PHOTOGRAPHY BY RIE RASMUSSEN
STORY BY KATINA GOULAKOS
“I have always been a massive goof ball, I’m a dork, I’m not “cool” in that sense. I thrive on being the center of attention and being silly and entertaining people”
Lorenza Izzo doesn’t look like your stereotypical dork but she is just that, in the best sense of the word.
Izzo’s effervescent allure is more than contagious; she is one of those women who is inspired by the world around her all while inspiring those around her. The Chilean native is without a doubt a force to be reckoned with and she proves just that in our latest interview with her.
Imagista: I’m assuming you have Italian roots with a name like Lorenza, am I wrong?
Lorenza: No you are not! My real name is Lorenza Francesca Izzo Parsons, so my first three names are very Italian and my second last name, is not. I am born and raised in Chile and over there we use both of our parents last names.
My father’s great grandfather came to Chile from Italy so I do have a lot of Italian in me, from the South of Italy specifically.
Imagista: Very cool, have you been to Italy?
Lorenza: YES! And by the way, every time I go there, I feel like I am with my people.
I come from a very family oriented place and my family is mostly women. We are very loud and emotional but also very grounded and the base of my life has always been that. That tradition and love is something that I am all about that. I love to eat and drink wine and laugh and be with family, which is a big part of the Italian culture.
Every time I go to Chile, it is like I am breathing different air, I miss my country and my home dearly and that is the same feeling I get when I am in Italy, which is crazy because I didn’t grow up there.
Imagista: Where are you located now?
Lorenza: Los Angeles, I have been here for six years. It took me a while to adjust; I come from a different world. Where I grew up it was a very urban and concentrated city.
The switch from living in Santiago to Los Angeles was a bit of change from when I lived in New York even. In LA, you are in your car, all day. This means that people don’t interact as much all day as they would in other places. I think my biggest thing was feeling very alienated and lonely. It is a very specific type of loneliness. I lived with my family my entire life and I moved to LA to live alone for the first time and it was a crazy culture shock but also fascinating to see.
I think that when you first move to Los Angeles, you don’t always meet the “right” people but eventually, you do figure it out. I am happy to say that after six years I have created my own little family of amazing friends and I have come to learn that it can be the coolest city if you give it the chance. I am glad I stuck through it and I think all cities have the potential to be home.
I moved to New York for the first time when I was eighteen and I was studying acting and living with my aunt and that was one experience. Then I moved to New York when I was shooting a show for six months and it was a different experience, on that I didn’t necessarily love. I think it is more about you and what you make of the city you are in and how you make sure that becomes your home and I can say for certain that Los Angeles is home right now.
Imagista: You are both a model and an actress, which art form did you fall in love with first?
Lorenza: I would disagree with that, I mean I guess I am but I do not identify as a model at all. I started out as a model when I was sixteen because my mom was a model and my aunt is a model and it kind of made sense. Also the extra money when you are sixteen is never a bad idea. However, I always felt weird in that world and that job. I have always been a massive goof ball, I’m a dork, I’m not “cool” in that sense.
I thrive on being the center of attention and being silly and entertaining people, since I’m a kid. I caught on at a young age that I loved theater and communication, I loved telling stories and seeing the impact movies had on me. As a kid movies did so much for me emotionally and I just wanted to be part of that world. I knew that my calling in this universe was to make people laugh or cry or have an experience of any sort. It’s probably very egotistical of me that I thought that but it was my “calling” and I believed in it.
Imagista: You just wanted to make people feel something.
Lorenza: Exactly and also hopefully learn something from that. I found many lessons in life through movies and I think that’s pretty cool.
Imagista: You mentioned your family earlier and how you come from a long line of models, were they supportive of your dreams of becoming an actress?
Lorenza: My mother was not, at all. My mom wanted me to go to college and study something reasonable, something that would give me skills and tools for life and I totally understand where she is coming from. But I do have a theory about college, I don’t think everyone, at the age of eighteen, is able to define their future. In Chile its not like in America where you need to decide at eighteen exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life. I believe there are different kinds of people in life, some people thrive on working right away and others are supposed to be nurtured through books. I think you can learn so many skills in so many different ways as you grow older. I don’t think there is any right time to study and learn. I think our brains are hungry always and we need to feed them in whatever capacity we can.
When I was eighteen and I moved to New York with my aunt and I felt like a baby, I missed my family so much. I ended up moving back to Chile and did the SAT’s and entered into a journalism program, which is one of my favorite things, I find communication fascinating because it is the base of all humanity. I thought that journalism was my in and I could host a television show and use that as both an outlet as entertaining and a way to use my brain. I did that for a year, until this student film opportunity came up and I became obsessed. I think that was the first time I fell in love with what I could do and who I could be. In that moment I knew I had to pursue it.
So to answer your question, mom was terrified with me becoming an actress because she didn’t want all the insecurities and the fear that came with it.
By the way, she did turn around and now she is completely supportive and its awesome. I admire my mom so much for her growth and she is such a trooper with every crazy decision I have made because there have been some crazy ones and she just won’t give up.
She is an awesome, admirable and powerful woman.
Imagista: Well I am sure you got a lot of those qualities!
Lorenza: I hope so, I am still in the trial period!
Imagista: You’re making me laugh; see you are fulfilling your lifelong calling!
Lorenza: There we go! I have been told I am funny. One of my dreams is to do a standup at one point and do a one-woman show. I have this joke where it’s not kind of a joke where I think I have forty-seven personalities and I am still discovering all of them. I have about twenty down now and it’s kind of become a thing. Sometimes on my Instagram I will show some of these personalities. One of my dreams is to one day make something out of it and make people laugh with my forty-seven personalities.
Imagista: You have had a super busy year can you tell me a bit about working on Life Itself and The House with a Clock in Its Wall?
Lorenza: Life Itself is a really funny story because that movie was made two years ago. I remember after reading that script I called my team and I was like “guys, I am on the floor crying after reading the script”, I thought it was sad and gut wrenching and I really wanted to be part of telling this story.
I auditioned for the role and I got great feedback but they told me I looked a little young for the role and I was really bummed, I gave it my best try and had to kind of go on with my life.
A year later, I got an email from my team telling me they wanted me to audition for Life Itself and I thought it was a mistake because they had already shot the movie. I then found out that they shot the movie and they wanted to re-cast the role.
I went in and went through the entire process, I met with Dan Fogleman and he told me that he knew I was the right girl for the part.
For me, booking that movie was a pretty spectacular journey and to have a part in that and to have met all those people was incredible.
I am a huge Dan Fogleman fan, I think he has the capacity to capture human emotionality in a very specific way that I think is incredible and I am very proud to have been part of that journey.
Then The House With a Clock in Its Wall, I was still with my husband Eli Roth at the time who was a huge fan of the book and I thought it was a really cool project. I remember him telling me that he wanted me to be in it and I was hesitant.
I really wanted to do my own thing, I didn’t want to be viewed as the wife of, I wanted to always earn my roles in my own right.
Finally, he came up to me and promised me that he would have nothing to do with the decision and ended up convincing me to audition.
I auditioned with Owen who plays the lead and we clicked right away, it made perfect sense and I ended up getting the part.
I really wanted to do the best I can and it was an incredible vibe on set, it was very family oriented, Cate and Jack would bring their kids and it was just a great feeling to be with so many talented people.
Imagista: You are also working on some new projects like Where We Go From Here and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood what has that been like?
Lorenza: Where We Go From Here is a movie that my acting teacher wrote. He got the idea after all the shootings that have happened. He was so angry and decided to do this project and I was really excited when he called me to do a piece on that.
It is always fun to be able to work with one of your mentors because you trust them in a different way. It was really a wonderful project to be part of.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood I am in right now and there is not much to say besides the fact that I am getting to work with one of my true idols, Quentin Tarantino. I admire him deeply and the fact that I am getting a chance to work with him is really a dream, there are no other words to describe it.
To share a screen with people like Margot Robbie who I not only adore but admire deeply is beyond me. She is killing the game, she is so young, so beautiful, so talented and so smart. To share time with someone like that and have her be your peer in a sense is such a WTF moment for me.
We need to go back to the fact that I am Chilean, I didn’t grow up in the States, this is not normal for me.
To be able to say I am sharing a screen with Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino is bizarre and every time I hear it I get a little anxiety because it is very, very heavy.
In my mind, I am living the dream and it is pretty spectacular.
One thing I have learnt is not to “toot my own horn” I think why I am doing better in this industry today is because I have grown more into myself as a woman and what I value and what I take more seriously. I have learned that auditioning is my job, my day-to-day job is auditioning and getting in those rooms and having those people see the talent I have. When I book the job, that’s the gift that is when I get to enjoy it.
I am in this industry to tell great stories and experience great things and people and I think that is helping me stay level-headed.
Imagista: Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Lorenza: I am constantly and amazingly surprised by how many people inspire me daily. I think we are all out here trying to do our best.
My mom has been my pillar, my rock, my angel, my everything. She had it tough and she did something with her life. I think everyone needs to realize that we can’t control anything; life is going to happen to us. I think what matters is what we do when it happens to us. You just need to keep swimming and I think that’s been my biggest motto in life. It is all about growth and my mom has been truly inspiring in that sense.
All the women who surround me, both friends and family are all incredible influences in my life who inspire me daily.
I truly believe that we are in a shifting time for women and what feminism means to us. I come from a very conservative country that is very sexist in a way. I came from a culture that was constantly putting women down and I have truly had an opening and an understanding this year on how not right that is and I want to do something about it.
I feel like we are in a shifting time and I just want to make sure that the movies I make and whatever I put out there is something that my little sister can watch and be proud of, something that all little girls can be proud of, that a Latina can be proud of- something that any race or background can be proud of.
There was something about this year, where I have come more into myself and I think beautiful and inspiring women surround me and I am grateful for that everyday.
Imagista: Can you tell me a super random fact about yourself?
Lorenza: I love to kite surf, it’s my favorite thing. I love sports but kite surfing is my secret weapon.