LEVEN RAMBIN

Leven Rambin
Photographer: Sergio Kurhajec
Stylist: Don Sumada / Bernstein & Andriulli
Hair and Makeup: Liam Dunn / Bernstein & Andriulli

(Interview follows photo series)

Black net camisole – BreeLayne // Black wool trousers – Jil Sander // Black sandals – Pierre Hardy

Black silk bustier jumpsuit – Cushnie Et Ochs from Albright Fashion Library

Black net mask – Carine Gilson

Black lace halter dress – BreeLayne // Black sandals – Pierre Hardy

Black open shoulder sweater – Anthony Vaccarello

Black feather bolero jacket – Adrienne Landau from Albright Fashion Library // Black short – Calvin Klein

Black feather bolero jacket – Adrienne Landau from Albright Fashion Library

Creme trousers – Ann Demeulemeester

Black lace halter dress – BreeLayne

Black cashmere crewneck sweater – Land’s End

Vintage grey alpaca cardigan // Creme trousers – Ann Demeulemeester

Black feather bolero jacket – Adrienne Landau from Albright Fashion Library

INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
STORY BY KATINA GOULAKOS

Not many people can say they have been working since they are thirteen years old. However, our next subject, Leven Rambin has been consistently acting since her early teen years. This young actress took the time to sit down with us and talk about what it is like being her!

Imagista: Where did you grow up? And how did you first get into acting?

Leven: I grew up in Houston Texas. When I was in middle school I was really reckless and anxious. I was an athlete but I wanted something more I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I auditioned for the school play, which was some dorky silly play but I auditioned for the lead and I got the part. It didn’t seem like much at the time, I was a field hockey player and basket ball player, I just thought it was going to be something fun to do. I don’t know what happened but I really got into it. I ended up working with an acting teacher to help me with stage fright and to help go over lines. I really wanted to know what I was doing and not just wing it. She really taught me the foundation of acting and techniques, which increased my confidence in my ability to get on stage and perform and not blow it – that was the main thing. She really noticed something in me and I continued to train with her beyond the play. She told me I had talent and a good work ethic and recommended me to go to Los Angeles for pilot season. She told me she could set me up with a manager and agent if I was willing to put in the work, she wasn’t willing to send me there if I wasn’t ready to work for it. I absolutely wanted to, I mean ask any thirteen year old if they want to go to LA to be an actor most would say yeah, but I did have the work ethic. I took it very seriously and went out to LA and like she promised, she graciously set me up with an agent who started sending me out on auditions and I ended up booking the first audition I went on.

Imagista: Did your parents come with you?

Leven: Both of my parents have always been supportive with me trying this out. They are conservative, but they want us to have every opportunity in life so they were willing to let me do this, as crazy as it sounded to everyone else from my town. My mom came out with me to LA three months and like I said, I somehow ended up booking the first audition I went to.

Imagista: What was the audition for?

Leven: All My Children!

Imagista: That is true you were on All My Children for a while! How long exactly were you on the show?

Leven: Four years!

Imagista: That is such an iconic television series, what was that experience like?

Leven: It’s funny because that was the only soap opera my mom watched growing up and I would watch it when I was a kid which was totally inappropriate but after school I would cuddle up with my mom and watch it. So when I got the part we couldn’t believe it, we were so excited. We were really excited about the opportunity and my mom was really proud and excited. I never thought to myself when I was watching the show “one day I am going to be on it”, it was more like “I hope I do well”. I am so happy my mom was not a stage mom, she didn’t care if I succeeded or not she just wanted me to have fun and have a good experience. She wasn’t pushing me to do anything, I was pushing myself. She followed my lead so we moved up to New York to film that for four years.

Imagista: In terms of shooting schedule, how many months a year did they film All My Children?

Leven: Every month, there was no summer because there was a new episode every day, so we need to shoot everyday.

Imagista: What was that like? Going from being a 13 year old kid doing school plays and working with a local acting coach to actually having a real job as an actress?

Leven: It was really crazy because there were not any other kids my age on the show. Like I said, it was such a shock to my system that I never had time to think “oh I am in the big leagues now” I just always hoped I did well. I wanted to prove to myself that I was even capable of doing it, it never occurred to me to have en ego about it. I was so consumed with wanting to do well, it was like my TV came to life and it was really surreal. I was pretty mature and I think I handled my first job well, maybe some would disagree but I think I did well.

Imagista: It sounds like you had an incredible supportive family also which makes a huge difference.

Leven: My family was so supportive of this bizarre unique direction that my life was taking and they never held me back. They always wanted me to go as far and as long as I could and that is amazing parenting. I know a lot of kids don’t have that freedom or support from their family so I am really lucky I did.

Imagista: In terms of other actors, either living or dead, who has inspired you the most in your career?

Leven: Marilyn Monroe has always been my obsession for a few reasons. From where she began and from what she wanted…I mean I have done so much research on her life I am really obsessed with her. I really respect her as an actor, she inspires me as an actress because I feel her struggle in everything that she does and I just relate to her personal dilemmas and how she can relate to her roles. She gives me a lot of inspiration as far as my own craft – I don’t want to emulate her story but I am inspired by what she was able to accomplish and the will she had to accomplish that, despite all the things that held her back. Another actress that really inspires me is Meryl Streep, as cliche as that sounds but I aspire to be somebody who is able to change from role to role and somebody who is very distinct. You never think “oh it’s Meryl Streep playing Meryl Streep” because you don’t know really, who she is because she creates these incredibly bold characters that are so believable to her audiences. She is so skilled and whenever I watch a movie of hers, there are little moments that would take me a year to figure out how to do, that she executes so effortlessly. Also people like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, I have read all their biographies. They inspire me because they still work as hard now as they did when they were twenty years old.

Imagista: Are you still working with an acting coach?

Leven: I am actually in acting school now, I kind of took a pause from my career two years ago. I never had any formal training really so when I was about 22 or 23 I took a pause from my career and that if this was really what I wanted to do with the rest of my life that I really needed to really know what I was doing. I wanted and needed to learn about this craft in order to continue growing, I felt shameful calling myself an actor because I didn’t know what I was doing I was just working off my own instinct. I looked at someone like Natalie Portman in Black Swan and thought “how do you do that” and I really wanted to know. If I am going to do something, I am going to aspire to know what I’m doing and hope to be the best.

Imagista: So tell me about directing, is that part of the puzzle for you?

Leven: I have directed three shorts, but only one of them is going to festivals. I have been training for two years, I moved to New York and kind of paused everything and focused on my training. I still continued to work, I did True Detective, I did a pilot and was lead in a movie. I was a full time student and full time actor. Directing for me is part of telling my own stories and being able to show my voice and tell my story. I wanted my take on life to be out there, when someone else writes it and directs it, you can act in it but it is never fully yours. I would love to direct a feature in a few years so I would want to know more about it.

Imagista: It sounds like your career is pretty all consuming. So let me ask you, say you were for some reason unable to act and direct what do you think you would have done?

Leven: I would have done music, because that is my other love. I am also pursuing that now!

Imagista: That is so cool, how would you describe your music?

Leven: I just teamed up with the indie rock band Little Racer. We are collaborating with my original stuff. So I guess it would be Courtney Love meets Lana Del Rey, a little more rock but still cinematic.