We had the good fortune of connecting with Renata Hinrichs and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Renata, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking: how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career?
My father was a Lutheran Minister and we moved many times throughout the Midwest before I was twelve. I was always the new kid and making new friends was sometimes hard so I found safety in my imagination and in movement. I loved to dance. I tried to hide my dancing but my mother noticed me in the shadows of the living room or in the backyard and took me to a ballet class. I found a place to express myself with my body and Soul. Something clicked on a deep level and I became obsessed with the dream of becoming a ballerina. That dream is what propelled me to New York City at 19 years old. I was a young dancer from Minneapolis and that first year in the Big Apple was a life changing, leap of faith, risk taking adventure. I was terrified and filled with joy from one moment to the next and I made it work. That decision has informed the way I’ve lived my life.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
How did you get to where you are today professionally? Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? My mantra; ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ has helped me keep moving forward in my career. I have followed my intuition and what I love and sometimes it’s simply having fun. That spirit of adventure, going to the unknown and taking risks has led me from the dance world (Harkness) to the dance-theater world (BIG DANCE THEATER), to acting on stage, television and film, and writing and producing my own work (RANDOM ACTS). Each step along the way I have had to face my fear, doubts and insecurities and take that leap of faith and each time I have grown in ways that I could not imagine.
We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others?
My dance background informs how I approach a role. I find my way to a character through my body. My first film role, HAPPY NOW, had very little dialogue and one of the first scenes in the film is me walking on the beach. The director said she wanted to see my lower body saying something different from my upper body and I knew instantly what she meant.
When I created my solo play, RANDOM ACTS, which I describe as a narrative memoir combined with a dance piece, I found my way through the story by remembering what it felt like physically in each scene.
What are you most proud of or excited about?
I am excited about gathering my team and filming A WALK HOME. A short film script I wrote that just won The Best Short Screenplay Award in the Los Angeles Film Festival. I am also developing my solo play into a feature film.
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.
I love LA and one of the places I would tell anyone to go is Musso & Frank. Sit at the classic bar and have one of their signature martinis. You can’t go wrong. Do the architecture tour of the Frank Gehry, Disney Hall and be sure to see the L.A. Philharmonic, led by Gustavo Dudamel. See something at the Hollywood Bowl. Check out the Getty Museum. Drive up the winding streets, past the fabulous houses in the Hollywood Hills on your way to Lake Hollywood Park. Watch the dogs play, pull up a blanket in the shade of the trees and have a picnic under the Hollywood sign in the distance. I love going to the Santa Monica pier. The ferris wheel is so fun and sitting on the beach and watching the sun set is the best. You can’t go wrong with the restaurant recommendations from Jonathan Gold. He lists many of the hidden treasures of L.A. local dining. Some of my favorite restaurants are, Tacos Tu Madre. Girl & the Goat, and Jitlada; the best Thai food I’ve ever had.
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?
I am grateful to my mother for exposing me to art, music and dance at an early age. I was also mentored by Greta Schreyer Lobel, a Holocust survivor who was a poet, jewelry maker and artist. I worked as her model and assistant but she became a surrogate grandmother to me and a profound inspiration. She risked her life to come to America from Vienna in the 1930s to practice her faith and pursue her art. She always encouraged me to create my own work and to trust my voice. Annie B Parsons, is also someone I want to acknowledge. Working with her and being one of the founding members of BIG DANCE THEATER helped me make the transition from being a dancer to being an actress and combining dance and theater informs my own work. I’ve had many teachers and collaborators along the way but the place that changed the way I work as an actor and created a safe place for me to write and tell my stories is The Barrow Group Theater Company. Lee Brock and Seth Barrish are master teachers, directors and mentors. They have created a wonderful community of artists. As artists it is essential to find our community and a support system. We do not do this work alone.
Zach DeZon and Gabriella Nissen -Photographers