A BREATH OF INSPIRATION WITH KARINE VANASSE
This week, Black Milk gets a dose of feminine energy. We introduce an actress, producer and an equivocal beauty that we have seen grow and evolve before our screens. She now embodies one of the villains on the popular American series Revenge.
Karine Vanasse has a smile in her voice, despite the distance and my poor Skype connection. The young lady has the same liveliness that she had at the Marcelle cosmetics event, where I got the chance to meet her. The one that we got the chance to see at such a young age, now spends a lot of time in the “City of angels” to embody Margaux LeMarchal, a business woman that we love to hate but also admire in Revenge, since 2013.
Karine also loves Margaux, the brilliant magazine editor with dark intentions. Although this character is far from resembling her, Karine loves to play the ‘’evil one’’ and speaks about it with passion: “Margaux has a system of values and sticks to these specific values. She is clear in her emotions and this is something that I really admire”. Much more relaxed than her character, Karine also loves to embody Margaux for her enthusiasm: “Her anger is based on something real and the authors allowed me to give her a little more humanity. But this certain anger is not something I allow in my own life”, explains the actress who was surprised by her own self during an angry scene where she reaches an intensity that she did not know she was capable of.
Before her adventure with Revenge, we were able to witness Karine play many different intense roles, but also roles that were a little more vulnerable. Very young, the young woman, originally from Drummondville makes herself known and participates in many television shows. It is in 1999 where she is put under the spotlight with her role as Hanna in the movie Emporte-moi (Set me free) by Léa Pool. Her first roles were an accumulation on the small and big screen amongst others in Séraphin: Un homme et son péché (Séraphin: Heart of stone), Ma fille, Mon ange, (My daughter, my angel), Sans elle (Without Her), the TV movie Marie-Antoinette,Polytechnique, Pan Am and 30 vies, until Revenge.
It is therefore not the first time we got to see Karine Vanasse abroad. In 2004, for example, she embodied a resistant French woman in the American film Head in the clouds, alongside Charlize Theron, then in 2011, she played the role of a flight attendant Colette Valois, in her first TV series Pan Am. Nevertheless, her work of two season in Revenge pushes her to stay in Los Angeles for the first time… for a long period of time. A little intimidating? “It is a city I feared, or, let’s say that I did not quite understand”, Karine explains. Beyond the beaten Hollywood path, she finally discovers a world bubbling with creativity, an inspiring different culture that she takes pleasure in exploring, which also helps her stay grounded and helps her appreciate the city.
“I admire those people that give me the feeling of power to pack my bags and go to work where I please.”
— Karine Vanasse
There, she also works with a game coach, Joan Scheckel. Her sessions allow her to engage in exploration, to find the essence and authenticity in the game of acting. She seems motivated and moved when she discusses her sessions: “It brings us to the reason why we do this kind of job”. It should be known that Karine Vanasse did not attend any specific acting school. She learned “on her own”: “As I started at a young age, there are certain aspects that just became natural to me. I developed set reflexes and I understood the importance of playing in my own spotlight”. The disadvantage, Karine explains, is that being just on sets, she got less of a chance to explore in her work. When we arrive on set, it is time to deliver.
And delivering results, being disciplined, Karine has done it for a long time. As a teen, although she had already accumulated many years in major roles, she felt the need to be unstable and had the itch to travel: “I did not travel to run away. It wasn’t because I wasn’t well, but simply felt like being away”. At only 16 years old, the young actress left to go study in Greece. This departure, was also for her to find herself: “I needed to be mature, to be organized in my life, but I was really just a teenager and I was experiencing the same things as everyone else. A trip reminds you that yes, there is filming, and there are interviews, but after all that you are just like everyone else. In my teen years, I learned to leave and to travel. In my twenties, I learned to stay”.
Trained by the school of life and by her experiences, her career developed and she added a new addition to her arch: film production. Karine also wants to tell a story that touches her. In addition to playing the central role in the story, she is also responsible for bringing the drama Polytechnique to the big screen, a wound that is still quite opened for many people. It is a challenge for Karine and the team who support the film: “I am happy that I was able to do it in my early twenties; I was still pretty naive, to say the least. Maybe if I were older, I would have been more scared”. The young producer tells me that she lived a certain stress, which later diminished, “the moment the survivors and the families of the victims saw Polytechnique and felt respected”. Thereafter, she created her own production company, Les productrices associées, with her colleague Nathalie Brigitte Bustos. Already, her second project is en route: the adaptation of the B.D Paul à Québec. While this story touches very dark themes, “it is also an oath to life”, as Karine explains with enthusiasm. Two completely different projects, but that have equally touched the young woman. I asked her, what gives her the desire to transpose a story to the big screen, nonetheless produce a film? “Simply, when it touches me, when it is authentic, when I feel the audience will be touched as well. You know the scene in Amélie, when she returns to the theatre and sees all the people looking at the screen, touched? I want to feel like that”.
In front of the camera, outside of her talent as an actress, Karine Vanasse is also a light in front of objective. Many photographers have captured her natural beauty and you have probably already noticed that her delicate face is the one for Marcelle cosmetics. Karine explains that she was not necessarily a collector or cosmetics but for her work, she had to be made up at a very young age which lead her to take an interest in skin care. She has had the same aesthetician for 16 years now, a person who made her realize that the beauty field is not just a question of makeup: “She helped me understand the importance of respecting and taking care of your skin. Marcelle meets me there”.
At only 31 years of age, Karine Vanasse introduced me to a full and inspiring journey. I then asked myself: And who inspires her? “The actresses Sarah Polley and Diane Keaton. I am rediscovering Diane Keaton at the moment, who just wrote a book on architecture, as she is really passionate about this field”. Karine also listens to Anthony and the Johnsons to inspire herself and she admires the ballerina Sylvie Guillem. The link between all these people? “They are authentic and they are people who do not cling to tightly to one part of their life, they evolve. I admire those people that give me the feeling of power to pack my bags and go to work where I please”.
In front of a woman who has pursued her dreams at such a young age, and who has filled her timeline quite nicely, I told myself that time passes too fast and that I was a little late on my own bucket list. However, although she herself dove into her passion at a very young age, she strongly believes that there is no age to reach your objectives in life. She is reminded by a quote that left her marked “Dreams do not have an expiration date”.
Special Thanks: Karine Vanasse, Agence M and Marcelle