Exclusive interview with Bianca Waechter – Actress
Bianca Waechter is an Austrian actress working both in Europe and in the US. In December 2018 she graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where she trained at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and Stonestreet Studios for Film. She also trained in Florence, Italy, for a semester, doing Commedia dell’arte training. Since Bianca graduated she starred in a play, Extraordinary Aliens, that she also co-wrote. The play is a comedy about the immigration process inspired by true stories and premiered at NYU Casa Italiana to a sold-out house and standing ovation. It then went on to perform a run at the LA Fringe Festival and the NY Winterfest with raving reviews. “By starring in a play about immigration I have really been able to form a lasting international community in New York,” says Bianca.
Bianca also just released a web-series that she produced, wrote and starred in, called La-Di-Da. The series isa mockumentary about an Acting teacher and her class. It premiered at the Big Apple Film Festival last year.
Bianca has performed in numerous other plays and short films. She also had a guest star role in the crime show Homicide City on Discovery ID, as well as star in an Austrian documentary.
She is now back in Vienna working on writing a second season for La-Di-Da.
NY Glam: Tell us a little about yourself, growing up and your passions.
I grew up in Vienna, Austria. My grandfather was an opera singer so Art was always a big part of my family. I always loved going to the opera, singing, theatre, movies. Watching old movies was a weekly ritual in my family. After spending a few years at an Austrian catholic School, I switched to the American School of Vienna, where I felt much freer to explore my interests and be myself. I always participated in the High School plays. I remember when I was the only 8th grader who got a part in Everyman, I was so proud. I played the treasure and got to pop out of a wooden box. I felt like the coolest kid in the entire High School. Some would probably argue.
Another hobby that always was a passion of mine is tennis. It really brought out my competitive side, making me hate it as much as I loved it.
After High School I took a gap year to go to Peru, Lima, and work at a social project. I wanted to go on an adventure and learn Spanish. I love learning languages. And traveling. It was an exhilarating feeling to travel all by myself and also to be away from my family for so long without getting too homesick. After that going to New York for university felt like a piece of cake. Which it wasn’t, of course. I got to New York by myself with two small suitcases while my roommate had a whole moving company. My credit card was blocked and I had to ask my RA for money so I could buy some bedsheets for my first night. I was off to a little bit of a rough start, but who isn’t in New York? New York is my favorite city. You can’t hide from anything there. It shoves everything in your face. And you learn to survive. But my favorite thing about New York are the wonderful, crazy and artistic people you meet there.
NY Glam: What are you currently working on?
I just released a web-series called La-Di-Da that I wrote, produced, starred in and co-directed. I am super excited about this. It’s a mockumentary about an acting teacher and her class. Disclaimer: Definitely not based on any real acting teachers. The shoot was super fun. It is the best feeling in the world to see talented actors make something of your script. Especially because my script was more of an outline and the whole series was very much based on improvisation. The series premiered at the Big Apple Film Festival last year and now we thought it would be the perfect time to put it up on Youtube. You know, with the pandemic and all I think people need a laugh.
Here is the trailer to La-Di-Da: https://vimeo.com/362376326
The full episodes can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/user58022555
NY Glam: How did the project start?
It started in Create Your Own Material Class. Seems fitting. The class was a part of my Drama major, but at the time we were all pretty new to film and writing. But creating my own material turned out to be extremely fun and exhilarating. We each got one full class period, so 3 hours, to shoot and direct something that we wrote. I had a character idea about this eccentric, over the top, delusional and hypocritical acting teacher that I turned into a short sketch. The filming turned out to be so much fun that I wanted to make an actual project out of it and film a series. I used most of the same actors from the class as well. I had help creating the series from Pranav Kothary, who was a Film Major at NYU Tisch. I couldn’t have done it without him.
NY Glam: What journey does your character go on in the course of the web-series?
I play the lead, Maria Kurz. The delusional acting teacher. She is a mix of unbearable arrogance and ignorance, but there are moments of extreme vulnerability that hopefully make her – if not likeable – a little more understandable. She is driven by a need for attention and affection. By the end of the series she shows more of her caring side and vulnerability, which will be further explored in Season 2.
NY Glam: Tell us a little bit more about this series, what is it about, who else are you working with, and who is the director, producer, writer?
It’s a story about dreams. Broken dreams to be exact. It’s funny because all artists will recognize themselves a little in Maria. Even if unwillingly. It’s hard to be an artist without an ego, because we all have such huge egos. But the ego is sometimes our fatal flaw.
I was working with most of the actors from my Create Your Own Material class. They knew the origin of the project and understood the style. Plus, they are all such great improvisors, which was essential for this project. We worked with a very small crew. You know, for budget reasons. I was doing most of the producer’s work. I had Pranav Kothary working with me who took over most of the creative directing choices, even though we shared both roles. Pranav also helped me revise the script.
NY Glam: What is the most challenging role you have played and why?
The most challenging role I have had to play was Mukthar Mai from the documentary play called Seven. It’s a play written by seven women inspired by the true stories of seven women. My part was the part of a woman who was gang raped in Pakistan, overcame her trauma and went on to build schools for girls in Pakistan. The story was so powerful and I wanted to do it justice. The most challenging thing that I was working on with the director was actually to take out the emotion. The director, Jacob Olesen, kept saying that adding extra emotion to that powerful story would take away from it.
NY Glam: And the most fun one?
Oh the most fun one definitely Maria from the Web-Series. She is eccentric, arrogant, self-important but also incredibly insecure. A fun mix that makes for a great character.
NY Glam: Describe your biggest accomplishment to date?
I think my biggest accomplishment is to just survive anywhere. I don’t want to list any of my plays or films as my biggest accomplishment because I am still learning. I mean I have definitely done work that I am proud of but I am also at the beginning of my career. It would feel a bit arrogant. I have yet to win an Oscar, you know. But I do pride myself on my sense of survival. I feel like you could just throw me anywhere into the world and I would be fine. I am very adaptable to cultures and places and people. And I love adapting to new places. It’s one of my biggest strengths.
NY Glam: What other hobbies do you have? Have you ever considered branching out into directing or screenwriting?
Maybe in like 10 years. I mean yes, of course, I write and I have directed a little too. But I wouldn’t call myself a writer or a director. But it is definitely great for an actor to at least dab into directing and writing at least a little bit. Creating your own work is vital.
NY Glam: If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?
In another life I would love to be a nature adventurer. You know, travel all year long and get adopted by family of wolves or tame a crocodile. Maybe I will get to play a role of the sorts one day. I would love to shoot a movie in nature in general. A movie that is shot in the woods for example. Or shoot one of those documentaries, like planet earth.
NY Glam: What’s your goal for this year?
I am moving to Berlin. Well I should have already moved there, but Corona got in the way. So, for now my goal is to stay positive and stick out this pandemic. It’s hard for me because I thrive best under stressful environments with lots of things to do. That is when I am also creatively the most productive. I am definitely a New Yorker at heart. But now I need to find self-motivation to keep working on my acting and just be ready when this crisis is over.
NY Glam: What is your advice for aspiring actors?
Just keep at it keep at it keep at it keep at it.
Well, only if you feel that you have got it. There is no one else who has to tell you that you have it. If you feel it, you’ve got it. The hard thing is figuring out if you feel like you have got it or not. You have to listen to your gut.
But I think keeping your motivation is important, getting too fixated can also be harmful. Know the actual, deeper reason for why you want to act. We tend to forget it when we are struggling out there for jobs. But take some time off if you need. If you are struggling, know that it is just a period. Staying busy with day jobs or other activities is always good. It can be very helpful for your mental health.