How To Become a Hollywood Actress If You’re From Another Country

Brazilian-Italian Actress Christine Uhebe On Working In Hollywood

People from all over the world dream of a career in Hollywood, but few ever get the opportunity to make it come true. Smart Girls client Christine Uhebe, a Brazilian-European import, is one of those uniquely driven, talented, and charming people who is making the most of the opportunities that she has generated.

Christine, Brazilian by birth, worked as a professional actress in Italy before moving to Los Angeles, where she is wow-ing everyone who sees her work. Now living in Los Angeles, Christine is making a name for herself both inside The Group at Strasberg as well as outside The Group in film and TV projects. Check out this interview with her as she reveals her viewpoint that motivates her to give her career her all.

Here we meet up with the very busy actress as she prepares for her new role in the upcoming pilot “A Dare To Remember.”

You worked as an actress extensively in Italy and you were very successful in that market. What brought you to Los Angeles?

I came to Los Angeles to go deeper into the study of my craft. The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute was recommended to me, and I came for the Summer Intensive Program at first. After I got here, I was so enchanted by the work they do that I decided to move to the United States even though my acting career in Italy was taking off. The last short film that I did there, “Catedralle,” was a finalist at five film festivals in Europe, including Capri Art Film Fest.

In the plays and the films you’ve been in here in Los Angeles, you consistently get rave reviews.  What do you think makes someone such a strong actor?

I’m really thankful for all that has been happening to me here in Los Angeles. I was invited to be a member of The Group at Strasberg nearly two years ago – a huge honor for those they consider to be the cream of the crop in their previous programs. We study the characters in all aspects, in the most minute details. It’s really a pleasure to work with all the teachers and students, especially Hedy Sontag, she’s a brilliant director. It’s very important to have strong directors to work with, both on stage and in film.

What inspires you about acting?

What inspires me about acting is life. I love life. In acting I have the chance to live a thousand lives in one! As an actor, you have the chance to grow as a human being tremendously because you deal with different characters in different times of their lives and you sympathize with them. I love reading Vakhtangov’s lectures and there’s one where he says, “I enter the theatre and I will proceed with an open soul with the things I do.” You can only approach art with an open heart.

Do you like performing in plays better or on screen in film and television?

Oh, gosh, I love both! Theater gives you a new challenge each night, the discipline, the live contact with the audience. On stage, you’re always looking for new aspects of the character and of the play. Every night when the curtain opens, it’s a new experience, a new ride.

Film is different… There is something magical about film….. The camera sees every little thing; the smallest nuance of a feeling will be captured by it. It’s like an x-ray. You have to be really focused, be really specific, and find the sparkle and enthusiasm every time you hear “Action!” no matter where you are starting in the scene.

For me, it’s impossible to choose between them. It would be like choosing which of your children is your favorite. Technically speaking there are obviously differences, but in both you experience the life of the character. So that’s what is important for an actor, in my opinion.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of acting?

The work of an actor is really hard, in the artistic sense. There are a lot of challenges, but the most challenging part of it for me is being spontaneous, to live each moment as the first time even though you’ve read the script or the play a thousand times. Acting as though the character is living the scene for the first time even if the actor knows what happens next is quite difficult.

It is also challenging to truly transmit the writer’s point of view. I ask myself, “What did the author wanted to convey with this character? What were they really trying to say?” and from there I work to identify the common points between the character and myself.

For me it’s also hard to let the character go. You learn to love that character and then when it’s done, it’s like I have that feeling of “But it’s so soon. I’m not ready to let her go yet.” But, of course, you have to focus on a new character and begin a new chapter.

What are some of your most recent ones? Or your favorites?

Well, as I mentioned already, each role I play, I fall in love with the character, so that would be hard to choose my favorite. But some of my recent ones are:

“All About A Father” where I play Luna, a drug addict whose husband decides to participate in a robbery after he loses his job. This was a lead role in a short film.

“Early Summer” was a great project that screened at the Warner Brothers Theatre in Burbank. It’s about a lonely boy and a suicidal girl who go in search of his mother, and I play the woman he thinks is his mother.

“Before Night Falls” was a short film that was written for me after the director saw my work. I play a ghost trying to reach her mother. And I got a lot of great reviews from that – it’s always nice to know that people enjoy your work.

I also shot a TV pilot “A Dare to Remember,” which is being directed by Karen Dyer. In this upcoming series, I play the sexy but troubled Anna. That role is really fun!

I was also cast in the pilot “My Haunted Vacation” directed by Jeremy Kasten—it’s a Tse Tse Fly Production project… I love saying that name – Tse Tse Fly! It’s great.

Right now, I’m working with Brodie Nelson in The Group at Strasberg on “Moony’s Kid Don’t Cry,” which is running July through August 2013 in West Hollywood.

I hear all the time about how hard it is to find work as an actor here in Los Angeles, but you seem to be super busy and working all the time. How do you do it?

First of all I have to say that I’m so deeply grateful for all this country has given me, for being able to work as much as I am. And believe me, working a lot helps keep me positive.

But truly, I’ve learned that the only thing that you can control in this business is how you do your work. I try my best to use every single experience, good or bad, as a step in the process of my growth as an actor and as a person. Early in my life, when I lost my father as a child, I learned you have to take every day, one at a time, and make the best of it.

The present is what really matters. We can’t predict the future, so all we can do is make the best out of the present. Then you’re automatically working for a good future.

In my acting career, I try to keep myself busy, doing my work, no matter what. And every single thing I do, every project, play, and film makes me who I am right now, it leads me to the person I will become. That’s what keeps me positive: the faith that everything happens for a reason in life. It all leads me to who I am right now.

Who are a couple of your favorite actors, actresses, directors or producers that you would like to work with and why?

There are so many actors that I would like to work with, so many great actors. Al Pacino, Robert de Niro, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis (his work in “Lincoln” was absolutely amazing), Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Bobby Cannavale (loved his performance in “Glengarry Glen Ross” on Broadway), to name some. Directors – Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese… Why?

These are people who know so much about acting, about filmmaking. I would have so much to learn with all of them.

I know I like to dream big. To quote Lee Strasberg: Your reach should exceed your grasp. Or what is the heaven for.”  I want to work with the best in the business. The big dreams keep those of us who are actors going to each audition and each class to learn more and more about the craft. I am so fortunate to have found a career that I also love with all my heart, and being in Los Angeles is the best place to fulfill my dreams. I continue to be cast in amazing projects and I can’t wait to see what is next!

And with that said, we look forward to seeing what is next for Christine also – although she clearly has a few things lined up already! And we wish her the best.

For more information on Christine or to contact her, please send an email to: christineuhebepr@gmail.com.