Photo: Lisa Knauer

Actress Rana Farahani Talks Fame And The Power Of Passion


Actress Rana Farahani is gaining momentum in the world of acting and with plenty of exposure on screen and on stage, she's gearing up to conquer the camera. In-between movie sets, we sat down with Rana to talk about unhealthy fame, getting in character, fashion and going with your passion no matter what.

So, Rana, what’s your story?

Hi, I am an actress I'm from Hamburg and I do stuff.

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Sincere, loud, ambitious.

When did you realize that you wanted to make a career in acting?

I think it was just around when I got my A-levels. I'd always enjoyed acting since I was a child, especially when I was on stage. When I turned 19, I went to a theatre workshop and the coach asked me whether I would consider applying for drama school, which I did. To be honest the idea had never really crossed my mind. Actually no school ended up taking me but I felt that I was ready to commit to acting and turn it into a profession.

So really, no acting school?

No, really. I auditioned for a bunch of schools in Germany but I didn't get in. I stopped applying simply because I wanted to start learning by doing. I was honest to myself and realized I just didn't have the patience to go through 4 years of school. It wasn't me.

When it comes to acting, what's the magic in it for you?

What fascinates me most is how certain actors have the ability to take me on a journey through different times, circumstances and places. The way that can influence both my thoughts and even my actions is both amazing and a bit crazy!

On set and on stage: what's your trick to get in character?

I try to get in tune with myself and my surroundings more and more each day. I guess the clues are everywhere if you're just ready to get them. When I start preparing for a role I'll try to find out how to put life into it from within myself. I think about how the figure walks and talks and assess their history. And step by step the character will gradually evolve which sometimes happens faster, sometimes it takes a while. Relying on my own body and mind is essential.

How challenging is memorizing a big script in a short amount of time? 

I don’t see it as work and that's the key. I suppose doing things for the love of it, makes me do things better and faster. Wanting to do it is the driving force, no matter how challenging it seems.

Share some favorite actors and movies?

Too many to mention, really. It's a never ending list although I do love every single Jim Jarmusch movie.

What about role models? 

Chloe Sevigny, Amy Winehouse, Marina Abramovic, Frida Kahlo, just to mention a few. There are so many inspiring people out there. So many different characters. I think everyone is kind of my role model who does what she or he loves, no matter what. Everyone who let’s beauty and terror happen to her or him.

So let’s talk about the industry. What are the negatives in the world of acting?

Well on a visceral level, putting your all into a role can be very exhausting. The energy demanded by playing certain roles is huge. Another energy drainer is being on set with people with an unhealthy focus on fame. 

What was the biggest challenge for you?

Accepting and reaffirming the fact that acting is my chosen path. The thing that I passion most, despite it sometimes tearing me up. I tried distracting myself with other things but acting always pulled me back. To embrace it as a part of myself with all of it's positive and negative aspects is my biggest challenge now and maybe for some time to come.

Photo: Lisa Knauer

Is it harder to step into the industry as a female?

Maybe, but speaking for myself  I can’t think of any situation where I was disadvantaged as a woman. 

Had any tough times acting?

Being out of work for months on end isn't fun. It happened a few years back and felt awful. What helped for me was changing my perspective on things and readjusting my focus.  Concentrating on something completely different for a while can take the pressure off of the things you crave. I've come to realize hat things can come back to me when I let them go. 

What are your secrets for a healthy lifestyle?

For me, trying not to take life too seriously is the most effective way is to keep yourself in a positive and healthy mindset.

Would you ever insure your face?

Haha. No!

Yes or no to Hollywood?

Yes of course. Everyone wants to make it in Hollywood, don’t they?

What does fashion mean to you?

A lot, but not everything. It's like another layer of expression to me. I like the way it can underline personality or a mood of someone. 

What about the temptation of fame and fortune?

I'm definitely not tempted by fame and it's for sure not on top of my list. It's simply too unreliable. With regards to fortune, well, all I want to be is in the right place at the right time with the right people in a space to create great things.

What/ who motivates you?

I do.

Your family originates from the Iran. How influential is that to you.

Although I was born and raised in Hamburg, it definitely came with difficulties but really opened up other perspectives to me because I got to, and still do, experience two combined cultures. As a kid it was tough dealing with the kind of shared identity but today I perceive being culturally enriched as a total gift.  

"We are all actors in our daily lives"

IRL how can I tell that an actor isn't acting

Well can you? Can anyone? I believe that we're all actors in our daily lives. We "act" differently in different occasions when surrounded by different people. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But I guess when it really comes to telling the truth, it's in the eyes!

Got any advice for starting up in the acting business?

If you want to do it, do it with all your heart. No matter what you want to do. Keep on pushing forward, don’t stop. Be open, to yourself, to others, to the environment. Let the world inspire you. There will be people who tell you that you can’t do this or that. It sounds cheesy but I think you can achieve all your goals, if, deep down, you really really commit. 

What makes for a good portfolio?

It's a much-argued subject with actors often approaching it differently than agents, casting agents or directors. I think a good portfolio, for me, is an honest one. Pure pictures, avoiding an overlong showreel and vita. Voilà.

Does social media matter for an actor?

It can help a lot to show yourself and your work be it photos, vitas and showreels to cast agents or directors. But I believe real life talking and face to face interaction makes a bigger impact. Maybe I am a just a little bit more old fashioned.

When is an actor doing her/his homework properly?

When she/he's out and about observing people with an open mind. People are the best source for everything.

Rana, what to do in case anybody wants to hit you up? 

Email. Always Email. Don’t call me because I probably won't pick up.

Follow Rana on Instagram @karmaharani