Tasya Teles came to my attention because of her sensitive performance as Dolph's wife in the new film 'Skin Trade'. After checking out her various sites, I found her to be a great person to interview. Tasya shares her unique and various stories on life in and out of film. Time to take a trip to Canada, and explore the beauty, Tasya it is your turn to shine!
On your bio it says you studied commerce in college then fell in love with the theater, curious as to how the pursuit and transition from one diverse career to the other took place, did the power to create and act stem from watching a theater show, movie?
Those two disciplines couldn’t be more different, and my decision to go into Commerce was a difficult one. At the time I was modeling in Canada, but at 17 years old, with two parents who are professors, modeling (or acting, or traveling, or anything non-academic) was out of the question. I picked Commerce because it felt like a safe bet, and I knew that as an artist, an understanding of my finances would be valuable. Let’s face it. Artists aren’t known for their accounting skills.
As the semesters slowly ticked past I was craving art and inspiration again. Freedom. By my third year I was a starving artist, and started loading my schedule with art classes, from painting and drawing, to English, and theatre. Acting was always my true love, but it was too precious to me. I was too afraid I would fail. After convincing myself to go back to theatre, it was over. It became my obsession. I knew acting was the only path for me. I finished my degree shortly after, and completely lost myself into the acting and training world. I haven’t looked back.
Training is paramount. I didn’t have a strong understanding of just how hard you have to work as an actor until studying with Larry Moss. He is like every actors best and worst friend. He pushes you beyond your limits and shows you what it means to work hard.
Since working with him, I liken acting to being an Olympian. How far do you want to go? There are so many areas to develop – which ones are most important to you? Like an athlete, I want to push myself as much as possible without injury and develop myself to operate at the height of my capacity. Again – without injury! You can’t win a race if you’re on crutches! Our body is our instrument, so we have to treat it carefully and keep it tuned up and ready at all times. Relaxation is important, but finding ways to continually be growing and learning is equally important. That’s what makes life exciting!!!
Haha! Oh my GOD! That 'Rogue; scene was intimidating. I was excited about it, because it was written so wildly, but with all the craziness surrounding the sex scene, it was daunting. I got these red pages handed to me, that no one else on set was allowed to see except the three actors in the scene and a few crew. It was my first network show, and I was trembling. Swinging between bone crippling fear and a weird curiosity of how it was all going to go down, my coping mechanisms went from sitting in total silence, to chatting uncontrollably to anything, anyone, who would listen. I think I was talking to a pole for a long while before noticing that no one was there. Sex scenes are always awkward – it’s inescapable. I try to get around the awkwardness by heightening my focus so that everyone else in the room disappears, and it’s just me, and my scene partner.
My process is very simple: I focus on the minutiae of each moment. Because the camera captures every subtlety and shared exchange, I really allow myself to take my time as if working in slow motion, so as to not close myself off from my scene partner. I study my partner’s eyelashes, lips, tip of their nose. I try to stay as relaxed as possible and trust my scene partner to do the same. That’s when those beautiful, real, intimate moments are born.
Ekachai was very smart in organizing a few lunches and dinners for us to get to know each other on a personal level before we started shooting. Chloe, Dolph, and I shared a wonderful lunch together, which led into a family shoot where we all bonded in that goofy and natural way that we all do unknowingly when hanging out with our own families. During a picnic scene, I was preparing the sandwiches, Chloe kept arguing with me wanting more junk food to eat, Dolph became the calm voice of reason, arbitrating between the two women squabbling around him. It was a really important day in solidifying our characters, and the family ties between us. Dolph has a very gentle nature about him, despite his tough exterior, and those lunches were important in seeing beyond that.
I discovered Rosa’s deep love and devotion to her hardworking husband, Nick, and a very real protective nature she holds for both her husband and daughter. That lasts to this day, Chloe and I see each other regularly and sometimes she jokes that I am still mothering her…sigh. Motherhood is a thankless job!
It’s funny, the day before my audition I had just finished a really intense year of work, the industry was about to shut down for the December holiday season, and I just needed a break. I was planning a trip to Thailand to visit an organization called COSA I encountered earlier in the year when visiting Thailand with my mom (which combats human trafficking), and I needed to rest up before my travels, and all the chaos that December brings.
“No more auditions for me! Please!” I begged my agent. He agreed that I needed a break, and wished me a Merry Christmas. Within an hour I see his name pop up on my phone, and I suspiciously answered to him saying, “I know you said no more auditions, but this one is made for you.” I read the breakdown, and sure enough he was right. This role was perfect for me.
I believe that human trafficking is the human rights issue of our time. At the time I was putting together the foundation for my organization, ‘The Unslaved’ – an organization that combats human trafficking, and it felt very serendipitous to be offered an opportunity to work alongside such great actors on a topic so close to my heart. I couldn’t say no.
The best day on set was the day we got to set fire to our set, with lots of explosions and craziness! (And incidentally the day Rosa gets hurt.) Call me crazy but I love being in the middle of some good explosions and gore.
We shot in Thailand, which is just a magical place. I feel a strong connection with Thailand, and its citizens, so I was extremely happy being there. Not to mention Thai food is my favourite cuisine, so I was like a kid in a candy store!
We shot during the political unrest in January 2014, when the Thai people were protesting and ‘Shutdown Bangkok’ locked up the major arteries of the city. Yet despite the traffic, the show must go on! The rallies were peaceful, but they meant early rises to get through the traffic to set. The set designers did a fabulous job creating our entire house inside a studio lot.
There were so many stories, but one that comes to mind is the day Dolph and I had to shoot the love scene. Thai people are also very shy, and it was so endearing how bashful they became once the clothes came off. As our DP, Ben Nott, shared with me: “Everyone on set is more uncomfortable with love scenes than the actors themselves.” This is especially true in Thailand, with groups of Thai people racing towards you with their eyes to the ground holding robes. Plus I hold the title for taking Dolph Lundgren’s onset virginity, which is kinda cool ;) I don’t know who was more nervous!
Working on The 100 was amazing! There is nonstop action, and a lot of stunt work so it was a joy watching everyone perform. To be honest, I love both equally. Lately I think I’m developing a penchant towards action – maybe The 100 is rubbing off on me. Although, what’s tough about action is the toll it takes on your body. One day, after sitting in a cage all week getting broken, battered and bruised, the final take was a scene where I had to spit in Bob Morley’s face, who plays Belamy. We were both so exhausted, it was the final shot, and there was no saliva in my mouth, no matter how much I tried!!! The director, and everyone on set started giving me tips on how to ‘hock a loogie’ – basically launch a spitball. No dice. I just couldn’t do it.
Finally, having exhausted every other technique, they handed me a cup a water which I had to spit, and aim overtop the camera crew, through the small grates of the cage, and into Belamy’s face. Talk about a challenge. Poor Bob was on the receiving end of my watery spit for, oh say, 15 takes. But he was a good sport, we had some good laughs, hahaha.
Like most artists, you always want to work with the greats! Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Kevin Spacey, Bryan Cranston, reign high on my list. But I do want more comedy in my life!! I would love to work and laugh alongside Kristen Wiig, Bill Murray, Zach Galifianiakis, Wes Anderson, Will Farrell, Larry Charles… Oh the list could go on!
However, since seeing Birdman, working with Alejandro G. Iñárritu would be a dream!
Oh I think every girl would be lying if they said they didn’t enjoy playing dress-up and doing a little photoshoot. I love modeling, and will always love it. I occasionally choose work with brands and people I like, such as Astrid Lily and Anna Kosturova, who I am working with currently, however acting will always remain my focus. On that note, I do have plans to direct and produce in the future, stay tuned!!
Upwards and onwards! Lots of exciting stuff happening this year, the most immediate being a Sci-Fi story, titled ‘Ethix’, which goes to production this summer. I get to try my hand at producing in this one, as well as playing a wicked robot named Penelope. Otherwise it’s time to get a dog, finish my move to LA, as well as get back on track with my yoga schedule. I also need to clean my closet, which is a massive project that might have to wait until 2016 ;)
For More info on Tasya go to her official sites!