Please introduce yourself, what you do, why you do it, and what you want people to know about you.
I’m an actress, voice-over talent, and actor coach originally from Italy. I started acting when I was 12! Extremely young. I’ve always loved dance and music since I was a little kid but I never considered acting until my stepfather brought me to my first acting class in a local company in Turin, my hometown. It was love at first sight! I spent my teen years between school, dance lessons, and acting classes. Sometimes I think about it and I still can’t believe how focused I was! I was so young but so passionate, nothing could distract me! Somehow I built the woman I am today during those years.
At 16 I got cast in my first movie and two years later I auditioned for one of the biggest theaters in Italy, Teatro Argentina, for a production of the Theatre of Rome. They were casting the Italian version of Pippi Longstocking and looking for the three leads. I went to the audition extremely conscious that I wouldn’t probably get cast. I was barely 18, on my resume I had few regional theatre credits and one film, and I found myself surrounded by many extremely successful actors. After four days of auditions, I ended up in the last round and got cast. That experience changed my life.
We started rehearsals the following year, my parents made an arrangement with my school so that I could be home-schooled for four months and I moved alone to Rome to work on my first professional production. After the first successful run, I went back to Turin and graduated from high school with flying colors! that fall we started a one-year tour all around Italy. I was 19 at the time, and I was realizing my dream!
After that beautiful experience I kept on working between Rome and Turin both in Theatre and Film, and I graduated from the University of Turin in Cinema with a thesis on child actors.
During that period I got cast into my first Italian/American production: “Richard the Lionheart” directed by Stefano Milla, which gave me the chance to act in English for the first time! That was a big revelation to me and somehow, I felt that something was missing in my life, so I started looking at Drama Schools abroad. I got accepted for the Shakespeare Conservatory at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and spent the summer acting Shakespeare (in English!) which for a non-native speaker is really challenging! I loved every second of it!
Then New York came into the picture. I was 23, I didn’t know anybody in the States, so I researched all the Drama Schools in the city and I found the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. I went to New York, took a summer course, and during the last month one of my teachers suggested I audition for the conservatory, I did and got accepted.
After graduating I kept working for movies, voice-over, and theatre productions between Italy and the States, and in 2018 I won my first award as Best Up&Comer actress for my role in Gorchlach the Legend of Cordelia directed by Fabio Cento which gave me the chance to travel to Los Angeles for the first time.
In the last couple of years, I’ve been working with Kairos Italy Theatre, an Italian company based in New York, and with the Blind Cupid Shakespeare Company where I’m also the executive producer. I also narrate audiobooks for Fabler, an independent publisher of spoken-word audio, and just recorded some great national commercials for Salvatore Ferragamo and Norton Life Lock.
Acting is my lifeblood, I genuinely love self-tapes, voice, rehearsals, and studying my lines which is all the actual work that comes before even the glamour of stepping on a stage or on a film set. Whenever I’m on stage, in a recording booth, or on a film set is when I feel the most comfortable and happy. No matter how hard the business could get to me it’s always worth it.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I think I have a lot of energy! This is something that I have been told a lot in school. I rarely shy away from roles or scenes that make me uncomfortable and I really pour my heart and soul into everything I do. Once an acting teacher told me that I was fearless and feisty, but that I couldn’t smile when saying my name. I think that represents me a lot. I’m also bilingual in Italian and English which is always a big plus in the industry and I specialized in voice-over in both languages and child voices!
Since I started working as a voice-over talent I have to say I really found my own voice and a place where I’m incredibly comfortable. I just love the work, once I’m in the booth I forget about everything, my voice guides me through. I have to admit that is also a bit of luck, I was born with a naturally “interesting voice” but that alone does very little… I had to work on it for many years to make it clear and to learn how to use it properly. You can really damage your vocal cords when you record for 5-6 hours an audiobook and you don’t know what you are doing!
Apart from that, I believe we are all unique in our own ways… We just need, as my manager would say: to let it spark!
Describe THAT moment when you realized you wanted to do what you do now. Who did you tell first? What has it been like since that moment?
I think there were two major moments for me. The first one was after my first show at the age of twelve when we performed A midsummer night’s dream. I had just started taking acting classes and I was given the role of Elena (at that time I was tall for my age which is funny because now I always get cast as Hermia since I’m very short). I was very scared and until the last moment I thought I was going to drop out, then I did it.
The show began and I forgot everything, something clicked. At the end of the show, I remember running toward my stepdad, hugging him almost crying, and saying: “I made it, I made it. I want to do this forever!” The second one was when I booked my first role in a movie directed by Peter Greenaway. I was sixteen and it was my first time on a film set. Since it was a period piece I wore a very heavy dress and a tight corset and obviously the crew was running behind schedule. Because I was a teenager, my mom had to stay all day with me in my trailer.
I remember that the corset was very hard to keep on and it was hard for me to breathe, I had it on for the whole day until we finally filmed the scene in the late afternoon. I never complained. I remember the costume department kept checking on me and they tried to loosen it up a bit. Once I finally stepped on set I was exhausted but I did my scene and it was good the first take! Greenaway complimented me and I left with a big smile on my face.
That’s when my mom realized I had the dedication it took to be an actor. I remember we left the set and we looked at each other and I told her: “I can’t believe this just happened. I’m a working actress”. That’s the moment I realized that acting was going to be my profession.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?
I wish there was only one! I had many many challenges. First of all, I moved at the age of 24 all by myself to a foreign country! That is still the biggest challenge for me. I’m always relying on myself and my friends for everything as my family is on the other side of the ocean and being an immigrant is NEVER easy. I just had to grow up faster (even though it might not look from the outside). I had to toughen up and carry on. I can’t even say how many nights I have spent crying because I felt homesick or because I wasn’t booking enough jobs.
However, to be the latest challenge has been the travel ban from Europe to the US. It’s a challenge that many immigrants like me faced and that really traumatized many of us. We were literally stuck during the pandemic without our families knowing that if we left the country we’d be stuck outside. I personally had to make one of the hardest choices in my life and left at some point for family reasons. It took me a long time to be able to travel back to New York safely but you know what? I would do it again.
You can’t live in fear. You have to make choices, sometimes hard ones, and then deal with the consequences. As an artist thankfully I’m always able to reinvent myself and work wherever I’m biased, I just had to remind myself what the final goal was and things eventually worked out for the best.
If you had to pick the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could take your career (or business) to the next level…who would those 3 people be?
- Anne Bogart for Theatre,
- Greta Gerwig for film
- Anthony Hopkins for acting in general
but I have a list of 10 more people for sure.
List the direct links/URL to your social media profiles so people can follow you:
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alicelussy/