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Q&A: Egija Zviedre

Little Wing had the pleasure of working with model and actress Egija Zviedre in our first fashion editorial. Her professionalism, flexibility and commitment stem from her undeniable passion for her job which is utterly infectious.  She is as fascinating as she is interesting.  In between hair and makeup and snapping shots, we got the chance to delve a little deeper into her life.

Egija Zviedre. Photograph: Chris Edwards

Tell us about growing up in Latvia. What was your childhood like? What is it like compared to London?

Latvia is a very special place. Sometimes I think of as a little dreamy island somewhere far away in the North... Where people live like it's a good 20 years back in the past. Some might argue differently, but that’s what it feels like for me. I do a lot of vintage shoots in London- when I go back to Latvia- that’s real vintage right there! It’s amazing! It’s like going back in time. Culturally it’s very rich and beautiful, very innocent and unspoilt at places. My childhood was pretty interesting! I spent lots of time by myself in my imaginary world. Where everything was exactly how I wanted! And I was really quiet. As the oldest child, I had to take responsibility for my younger sister -Londa. Since a young age I wanted to be very independent, wanted to do my own thing. London is so different from back home, but that’s why I loved it so much at first.

What made you get into modelling and acting? Did you always want to do it?

Well, everything always happens because of a vision. And sometimes you just have a certain vision of something combined with the desire. I have always been very artistic. Both of my parents were very creative people- they used to draw, paint, write poetry. I used to sing professionally, dance and paint myself. I think that was part of it. However, when I was a kid I used to read lots of adventure books, I used to steal them from my uncles little library and a lot of them were about the film industry. I found it very fascinating.

I got into modelling by accident really- a photographer stopped me on the streets of Old Riga when I was walking in a long, white dress. I was 15. He took a couple of pictures and I instantly saw that vision that I mentioned earlier. I joined an agency in Latvia and from then on it just became addictive, going to castings and all that. I started doing modelling for catalogues and billboards.

Why did you decide to move to London?

I decided to move to London, because simply there wasn't enough space for me in Riga anymore. It is a small country with limited possibilities. And I am an explorer. I wanted to see the world from a different angle, wanted to see what was beyond the horizon. When I came to London I was dazzled. I was so taken in and inspired by this big, buzzing city. I felt it. I’ve been here for two years now.

What has been your favourite job (either in modelling or acting) so far?

EZ: My favourite job would definitely be in acting. I think it was the short film that I worked on called “Meeting Mr Manners.” I was playing an art student who finds her father. This part has been emotionally the closest to me. The musical short film “Beethoven Burst” by Ankit Love was also one of my favourites, in which I was playing a cosmic mermaid as a female lead.

What do you prefer, modelling or acting? And…why?

I love modelling because I love great photography- when I see a photograph that I like- I can almost taste it with my eyes... And I really do like to be part of it as a model, because I know I can make it look great. But I prefer acting because I like the journey that it involves. I want to live the life of a character. I like to work on scripts and figure things out like why the character acts in a particular way, what her needs are, and so on. I like the psychological side of it and getting deep into the human nature. Doing independent feature films has really raised my appetite for acting.

Has it been difficult living far away from your family?

It has been very difficult. There isn’t a single day when I don’t think about them, my grandmothers especially. They are old and really want me to spend more time with them.

Who has been your biggest inspiration when the going gets tough?

Madonna!

Is there anyone in your life that inspires you?

Loads of people. My biggest inspiration is my acting coaches. Giles and Michael are my mentors and they keep me going. Also many people that I have met along the way.

Is there anyone in particular that you would want to work with? Like any specific actors/directors/photographers?

Of course! I would want to work with Martin Scorseze, Guilaume Canet, Pedro Almodovar, Darren Aronofsky, and Woody Allen. I’d also like to work with Mickey Rourke, John Malkovich, Ralph Fiennes, Ethan Hawke, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Leonardo Di Caprio... And many more!

Can you tell us about any future projects that you have? We want to keep our eye on you!

Soon I will start work on my next feature film called “The Ex-Factor” which is a romantic drama where I will play the part of Eva - a young, struggling, romantic Slovenian waitress that meets an English producer who  asks her to be part of his TV documentary.(Nothing to do with the actual x-factor).

What advice would you give struggling actresses/models?

To never forget the initial reason why one started acting or modelling. That energy and drive always needs to be within.

Written By: Nicole McLennan

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