo is a good meal plus a good activity. The first thing that comes to mind is the ocean. I love a good beach walk in the sand with froyo in hand! Next the good old Griffith, not just the views but also inside exhibit, followed by a visit to Endeavour to satisfy nerdy needs. A darkly themed event, ball or concert somewhere at the Sunset Strip (Whiskey or Viper), dance at Bar Sinister or devouring Blue Milk at Scum&VIllainy, with an obligatory late-night diner stop for i.e. some chili fries for a good night sleep. While in Hollywood, we’d grab a double-double (protein-style for me) at In’n’Out and then a Mel’s milkshake while touristing around. And I cannot forget a big yummy bowl of favorite Tonkotsu ramen when walking around Little Tokyo or after a fruitful thrift-shopping day, followed by Angels Flight – which reminds me of the Croatian capital’s mini cable car in the heart of the city center. I even made a short film project about all the things us ex-Yugoslavia expats appreciate about the City of Angels. It’s called My L.A. – Balkan Way, just won its 5th laurel and so stay tuned =)

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Faith Roswell! This woman is badass in every sense of the way. Besides being a former model, she is a British writer, a public speaker on empowerment through adventure and a champion for women. Fellow lover of all things apocalyptic, nerdy goofball, metalhead, a genuine person that is a truly rare breed today. Next year it will be a decade since we met and I am thankful for such a wholesome human in my life. Rock on!

Website: www.neadune.com

Instagram: @neadune

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/neadune/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/neadune

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

Other: www.imdb.me/neadune

Image Credits
Paul Archuleta Sanja Baljkas Jeff Miller Myke Shooter Seth Neuffer

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