A knee injury ended actress Melia Kreiling’s childhood dream of becoming a dancer but here the rising starlet tells us how she picked herself up to pursue a secondary goal – making her mother very happy in the process.
YOU STARTED AS A DANCER, WAS ACTING ALWAYS YOUR END GOAL?
No, not at all. Acting was the plan of my parents and all their friends for me. I kept trying to resist it, but my first love was always contemporary dance.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO ACTING THEN?
It was kind of forced on me initially! I was always in every school play and lots of amateur productions, I didn’t want to do it to start off with but I injured my knee too badly to continue dancing so I felt at a loss, and needed to figure out what to do with my life and my Mum begged me to give acting a shot and go to drama school to have a taste. Once I got there it all clicked for me, acting began to take over which is something I never expected to happen.
WAS THERE A SPECIFIC INCIDENT OR MOMENT WHEN YOU REALLY FELL IN LOVE WITH ACTING?
Yes there was actually, it was during the rehearsal for a student showcase. We had a teacher who was a fantastic improviser and we were doing a scene from Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona and it was the first time that I ever felt engrossed in a role.
HOW HARD WAS GIVING UP DANCE, WHICH WAS YOUR FIRST LOVE?
Oh wow, I’ll get emotional now. I was in complete denial when I realised that I had to stop dancing after my injury, it was just a total shock to me and for about a year after then I fell into a deep depression. I was back home in Greece for the first time in years with nothing to do, it really wasn’t a great time for me. I missed dance so much but I couldn’t do classes, even just for fun as the pain was too intense. I haven’t got over it either, it was my first big love. As much as acting has become my life now, nothing can replace that first big love, my life has just moved away from it.
YOU MENTIONED THAT YOUR FAMILY WANTED YOU TO PURSUE ACTING, WHAT WAS THEIR REACTION WHEN YOU FINALLY DID?
I think at the time they were just happy that I wasn’t going to be sitting at home moping anymore – my mum downloaded pretty much every drama school application for me! I think everyone was relieved but I don’t think they thought that I would go for it in the way that I have!
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DAY ON SET OF YOUR FIRST PROPER ACTING JOB LIKE?
I consider my first job to be before I even had an agent, it was a music video for Noah and the Whale’s ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N’, I had to have a kind of crack-whore Marilyn Monroe look! I had so much fun and got a pay check at the end of the day.
YOU LANDED A ROLE IN THE BORGIAS II WITHOUT HAVING TO AUDITION – HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?
My agent sent my showreel to one of the casting directors just to let them know that I was available if there were any parts going. Luckily there was a small part for the role of Bianca and it grew from there, the director wrote me some extra scenes. I think it was a combination of Jeremy Irons and Neil Jordan seeing potential in my character and deciding to give it a go. I learnt so much from being there, it was my first time on a huge set, I learnt to always be present. If you’re constantly present you don’t know when things will change and opportunities constantly arise if you put yourself in the right place. I think the role in The Borgias has definitely helped my career – people see that credit and are instantly more interested than they might be otherwise.
IS THERE A SINGLE PIECE OF ADVICE THAT YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN THAT YOU LIVE BY?
I don’t know if it’s the best piece of advice but the one thing that has always stuck with me is from my godfather. He told me to live my life as if I’m playing poker – relax and do it for the game, don’t do it to win. There’s very little to win in art – there’s not a prize at the end you just have to enjoy the ride.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE?
I don’t have a specific person’s career that I’d like to follow or anything like that but I love finding out how actors got to where they are in the industry. I find the journey very inspiring. But in terms of actresses I love Juliette Binoche and Gena Rowland, and of course Tilda Swinton, even though as an actress I’m nothing like her.
WHAT ELSE ARE YOU UP TO IN 2013?
A film has just come out called Company of Heroes in which I play the only female role. It’s me and lots of big men which was interesting! I was scared to begin with but it was fun, everyone’s got a job to do so no one is interested in the fact that you’re the only girl on set. And I’ve just been in The Bible which was on The History Channel and has done unbelievably well – it was up to 27million viewers in the US on the night it aired. And The Borgias is back in April so I’m excited to see what Bianca will be up to next…
WHAT ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR?
What aren’t I hungry for! I’m always hungry for excitement and for things to keep moving, I like to be shaken up a little bit.