She’ll Either Break Your Heart Or Kick Your Butt
By Victoria Geddes
Actress Karina Noelle has spent the past couple of years working hard at her craft in a variety of projects, which include theatrical productions, web series, and independent films. She has purposefully kept herself under the radar until she was ready to confidently say, “I’m so ready to tackle what ever roles come my way—roles that are challenging and roles where my execution can powerfully impact audiences.”
Noelle has already tackled a few of those challenging roles, roles ranging from wardrobe mistress, Martina in the comedic webseries Empty Space to a hard knocks young Chicana gangbanger in Arkasha Stevenson’s AFI short El Cucuy.
We’ll soon see Karina playing a therapist in the new season of East Los High 3, the critically acclaimed award-winning Hulu drama series which just received three Daytime Emmy nominations. She is also featured in director Todd Rohal’s Uncle Kent 2 sequel, which recently took the audience favorite award at SXSW 2015. Karina was thrilled to make her feature film debut starring opposite the late Corey Haim (Lucas, The Lost Boys) in the film Decisions playing Det. Rojas.
However, Karina keeps her connection to the theater, always honing her craft, as a resident member of the Downtown Repertory Theater which not only produces classical theater but original new media and film content. She is inspired by careers that vary in range from Jessica Chastain to Michelle Rodriguez, strong female characters that travel off the beaten path.
Recently, I met Karina at Joey’s Café in West Hollywood where we munched on sweet potato fries as she talked about being a thespian living through the ups and downs spearheading her acting career.
Victoria Geddes: Do you feel any pressure being compared to your father as an actor?
Karina Noelle: In a word: No. Most people who know my father and his work aren’t aware of us even being related. There’s also a benefit to being a different gender that precludes me from any direct comparisons. I think my brother [Sol] probably felt more pressure.
VG: At what age did you know you wanted to be an actress?
KN: I was 10. My dad was directing a stage production and I went to all of the rehearsals. I completely fell in love with the process.
VG: Have your parents always supported your decision to go into the business?
KN: Yes, and each individually in their own way. My mom has always been the one motivated to pursue any and all avenues that could help my career, and has been the one to turn to for the business of being an actor. She’s naturally very proactive and a go-getter so she has always been the one pushing me to try new things. She’s also been the most vocal about what she sees for my future. My father was the one who laid the foundation of my love of the craft. He shared his knowledge and passion for technique, the narrative structure, film production, the stage, and experiences in his own career. He’s supported my decision to carve my own path and as I’ve grown older he’s become not only someone to aspire to be like, but also someone to share my experiences with as an artist.
“I can’t take any direct credit for the choices Karina has made in building an acting career except to say that, she grew up around the craft. She was practically a toddler when we were doing the stage production “Veteranos: A Legacy of Valor.” Growing up she was surrounded by talent on and off the stage– interacting with talented film and television people in a social and professional manner.
She’s often inquired and discussed with me the nuances of working in front of a camera whether on film or television. Later she auditioned and was accepted into Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. She was very aware at a young age that it isn’t enough to be a beautiful girl, which I must admit I have a bias in that respect; She knew she needed to master the craft and learn to appreciate and respect every aspect of what it takes to have a career in the entertainment industry. As far as that goes, she’s miles ahead of both myself and her mother. She’s much better prepared as an artist and knowing the “business” of entertainment than her mother and I were when we started. She’s making very positive career choices based on preparation, talent, experience and reasonable deduction. Based on that, there is no doubt in my mind that she will attain whatever goals she sets for herself.” – Enrique Castillo
VG: Your first feature film role was in the movie Decisions with the late Corey Haim — how was it to work with him?
KN: Almost all of my scenes were with Corey. He was very nice to me and very supportive given my small level of experience at the time. This film was a lot of firsts for me. It was the first feature I was involved in as a primary character, my first time dying on screen, my first time using guns, my first sex scene, and it was my first time being on a film poster. That’s a lot of scary things to get out of the way all at once!
VG: If you had the opportunity to recreate a role in a movie, which one would it be?
KN: I’m so sorry, there’s too many! Anita in West Side Story, anything in a Joe Swanberg film, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Penny Lane in Almost Famous, Sabrina in Sabrina, Ilsa in Casablanca, Leeloo in The Fifth Element, Ripley in Alien, Sally in When Harry met Sally, Rob in High Fidelity, Rachel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Anna/Anne in Funny Games, Evey in V for Vendetta, Andy Dufraine in Shawshank Redemption, Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride, Clementine in Eternal Sunshine, Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs, Karen Hill in Goodfellas, The Narrator in Fight Club, Carol in Repulsion; and not even to attempt to come close to a fraction of his genius but just for fun: Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.
VG: That is quite a range of roles!
KN: I feel like the only way I would be happy in my work as an actor is to continually challenge myself. Roles like these are the kind that scare me the most to tackle, which is all the more reason I would want to do them. It’s more fun that way.
VG: If you could go back to your first audition, what do you wish you had known beforehand?
KN: To relax, and know that the “Yes” is coming as quickly as it can.
VG: Why acting?
KN: It’s the family business 😉
VG: Your favorite Actor? Actress? And why?
KN: Angelina Jolie. There is a stigma to admiring her because of her persona outside of her work, which is precisely why I do admire her. It’s very easy to only focus on the headlines of her career under a negative filter: she was a troubled youth, drug addict, seemingly promiscuous, adulteress, dark, violent, and all around “strange.” What I see is a strong, intelligent and talented actor, director, wife, mother, and philanthropist who is human. Where most of us cower from the decisions we’ve made she not only moves forward, but carries them with her as badges of honor in her continued quest for personal evolution. She’s been through her own personal depths of hell and back again, taken on the supreme challenge of being a mother, has branched on to creative positions beyond being a Hollywood starlet, and has used her celebrity to give back to not only those who need it but has dedicated her life to making sure she leaves the world a better place. That, to me, is what makes a woman a bad ass bitch. She doesn’t exist to be a cog in the machine. She exists to experience. She exists to live.
VG: Well we look forward to following your career and watching your career blossom as you move onward with the same passion that drives your love of acting and humanity.
Karina Noelle is repped by Edgar Alvarez/Envy Agency, Ivan Rivas Manger/Elkins Entertainment, Publicist/Always Evolving PR
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