By Ryan Meehan
Actress Inbar Lavi is a rising star on the new MTV show “Underemployed,” which follows a group of friends that made the four-year journey with each other, having planned to dominate the world once their dorm days became a distant memory. However, life hasn’t exactly been kind to any of the five former college mates, menial jobs, unexpected pregnancies, and rapidly diminishing dreams abounding in their first year out of school. Inbar plays Raviva, the feisty musician who is determined to tour the world but has no plans to starve whilst doing so. Already hugely popular in her native country of Israel, Inbar has been taking over US Television having appeared in roles on “Entourage” (HBO), “The Closer” (TNT), Ghost Whisperer” (CW), “Crash” (STARZ), “Criminal Minds” (CBS), “CSI: Miami” (CBS) and “ In Plain Sight” (USA).In addition, she has appeared in a number of feature films including Street Kings; Motor City with Ray Liotta and Shawn Hatosy, Nathanael Coffman’s Getting that Girl and Albert Pyun’s latest film Tales if the Ancient Empire. And she’s our guest today in 5 Questions.
FOH: What made you want to get into the entertainment industry? What’s the biggest difference between what you had expected it to be and what it really is?
IL: I’ve been performing ever since I can remember. I used to put on plays and musicals for my family all the time as a kid. It’s all on tape too so if this ever gets out I’m screwed! I remember watching ‘The Professional’ with my dad when I was young. Natalie Portman’s character was so magnetic and fascinating to watch. I remember thinking – god! I wish I could be that cool! That was when I decided to go to Hollywood and be an actress in American cinema.
FOH: You are of Israeli descent and studied Ballet and Modern Dance at the Kiarat Sharet School of Arts, and then went on to study at The Sofi Moskowitz School of Acting in Tel Aviv to focus on Method Work and something called the Stanislavski technique. For those who may not know, what exactly is the Stanislavski technique and how has it helped you progress as an actress?
IL: Stanislavski’s system is a progression of techniques used to train actors to draw believable emotions to their performances. It’s based on the concept of emotional memory for which an actor focuses internally to portray a character’s emotions onstage. I use it everyday on set and off for practice and I am still just in the beginning of my studies. There is so much more to learn and explore, it’s fascinating.
FOH: How would you best describe your character Raviva? In what ways is she like you and in what ways is she different?
IL: Raviva is a lot like me in many ways, she is such a free spirit. She is wiled and unapologetic about who she is and what she stands for. She believes that with hard work and dedication ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN and that’s pretty much my moot in life. She is passionate, a good friend and loves life and the people around her. I can relate to all those things !
Raviva is also a musician so I learned to play guitar & sing. I even wrote a song which made the show and viewers will get to listen to in a later episode. It’s been scary and wild but the best rides in life are. Raviva is also a young mom, can’t say I’ve ever been. I got to explore that on the show and bond with the sweetest tinniest twins in the world. It’s been the most challenging role I’ve had so far and challenge is always exciting!
FOH: “Underemployed” is a show about a group of friends who recently finished college and are now finding out that the working world is not necessarily all that it’s cracked up to be…Do you feel like with the current economic situation in this country that people are able to relate to this show better because of all of the problems young people are having finding work within their intended career field? If so, does that sort of bum you out at all?
IL: Absolutely. A lot of my friends are currently either unemployed or underemployed. I have a brilliant interior designer friend fresh out of college working at a shoe store and an amazing marketing major who still tends bars every night. It’s rough everywhere and it definitely is a subject a lot can relate to . I think its important to address real current problems and I am proud to be a part of a show that is honest and deals with real issues. Does it bum me out we are facing some of the hardest economic times we’ve had – yes it does, big time. But you know what? When times are rough people tend to appreciate the small and good things in life, like the people who are there for to pick them up when they are down, and that’s what the show is all about. Even when things suck, you’re not alone – it sucks for your friends too!
FOH: Which role was a bigger stretch for you - playing Cordelia in the Tom Badal production of Shakespeare’s “King Lear”, or playing an adult novelty store clerk in “Entourage”? Did you feel that the latter showed more range for you as an actress since you had done a lot of theatre and stage work leading up to that point?
IL: Playing Cordelia in “King Lear”, was by far one of the hardest roles I’ve ever had to do. it was in my first year in school, my first big theater production. I was 19 and my English was still in the works. Studying Shakespeare was like studying Chinese! It is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies and I wanted to do it justice so I worked on the correct pronunciation and inflections whilst having to ‘loose my father to old age’ on stage every night. I had 8 months of this-so I can safety say its been INTENSE! Playing Sadie on Entourage or any other role for that matter was a piece of TV cake compared to the one. It was still a lot of fun and clearly prepared me for everything that followed. I’m so grateful I got to be in such a demanding and challenging production that early on.
FOH: Is there any specific advice that you would give someone to who is an aspiring actor or actress about the many nuances of show business?
IL: I would say go to school. Study the craft so you are ready for the grueling life on set. Work hard and stay focused, don’t get distracted from what really matters. Surround yourself with good positive people; there is plenty of negativity out there. Stay healthy and balance your mind with other hobbies and arts. Watch good cinema and get inspired by greatness. Be yourself and know you are amazing. Do not change to fit whatever mold you think Hollywood is looking for. And more than anything – have fun. Otherwise none of it matters.
FOH: What’s on tap for you in the twelve months to come? Anything big in the works?
IL: I just wrapped shooting an episode for CSI (VEGAS) . It airs 11/28/2012 It’s coming up! It’s a very cool part-I get to play a street walker….. channeled some of my Pretty woman skills. I think my male fans would appreciate my wardrobe choices……… lets leave it at that : ) other then that were waiting to hear back on second season of Underemployed so FINGERS CROSSED!!!!!
Underemployed Official Site: http://www.mtv.com/shows/underemployed/series.jhtml
Inbar on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Inbar-Lavi/346364504919
Inbar on Twitter: @inbarlavi
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