Interview with Kelli Berglund | The Path to Peace, Happiness and Joy
Happiness is a state of being, an intangible feeling that we all aim to reach and maintain. Many of us are waiting for life events to happen or things to attain to feel good, but true happiness and joy comes from a loving relationship with our inner-self. When we honor the dialogue we have with oneself, we will most likely find our way to true peace and unconditional joy.
Actress Kelli Berglund who can be seen this spring 2019 as Carly in STARZ’ TV series “Now Apocalypse” says,
“(…) The more you can have a personal conversation with your mind and think “Why am I doing this? How does this affect me? How does this affect others? What will I get out of this in the end?”, the calmer you’ll feel.”
This inspiring interview will take you on a trip to Kelli’s professional and personal aspirations.
Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Kelli Berglund?
I think I’m still in the process of figuring out that answer! I’m a young, unique individual who finds creativity and inspiration in most things. When I want something, I’m committed to achieving it. However, I don’t always know what I want because life is absolutely unpredictable. I’m a dreamer (and probably a little too reliant on my horoscope… I blame everything on my Aquarius traits), but a realist. The rest of the world would probably know me as Kelli “the actress,” which, to be fair, is true as well.
What was your conscious path of falling in love with acting?
I pursued acting at a very young age, around nine years old. Anything I’ve ever been good at in life is creativity-based and it all began with dance. Which, I’d learn later in life, has creative ties to acting, of course. I loved performing on a stage and entertaining an audience. I was always a very shy girl, but dancing was my total Zen, and it was really the only way to get me out of my shell. A talent agent happened to attend a performance of mine and that’s what kicked everything off. I did many commercials when I was young, which eventually led to real acting roles. I’m a perfectionist, and even to this day, acting presents obstacles constantly. I think that’s why I learned to love it so much. At this point in my life, I get to perform in front of audiences in a whole new way. But over the years, I’ve learned that with challenging yourself comes joy. And there is no limit to how far I can push myself… which makes it fun.
How do you feel that your professional expansion within the entertainment industry is interwoven with your personal growth?
Like I mentioned previously, the acting world is unpredictable and therefore, constantly challenging me. My first major job occurred when I was only 15. I spent the next five years surrounded by adults and ultimately learned to be one. I grew up much faster than most teens, which came with its advantages and disadvantages. It could feel isolating, confusing, but powerful in a sense. I’m so thankful for the perspective I was given at such a young age. I’ve toughened up over the years, that’s for sure! Not only do you learn to accept “no” as an answer most of the time from casting directors you hope recognize your talents, but you learn (not always perfectly) how to deal with a life broadcasted to millions… and all the hate and toxic comments being thrown in your face. I’m at a point in my life where I’ve evolved with each new role I take on, each new relationship in my personal life, and each lesson I’ve learned in the past 23 years of living. I have intention behind everything I’m doing, and I have no problem explaining why I do the things I do.
How do you bring diverse characters to life while staying authentic to yourself?
Funny enough, most roles I’ve played as an actress have been very… me. All different levels of me. Therefore, it’s easy to feel connected to these roles. One of the most major parts of acting is the literal “playing pretend” part– acting like something you’re not and being able to convince people it’s real. I feel like there’s a stigma behind the whole “staying true to you” aspect. For me, the number one rule is that as long as you’re comfortable with the work you’re doing, it’s SO okay to not really feel like yourself! The satisfaction of pulling off a role that has a completely different backstory and path of life than you is fulfilling.
This spring 2019, you will star as Carly in STARZ’ 10-episode comedy TV series “Now Apocalypse.” How is the title of the series reflected in its narrative?
No words could truly capture the entire essence of this show… it’s insane. But I will say that in true Gregg Araki fashion, it’s vibrant, psychedelic and abstract in the best way. The “Apocalypse” part is related pretty directly to Uly’s (Avan Jogia) apocalyptic visions and conspiracy theories consuming his life. But perhaps it’s also a metaphor for the destruction Los Angeles lifestyle can have on a person.
As human beings, we all have our own perspective in life. How does Carly shape her own experiences in the series?
I think at first, you notice life is sort of just happening to Carly. Inevitably, Carly is the type of girl who is absolutely going to be the one making life happen in the end. She’s outspoken and easily annoyed when life gets a little too dull for her liking. Much of the series is a path to self-discovery in an unconventional way. Her confidence in being a cam girl transfers over to the rest of her life, and she ends up learning what she really wants with the help of some whips and handcuffs.
Carly is a wannabe actress. What is the deeper meaning of her wanting to become famous?
Acting was probably something Carly got into to validate her reason of existing in Los Angeles. And she’s failed pretty miserably at it. What’s funny is that she’s actually pretty good, but the city is chewing her up and spitting her back out over and over again. Part of her wanting to become famous is definitely skin deep… she’d love to throw it in everybody’s face that told her it wasn’t possible. Part of it is knowing she does have actual talent and wants the world to see it. And I think the last part of it is knowing if she became famous, she could shed her old skin and all of its baggage and adopt a whole new life. It’s a valid reason that would be the cherry on top.
How do Carly’s plans affect her relationship with the rest of the group, i.e. her three friends Ford, Ulysses, and Severine?
Carly’s plans are her plans, and everyone else should probably just get out of the way. She doesn’t have much of a relationship with Ford and Severine, other than through Uly. Carly is Uly’s advice guru, and in return, Uly is pretty supportive of whatever weird choice Carly decides to make. They have a beautifully charming brother-sister relationship.
How does the group of four friends connect and influence each other?
I think there’s one episode the entire season where you see the four of us in the same room. The storylines are pretty separate throughout each episode, but it’s a fun moment seeing everyone’s personality come together. There’s a scene where it’s glaringly obvious that Carly and Severine are literal opposites, but eerily similar. The women in this show are the strong ones who dominate their relationships.. while the men are overly paranoid and worried they’re not serving their purpose. We intimidate them, but they expose us to our soft side. The four of us are the epitome of different types of love languages.
How much fun was it to portray someone wanting to be an actress by someone who is already a working actress?
One of the first things I said when I found out Carly was a wannabe actress was “I can relate!” Let’s not get it twisted… sometimes when you’re in between jobs as an actress you think… “oh god, no one wants to book me, am I a wannabe?” Most actors in LA have had this thought run through their brain, which is a huge reason I love this show. It’s a nod to SO many people who have dealt with this struggle. We’ve all been there! LA sucks sometimes. So, playing a struggling actress is amusing, because low-key in six months I’ll probably have one of those panic moments where I question if I’m good enough.
You are also an accomplished dancer. How does it feel to bring the young iconic dancer and actress Gwen Verdon to life in the upcoming Bob Fosse/Gwen Verdon series?
It’s unreal. It’s really a dream come true. Most people don’t understand the importance of Fosse, but if you grew up as a dancer, you’d remember being ten years old and having your dance teacher explain to you how iconic Fosse was. I was lucky enough to do a bit of dancing in this project… and not just as any dancer, but as Gwen Verdon. From what I’ve seen so far, this series is going to be incredible and so important to anyone in the entertainment business.
As a dancer, how does the musicality and being in sync with your body add to the dynamic of the movement related to the characters you play?
Acting is very physical and definitely involves choreography– natural, organic choreography. The way the lines and your actions intertwine with themselves and the other actors is a dance. Your facial expressions, your hands, your posture… you can speak volumes without ever saying a word.
How do you embrace the intimate experience of the existence which we call life?
I take each day as it comes. I try to do something stimulating to the brain at least once a day… getting to a new part of town, starting a new book, binging a series, calling up an old friend. I’ve learned to focus a lot on my mind and well-being. It’s okay to have alone time, especially when you’re more socially introverted like me. On the flip side, I think it’s so beneficial to take risks because really, it doesn’t matter. You’ll never please everyone and you’re allowed to make mistakes, so why not just live life unapologetically to the fullest?
What is your definition of beauty and style, and what meaning do they have in your life?
Beauty is found in everything. I think style can be misconstrued as a weird social acceptance scheme. We as a society can get in a habit of mindlessly following a trend or trying to prove to the rest of the world we matter because we’re “stylish” or the norm definition of “beauty.” Everyone’s definition of beauty and feeling beautiful is different. I could never put an umbrella over that. To me, a person that radiates confidence and happiness in the face of negativity and incompetence is so beautiful. I’m learning to be that person. I’m guilty of caring about my appearance a little too much sometimes. But if you can have the conversation with yourself and look in the mirror and see you for you, you’ll believe it.
Looking back at 2018: Who would you like to thank and why?
Without sounding selfish, I’d thank myself first and foremost for working hard and staying dedicated to my craft. I’d also like to thank myself for trying to improve my relationships with others, even if it’s two steps forward, one step back. It’s progress. Which leads me to thank the people close to me who are so loving and understand what a process life can be. I’d really love to thank the new people in the acting AND music community I met in 2018. Artists can be so inspiring in such different ways. And finally, my cat. Keep being an angel.
How can young talents positively impact their fans and followers through social media channels?
Stay authentic. You’ll feel so much better about yourself. Facades get old, and it will inspire your audience to be true to themselves. Communicating with fans on a personal level can be so wonderful, whether it’s through Twitter, Instagram, etc. Don’t forget you’re never too good for your fans– they’re the reason you are who you are. They are a treasure!
You have worked with the Audrey Hepburn CARES Team in association with the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. What specific humanitarian work do they do related to suspected victims of child abuse, how have you become involved and grown as a person by being involved, and why is this organization close to your heart?
I became involved with the CARES Team many years ago, and the people who are the backbone of the organization are angels. Not only do they work to prevent child abuse, but they take the steps necessary to help a child through the entire process of treatment, the legal action needed, and the therapy and psychiatric services they might endure afterward. Meeting these children has been the most humbling experience I have ever had. The doctors at the hospital are the true heroes, but I try to do whatever I can to put a smile on a patient’s face. Child abuse is so wrong and so overlooked at times. I’m so glad that I’ve brought awareness in even the slightest way.
The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is “The Essence of Joyful Living.” How does Joy during the creative process affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, why do it? There are effort and exhaustion involved in most things in life, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be joyful. It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of it all and feel like you need to break down. The more you can have a personal conversation with your mind and think “Why am I doing this? How does this affect me? How does this affect others? What will I get out of this in the end?”, the calmer you’ll feel.
When you hear: “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?
It’s true. Make it happen.