• Oliver Boon

Critic meets Luana Seu






CRITIC

So, I always start with this question. What first got you into acting?

LUANA

I was a professional ballroom dancer for seven years. In Romania, we have several acting schools and I auditioned because my mom encouraged me to do it. I loved that moment of telling a story in front of the people that were auditioning me and being asked to “tell us about yourself”. That was the first time someone had asked me “who are you?”. I fell in love with that moment. So, I went back to my hometown, and I gave up ballroom dancing. I was actually ready to go to the Romanian national championship that year, but I cut it all out! I moved to another city for drama school. And since then, I haven’t stopped.

CRITIC

What was the transition like? Did you move from Romania to New York?

LUANA

Yes. It was really weird because I only learned English for real about a year before coming to the United States. I moved to Brussels, Belgium. I went to a language school for a year just to do a language exam and have decent English to come to the United States. At first, I wasn't speaking English. I was so ashamed. Every sentence that would come out of my mouth, people would keeping asking me “What?, what?” I started feeling very self-conscious about it. But most of the actors that I admire have an accent, so I just went with it.

CRITIC

What actors do you admire?

LUANA

I love Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. They are actors who you’d never imagine changing how they speak for the industry and instead focus on their talent and their craft. That is what I hope to have in the future. But for me, it was terrible. As soon as I came here, I wanted to go back because it wasn't what I expected. The cultural difference hit me in the face instantly. I'm coming from an Eastern European country, it's a different environment. We are very straightforward and very, very raw.


CRITIC

With that being said, is there a big difference between acting in Romania and acting in America?

LUANA

Acting in Romania made me cry after every acting class. The teachers are very tough. It was confusing when I moved to the United States and they were saying that I was good. But see, the problem with that is, I don't know what to do with that information. I don't know what any actor could do with that information. “That was good.” Or “that was better”. I was struggling a little bit with how teachers would behave and how teachers would give their feedback to me compared to back home.

CRITIC

So besides acting, do you have any other jobs within the industry that you do?

LUANA

Yes. I've been photographing since I was 13 and that's the only thing that gets me out of acting. It’s what keeps me alive because we face so many “no’s”. I need something to feed the need for creating. For me, that is photography. I started with modelling when I was 14. I was in the industry a little bit so I took advantage. So as soon as I got a camera, I wanted to be behind it. This is what I'm doing at the moment. I am a photographer. Right now, I'm doing brand and fashion photography, much more than I even expected. Recently, I'm very much into portrait photography. I’m going to open a studio in New York in January. It's the best way to sustain myself. I can finally call it a job, which I am so shocked that I can do this. Yesterday, I had photoshoots for like 12 hours non-stop. I like to photograph actors because sometimes when photographing models, there isn’t always a lot of substance, it's just beauty. This world is full of beautiful people. It's not about that. It gets to a point that simply a beautiful appearance is boring.


CRITIC

What advice would you give to a model when acting for a photoshoot?

LUANA

Your eyes say everything. Don't try. Don't try to do what you did before in your last past jobs. Don't do that.

CRITIC

So, besides the photography, how have you kept busy during quarantine?

LUANA

I discovered self-photography. Because I was alone in Florida. There wasn’t a lot of art around for me to capture so did self-photography instead. I put a timer and I was in front of the camera and would run back and forth for the camera. I was the subject of my own pictures. I did a project about it with other actors which is called ‘Self, and I plan to put on an exhibition when I come back to New York.

CRITIC

What are some obstacles that you have had to overcome in your life?

LUANA

The first and second years I spent in the United States, I suffered so much with my inability to speak or express myself. But I got over that. The second one would be understanding that I'm not going to be close to my family for the next few years of my life. There’s no going halfway. A lot of international people I’ve spoken to have sacrificed so much to be in this country. I could not afford to go back and forth. It was either going back to my family with the shelter and comfort of my country or accepting that I will suffer a lot until I get to the environment that I want to create for myself. Since a month ago, I really thought I’d be in the United States for the next three years. I hadn’t even considering going back to my country, because that means the process of applying for another visa and everything. There is also the fear that I'm not going to be there if something happens. I want to be there but that means giving up everything. It's a lot of pressure. If we weren’t concerned that we might not return, I think none of us would still be here. But I guess the recklessness in the spirit of youth and the need to show what you have in yourself, brought us to this point.

CRITIC

What projects do you have coming up?


LUANA

I have a photo book, with all the people who I’ve encountered in the United States so far. I photograph their faces and then put them in a plastic bag. Which means, it’s like a selfie. Since we're in quarantine, we're so limited. I put them in a plastic bag showing that as all the people I’ve photographed are extremely beautiful. We're all active, you'll have something specific to look at in all these people and say oh, “that’s such a beautiful face, but it's trapped”. That is what it was all about for me. So, I made this book for the actors. The second project is a a short movie that I'm doing right before I go back to Romania for a little while. The last thing I’m working on which has been my proudest project yet. It is a magazine for international actors. It came up from my need to support my friends because I've always looked at their craft, whatever they're doing, not only acting, and thinking to myself, you deserve to be heard and seen. So I'm going to provide that for them. Because I feel like I have the power. So that's why I started interviewing people. I wanted to write very professional articles to help them grow and promote their business. That is the least I can do for them. I feel so good doing it and the fact that people are texting me to collaborate.

CRITIC

What is your ideal goal, career wise?

LUANA

Let's see how much it changes because everything is changing so fast. At the moment, it would be to make the ‘Lu Mag’ a platform that will support every craft. I want to make a platform that will have a bigger voice and the dream would be to collaborate at festivals like Tribeca and Cannes. To be officially invited to this festival in order to support other artists. Then the bigger goal is to make New York my home. What happens after that does not matter. But here in this moment, I want to promote everyone through social media, whatever they are working on, and write about them.


'Inside the Actor's Studio' Questions

CRITIC

What is your favorite word?

LUANA

Pink, but I'm not a girly girl. It's for other reasons. I like pink.

CRITIC

What is your least favorite one?

LUANA

P****…

CRITIC

What traits do you admire the most?

LUANA

Truth, respect, and the very thin line between being respectful and fun. Like the soft spot in the middle. If you can achieve that, you're even better.

CRITIC

What traits do you admire the least?

LUANA

Pretentiousness.

CRITIC

What sound or noise do you love?

LUANA

The sound of rain from my hometown from my bedroom where I grew up.

CRITIC

What sound or noise do you hate?

LUANA

The messages sound on an Iphone.

CRITIC

What is your definition of happiness?

LUANA

Doing what you love every day from day to night and not feeling how the time passes by.

CRITIC

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

LUANA

A Psychotherapist or a magazine editor.

CRITIC

What profession other than your own would you not like to do?

LUANA

Anything in the field of medicine.

CRITIC

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

LUANA

“My name is actually Buddha, just Buddha.”





www.luanaseu.com

TheLuMag

SelfTheProject

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