Vanity is the biggest enemy of an actor. Forget about mirrors, about projecting a colorful lifestyle with no purpose. Be generous. Live comfortably with your darkness;)
As a part of my series of the rising stars in popular culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dalila Carmo. Dalila is a professional actress from Portugal. She is mostly recognized for her television and film roles as well as her work on stage. She won multiple awards at her home country such as the Sophia (Portuguese Film Academy Award) for best actress in a leading role as well as the Portuguese Golden Globe. When she is not acting, she is traveling around the globe.
Thank you so much for joining us Dalila! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you for inviting me!
Well, it has been a while since I had chosen this career path. It was in Oporto in 1990, and I was a rebel teenage-student with some existentialist issues. I was searching for a creative place of self-development where I could transform reality. I wasn’t sure of my dreams then, I just wanted freedom but whilst being accepted in a community where I didn’t feel a misfit. Theatre classes started casually but then I started to be addicted to play life in a deeper way. To create a new reality, to be exposed and finding my strength out of that vulnerability. My teachers and colleagues were crucial in my decisions. So I moved forward and enrolled in the professional theatre school and continued being an actor until today. Because I love what I do, and because I am terribly stubborn.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I have trouble finding “the most” something. My life is full of amazing situations. Portugal is not like LA or any bigger industries. We learn to work in very precarious environments and we have to integrate all the last minute conflicts in a different manner…I don’t really know how to tell these stories without looking like I am complaining, because I am not. It is just that the most interesting stories come out of that instability. Ok let me tell you one…a few years ago I was shooting in Spain for my Portuguese tv series. We didn’t have money to block the streets and avenues like in big budget productions, where each actor has his own trailer etc. We all dressed in the same “truck”. So I was shooting a scene where I had to identify a corpse on the beach and in the scene I was supposed to sit under a tree crying. Since the streets were not cut, although the police was there, there is this old sweet man who sat with me and cried with me. And cried and cried. He was a spontaneous extra, not a hired one. The scene was so truthful that I didn’t cut and continued to play as if his arrival was done on purpose. But it was not. After the director said “cut” and met with the man and explained what was going on he accepted but I couldn’t stop thinking about him. This would not happen anywhere else in the world…I think…
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Well, I don’t really think I had funny mistakes. Mistakes may occur anytime but I don’t have any that I can remember. I think my professional life happened with small but solid steps. Every time I started something new, I new exactly what I had to do. I am extremely perfectionist.
I did break a leg while shooting though… I had to act in a couch eating iogurtes for a couple of weeks, maybe months.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am starting a new TV series project in June and I can’t talk much about it, except that my character will be dangerous. I’ll be shooting from June until the end of 2019. Next year I’ll be on stage playing “Opening Night” By Cassavetes (we’ll adapt the film for a stage version) in a co- production with the Portuguese National Theatre.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Each new project brings me amazing new people and it is a hard task to choose only one of them. You know, everyone is very fascinated with the rich and famous. The most incredible people are unknown. I could tell you who they are, but then you would have to google them, as well as everyone is googling me right now. Giving names is worthless. Interesting people you meet everyday, if you’re open to it. You can meet them anywhere. I am a world traveller and I travel on my own many times, so I get to meet so many people all the time. Being an actor just helps to keep the doors open to the world. At least the way I see it. I don’t care about red carpets as much as care about real life and real human beings.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Maybe living one day at the time, being focused and willing to learn. When we are continuously learning and developing our tools, time is not wasted. And when the opportunity comes, we’ll be ready for it.
It is a business where luck is a key factor too, but we can’t rely on luck. I believe there is only one way that works in the long term: persistence, permanently recycling acting tools, humanity awareness. Vanity is the biggest enemy of an actor. Forget about mirrors, about projecting a colorful lifestyle with no purpose. Be generous. Live comfortably with your darkness;)
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I like metaphors so probably it would be a symbolic movement where each person would switch roles with another, but without choosing whom. For a year you could live in the opposite side of the world, from being a hairdresser on a Tokyo suburb, from a fisherman in Portugal or a NY subway driver. It had to be a blind game and we would all learn from each others lives.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1- “Train your patience” because this job is about waiting… waiting for the right opportunity, waiting for our scene to be shot, etc
2- “It won’t probably be as you dreamt” for instance I grew up watching a certain type of cinema and dreaming of it, but it never happened.
3- “ Never compare yourself with others” — each person has a valid road no matter what choices come along the way.
4- “ Don’t be so truthful” — as a little bit of filters are necessary.
5- “ You will wish to give up many times, but you won’t!” — because temporary frustration will occur with everyone and it is NORMAL.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Live one day at a time” because being at the present is the only way to be.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am grateful to Marcia Haufrecht, my acting teacher in New York. In Oporto to Isabel Alves Costa, who taught me to never give up being curious.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Paul Thomas Anderson! I love his films and I would love to work with him. Not being possible, some food and chat would be ok. I bet he doesn’t see this but if his cousin does, please let him know this.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I don’t have twitter and I barely use facebook but I am very active on Instagram.