Interview: Nadine Vinzens, Hollywood Movie Star & Miss Switzerland
CALIFORNIA, USA / LONDON, EU >> "I never wore heels before the Miss Switzerland pageant," Nadine Vinzens says from Hollywood over a hissing Skype call that connects to me across world here in London. We don't have our cameras on, but I can picture her stunning face, the "Face of the Universe", and now also as the face of Kaszluv, the Swarovski clad bling-bling glasses, sported by Snoop Dog, Paris Hilton and LMFAO's Redfoo, .
Of-course, what makes Nadine's story even more remarkable, is that she actually went on to win Miss Switzerland. Yet, being a beauty queen was never on the agenda for this "tomboy skater" chick. It was via the intervention of a concerned grandmother, worried about potential health consequences of Nadine's supposedly "awkward walk," that lead her to seek out a modeling coach ignorer to improve posture.
As fate would have it, one thing lead to another, and that skater girl with "baggy jeans," was crowned as Queen of the snowy peaked land ultra fine watches, delectable luxury chocolates, UHNWI bank accounts.
The key at the heart of this determined young rebel, is a deep desire to perform.
"From as far as I or anyone in my family can remember I wanted to perform," she postulates in a sweet American accent, "Even before I watched any movies, I used to play by myself in my homemade theatre” In fact Nadine made her screen debut at age seven, when she "acted in a film made by neighbours."
I ask Nadine about her accent. She laughs and says that she puts "a lot more focus on the accent" when acting in English. I can still feel the warm crackles of that roaming Swiss-German, interlaced in her voice. Though, she has learnt the American accent remarkably well, and I can see that it now subconsciously permeates into her day to day conversations. I reminisce, to when I last saw Nadine. It was at the Lee Strasberg Film & Theatre Institute, in Hollywood. She was then just embarking on her journey as a Hollywood actress. Nadine certainly, took to the challenge, and has pulled through to make it in Hollywood.
I ask Nadine, that after living in America for so long, and being previously married to an American punk rock star, does she feels more American than Swiss now?
Her response quick and proud, "I am Swiss, I always will be!"
She does go on to acknowledge some Americana, seeping into her roots from the extended immersion though. How so, I ask?
"For example, when I was in Switzerland this time, I went to pay at the gas station before filling the tank. And the girl behind the counter looked at me all odd, but I insisted that I needed to pay. Then it hit me, where I was... I turned around and noticed this cue of people behind me, they recognized me! I was like oh shit!"
She refers to of-course the differing cultural nuances in filling up gasoline. Where in Switzerland you must pay for your fuel after filling up the tank, whereas in Los Angeles, they so considerately ensure that you don't forget to pay, by forcing you to pay up first.
I ask her, how she came about featuring in the Kasluv's swarovski clad glasses campaign.
Once again the story takes us back to Europe,
"I met the designer Sean Michael at the Cannes Film Festival this year" she explains, "we instantly hit it off. He saw my work and really liked it, he asked if I could be the face of Kaszluv, and I said of course, as I love the glasses!"
Indeed, it appears that the California based Sean Michael Lukaszewicz, has an eye for European jewels. First creating a pair of glasses completely encrusted in a plethora of the Austrian Swarovski crystals, and then discovering the prized jewel of Switzerland herself, Nadine.
Lukaszewicz’s metamodern marriage of decadent Rocco and industrial minimalism in his glasses, was inspired originally as style accents for the electronic music culture, and festivals such as Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and the White Wonderland musical mayhem spectacular.
Selling from a €130 a pair, Kaszluvs are in vogue nowadays with the likes of Redfoo, Paris Hilton and Chloe Simms, all seen recently donning a pair.
Yet of all the possible choices to represent his most blinged out brand, Sean Michael Lukaszewicz, selected the face of Nadine Vinzens.
"Yes, Cannes was great for me, and I have another film and a cosmetics line I will be working with soon but I am not allowed to say anything at the moment," She tells me with an electric excitement yet all the secrecy of a Swiss bank. I realize at this juncture, that any attempts to get her to spill further data will be futile, and so I move on.
How about the parties at Cannes, I hear they are amazing, no? "No, I didn't go to any parties," states Nadine "I was too focused on work, and promoting my new film."
I ask Nadine about one of my favorite films, that she starred in. "Four Senses," directed by Ruediger von Spies, shot in Venice, Italy; Munich, Germany and Savannah, Georgia. Nadine plays Julia, a blind girl who in a car crash loses her family and vision. Julia, is then subsequently forced to perform and sing at a strip club.
What!? I exclaim, Nadine you had to… sing, in the film!?
"Yes, but I did get some help to record my voice," she says shyly.
But seriously what a character, you must have loved it!
“Ya, it was something, so challenging and beautiful to create.”
Nadine is no newbie to playing challenging characters, and giving strong performances. For all her exquisite Swiss beauty she considers herself "a character actor,” and recently received a second nomination for the Prix Walo, the Swiss equivalent of the Oscars for her performance in the film "Mary & Johnny."
Nadine also recently performed a successful run on stage in Switzerland and Austria in the play Wie fünf mädchen jämmerlich im Brantwein umkommen by Jeremias Gotthelf.
I ask her what was the biggest challenge in playing the blind girl? Especially, one that falls in love at first sight, and elopes with Abercrombie and Prada model Rusty Joiner (Dodge Ball, Resident Evil)?
"You can't respond to anything you see, I had to find love in his voice, touch and smell," she recalls "after he rescues me from the strip club, and is good to me, shows me new experiences, I start liking him more and more. But of course there are obstacles along the way.
Nadine tells me that she got so artistically immersed in creating her character's blindness, that she at times, "even zoned out, not noticing many things happening on set or around her.”
Nadine appears like, nothing can scare her now. I think about how much she has grown, since we used to work on scenes together in studio classes in Hollywood led by Cathleen Leslie (protege of Kazan and head of selection committee of the Actor's Studio) or Marc Marno. Whether it be, taking on Miss Switzerland never having worn heels before, or playing a blind girl stripper on a sense awakening journey, Nadine has certainly developed into a special and rare artist.
So I ask her, what is she afraid off?
"I am afraid of the dark,"
she replies in a slower pace, admitting that she sometimes sleeps with the lights on. But why? I thought, horror films were your favorite Nadine, to which she laughs,
"thats probably why! I have watched too many horror films.
Her favourite one is the "Shining,"
I suggest a remake, where she is cast as a female version of the crazed homicidal writer originally played by Jack Nicholson,
"Ya, that would be really great," I can hear her smile.
So Hollywood and the world beware, because, "here's Nadine."