Image by Marc Lagrange for Spiel-kind

A few days ago, I got to talk to the most up-beat and lovely girl in acting: Ella-June Henrard. Ella-June is a 22-year old Flemish actress and stars in Boy7, a movie that is going to hit the cinemas today. We talked about acting, insecurities and dreams. Curious yet? Here we go!

I read a lot of interviews dating back to 2010 and 2012. I could not find much about how you are doing now though. So tell me, what’s up?
Well, after I graduated from high school I worked on a few cool productions and worked on my English in London for a while. A year ago, when filming Boy 7, I had to work on my Flemish accent - or actually working on loosing it - and met Yvette Fijen: an acting coach at Maastricht’s drama school. That is when things took a turn, as she asked me if I would like to audition and see if it would fit me. I had the best time when auditioning and realized that I wanted to learn more about acting in school. And so I left Antwerpen and moved to Maastricht. That is quite what I have been up to lately.

Was it hard to leave your hometown?
Yeah, it was! I love school, but Antwerpen is my favorite city. It has the same cool places as you guys have in Amsterdam, but just in a smaller variety. Which means that you run into people you know all the time. And besides, Antwerpen has a really cool art scene. There is lots of theatre, museums and stuff to do. I actually try to come home to it every weekend. Let me just list some of my hotspots for you!

(I will post Ella-June’s hotspots in Antwerpen later this week.)

Did you always want to become an actress?
What not many people know about me is that I have a severe form of dyslexia. As a child, I could not develop my writing and reading skills as fast as the other children could. That made me really insecure and therefore my parents transferred me to a school where there was more room to develop myself in other ways, such as in acting and drawing. That really helped me built my confidence again.

The moment I discovered acting was when I played a part in a play at school and soon realized that this was what I wanted to do in life. And so I went for it!

How did you break into the acting scene?
At 15 I played a role in a short film, a project of a film student. On set, I noticed that quite a handsome man was looking at me for a while. I did not seek anything behind it, besides feeling kind of flattered by his attention. That man turned out to be Hans Herbots, a Flemish movie director. He told me that he was looking for a girl to star in a movie he was about to shoot in two months, but could not find the right one for three years already. Somehow, he thought I was perfect for the job and asked me to join the project. Really crazy of course and I realize that I am quite lucky this happened to me, especially at such a young age.

What projects are you working on now?
We are going to shoot a Flemish version of Mannenharten in a few weeks. As I am also juggling school and promoting Boy 7, it is kind of a hectic time. I actually spend my days mostly on the train. I guess this tells me that I should really get my drivers license. :-) The time that would save…I can only imagine.

You told me that you actually prefer performing in a theatre than playing a leading role on the big screen. What is the difference between the two?
Theatre is like a snapshot, which cannot be rewound. What the audience just saw is something that will never exactly happen like that again. Even when actors play a role a million times, every performance is slightly different. And besides, on stage there is no director that can tell you to do something one more time or differently. What you see is what you get. Somehow that feels real. Do not get me wrong, I also love film. The way of acting is just amazingly different.

Do you have a secret passion?
I do! It might sound a bit weird, but I have an enormous interest in spending time with people that are mentally challenged. After I finished high school, I studied Special Education for two years and did a year course in sign language. So my dream is actually to start an acting group with people that are mentally challenged after I graduated from drama school. If that somehow turns out to not be possible, I would definitely want to initiate an acting class for them.

Where does that interest come from?
I do not really know, but it might have its roots in the fact that I got enormously pampered when filming my first few projects. I could not help but feeling a bit weird about that. Like I was some kind of diva. Studying Special Education really helped me to stay grounded, although the switch between school and work was kind of hectic sometimes. One moment I was feeding and helping other people, while a few hours later people were doing my hair and make up and went out of their way to make sure I was fine during a photo-shoot. The contrast between those two worlds was fascinating.

If you could tell girls and women around the world something you have learned, what would you tell them?
I would tell them to go after their dreams and not people tell you no. It is hard work, but giving it your all pays off in the end. When I was finishing high school, I did not have the time to take on big projects. Therefore, I kind of disappeared from the radar for a while. Something I really realized when I had finished, as I had to work myself back into the spotlights. In my case, I had to audition a lot and start from scratch.

I have to admit that I am not fearless though and kind off suck at networking. My ethic is just to work hard and hope that people see my talent. And really important, do not let your setbacks get the best of you.


Check out Ella-June in Boy 7 in the trailer below. The movie airs on Februari 19.

Enjoy your day!

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1 opmerking:

  1. Wat super leuk dat je haar mocht interviewen, ik wil de film BOY7 erg graag zien!


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