“Walking a hundred miles in someone else’s shoes”: Gin Mar

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(Exclusive Interview – By Dr Shahid Qureshi -):

Gin Mar is a Ukrainian born actress and grown up in Germany, studied in Spain and based in London. We requested her an interview which she kindly accepted. Those are the questions raised during our talk.

  1. Please tell us about your childhood.

I was born in the Ukraine. My mother is a very passionate teacher and my father is a journalist. I have discovered acting at the age of 7 when I took a few summer courses and remember still today how I was performing a lead female role in a fairy tale on stage with a fever of 40 degrees. A famous director, I can’t remember his name now, once said: “An actor has only one excuse not to perform – when he is dead.” As a girl, my parents developed me artistically and took me to dancing and gymnastics lessons, I went for three years to a music school where I learned to play piano and sing. When I was 10 years old my family moved to Germany where I grew up and went to school. I continued my artistic development with a private tutor in piano, but also ballet and modern dances lessons, and painting. At the age of 14, I joined the Youth Theatre Group “Freundallee” under the direction of Masha Kurakina at the Jewish Community Centre in Hanover who I stayed with for 4 years and also in school I was part of our student theatre group.

  1. Please tell us about your education.

I always had a passion for writing and languages, having been writing poems and short stories since childhood, and so I decided to go into that direction, as everyone (and by everyone, I mean my family) around me was saying that the creative industry is too competitive to get into. I can’t say that I don’t agree, because it is a very special industry which doesn’t have any rules, but you have to follow your passions, right? Nevertheless, I listened to the rational voices around me and graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Communication and Translation and earned a Master of Arts degree in Linguistics and Intercultural Communication in 2014. After that, but also during my studies, I took on many different jobs, but soon gave up the office life which never seemed to make me happy and instead I finally opted to pursue a career in modelling and acting when I moved to London . Soon after coming to this wonderful city, I had a few photo shootings and landed my first role in theatre with ART-VIC, the only Anglo-Russian theatre in the UK. Victor Sobchak, the artistic director, has taught me quite a lot about theatre and acting and I rarely have met someone who was so passionate and knowledgeable about theatre.

  1. Please tell us about your personal life.

I have lived in the UK since 2014, so for three years now. I was born in the Ukraine, grew up in Germany, studied in Spain for a bit, but London has become my home as it is very special city that draws you in and doesn’t let you go, and it has also provided me with the opportunity to develop my artistic and acting career. I fell in love with this city when I was visiting my boyfriend Dima Sol, who is also an actor, in 2013 here during his placement program, where after three months later he asked me if I wanted to move to London and another six months later we had our first small flat in North London. Since then we have moved as we were not allowed pets in our flat and when we moved to the UK I had to leave my sweet Jack-a-Bee Senna back in Germany with my best friend and my parents, but now she is with us again. Fun fact about her – she is also an actress, she had her stage debut this

September in ART-VIC’s production “Heart of a Dog” at the Lion &Unicorn Theatre where she played the dog.

  1. How do you spend your free time?

Free time is something very relative. As an actress you don’t really have free time, because you have constantly to be working on developing yourself and improving your skills. If I am not rehearsing or performing, I am going to castings, taking part in workshops, networking, going to photo shoots, filming show reels, doing headshots, educating myself in self-promotion, attending events… There are so many things that you can do and actually have to do when you are trying “to make it”, the work never stops. But, whatever I do, it provides me with more insight into the industry, it gives me a chance to collect material for my future roles. I just love listening to some classical music on the train or the bus and observing people, making up stories about them and writing them down. All those impressions of the world around me help me getting into new roles and as someone who is passionate about writing and painting, this also allows me to nurture and nourish ideas for my creations. All those notes I take down on the go (I always have my iPad with me) and use in short stories and poems I write. Recently I finished writing a novel which I am planning on publishing soon and I have also written a play that will be hopefully staged next year. The idea for the play came to me on the tube when I was sitting opposite a catholic priest and I started writing down my observations about the man – his posture, his eyes, the words kept flowing and I managed to finish the first draft within a month. The story has nothing to do with a priest, but he was my inspiration. I also love traveling to different countries and experiencing new cultures – all those different weather conditions, languages, houses, landscapes, animals, people, they all inspire new ideas that I implement into my artwork as well. I have always been using paper and pencil, charcoal, graphite, Acryl, Gouache and a few years back I have discovered the wonders of Digital Art with Adobe Photoshop on my laptop and Adobe Sketch on the iPad Pro (https://ginnyjuneart.wordpress.com). Those new technologies just provide you with more options and possibilities to develop your artistic skills.

  1. What or who inspires you?

I have experienced a lot of different artistic facets – dancing, music, painting, acting, and I have been influenced by many people from those areas while studying new things. In the Arts, I absolutely adore Salvador Dali! I think it is fascinating how he employed extensive symbolism into his work and how he worked with colours and picture compositions adapting ideas completely out of the ordinary for that time. It is amazing how he embraced idiosyncrasy while rejecting the idea of an underlying madness and became the leader of the cultural movement of Surrealism. My interest in the extraordinary also reflects on my preferences in literature – I have read Alexandr Belyaev’s books twice and I have read all of Stephen King’s books several times and watched the screen adaptations, however my favourite book is “Master and Margarita” by Alexandr Bulgakov, because I just find the idea of his interpretation of religion, Jesus and the Devil thought-provoking and very appealing. In cinematography I have one favourite director, whose movies I watched since early childhood, and that is Nikita Mikhalkov, a Russian filmmaker and a great actor. Nevertheless, my favourite movie is a US-production, the film “Flatliners”, a 1990 psychological version with a truly amazing cast and direction, as I find the presentation of the idea of afterlife in this film quite unusual and very impressive. I have watched this film over 50 times.

  1. What do you enjoy about acting?

For me, the most interesting and compelling thing about acting is the possibility to become someone else. As the saying goes, “walk a mile in my shoes” – see what I see, hear what I hear, feel what I feel, then you’ll maybe understand why I do what I do. Acting helps me become a more emphatic person, which I think in today’s very individualistic world is very important. When I rehearse a scene, even if I have a very small part, it is imperative to find out what the character’s super task is and why they are in the scene, I have to think about their background story, their past, their future, everything, as it is very important to understand the character. Most of the times, the character’s story is not explicitly outlined in the script, so same as a writer would do when creating characters, you have to think what their story could be by reading between the lines and breathe life into them. Same as with real people, you cannot judge someone just by watching them do something for one minute – everyone has a story to tell. They say, there are no small roles, it is the actors who make the characters come to life and make them real.

  1. Please tell us about your acting career so far?

I have been on stage since I was very young, my parents were very particular about giving me an artistic background, be it acting, dancing, music, painting…anything related to Arts really, which I am very thankful for, as it made me the person I am today and provided me with a very specific view of the world. Since I was a child I was reading a lot, and by a lot I mean that sometimes I would read a book within two days, because I wouldn’t eat or sleep until I finished, so much was I consumed by the stories. I believe, having read so much, also helps me understand my roles as I can draw from so many different impressions from so many characters I have read stories about. My love for theatre and film has developed at a very young age as well, as my parents would always discuss with me after every film we watched what I believe the director wanted to tell the audience and how, in my opinion, the actors transmitted that idea. I remember, up until I reached a certain age, I would always imagine being one of the characters in the film I saw or a book I read and how the story would go on. I could think about it for hours, making up stories with those characters. So, I believe, all of those things, led me towards becoming an actress and realising that this is actually something that can make me happy and being happy is a very significant thing to achieve in life. As Will Smith’s character Christopher Gardner in the film “Pursuit of Happiness” said: “It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?”

But going back to your question about my acting career so far – so far it has been a bit shaky, if I can put it this way, as I was in and out of it, however a while ago, finally, I found the courage to admit to myself that this is something worth the struggle you have to experience in the entertainment industry and I managed to tune out most of the criticism from my family and decided that I will pursue my dreams in order to live an interesting life full of very special moments. Some things are worth pursuing and you’ll know what those are when you find them.

  1. What are future plans?

Future plans, well… You know, as someone once said, “Tell me what your plans are for tomorrow and make God laugh” (laughs). It never goes as planned, to be honest. But to be a bit more specific, at the moment we are repeating the performance of “Heart of a Dog” at the

Etcetera Theatre on October 4 and 5, where I play three smaller parts – a homeless drunk, an androgen Communist and a naive young typist who falls in love with a dangerous animal-like man. And on October 17 to 21 I am portraying Katya, a very smart but also suffering woman in her twenties, in the drama “Chains of Hatred” in celebration of the centenary of the October Revolution. I have also a few short films coming up in the next couple of months which apart from playing the lead female role, I also have written the scripts for, so those will be my debut with script writing. And after that, events are yet to happen, stories yet to be tell. You never know what is waiting for you around the corner (laughs).

  1. Is there anything else you want to tell the readers

I would love to take the opportunity to thank all the readers for getting to this last bit and I want to wish everyone inspirational events and interesting adventures. I would love to see for everyone not to think of all the stories that they could have told, but “do” stories that they can actually tell later. Create your dreams!

Thank you and best wishes

 

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