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Conversations with Christine Viviers

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Viviers.

Hi Christine, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m a proud South African and my story starts with a little girl filled with a lion’s spirit hoping to make this world a better place. I’ve always had big dreams and strived to impact people in a positive way. I was three years old when I fell in love with performing, I climbed onto the stage and just danced. I twirled in my little purple dress, arms wide open. I had no appreciation at the time for the effect it has on me now. After High School, I started studying for a PPE (Politics, Philosophy, Economics) degree at Stellenbosch University. During this year it was evident to me that although it was extremely intellectually stimulating, I was not feeding my soul with what makes me happy. At the end of 2016, I decided to listen to the little girl in my heart and left for New York in December 2016 to do a short course for Acting for Film at New York Film Academy. This is where my life changed. In the heart of New York, I discovered that following your heart and making yourself proud is more valuable than being safe and comfortable. Fast forward a year, I moved to New York full time at the end of 2017 and lived there until moving to Los Angeles in 2021. I still remember when I got on that plane and was scared and sad to leave my friends and family behind. I took a risk and had to embark on this journey on my own, but I was also very excited because I was on my way to America to turn my dream of being an actress into a reality. And that’s what I’m doing now, being in theater, movies, and auditioning for big projects. I believe the reason I was put on earth is to tell stories and to make a difference in people’s lives. I give all credit for who I am to God, as it is through him that I got my talent and why I am where I am and get to do what I do. My parents raised me with the idea that no dream is too big. They have sacrificed so much for me, always been extremely supportive, and encouraged me every step of the way. I hope to make South Africa proud and bring back my Oscar.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve faced a lot of challenges and I’m so grateful for all of them because without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I work incredibly hard every day and I do not give up. It takes a lot of perseverance, whether it is accent work, breaking down a script, doing character work, networking, or submitting for auditions. Hard work is there when talent wants a rest day. I think one of the biggest challenges that I still have to work hard on is my American accent. My South African accent is the superpower that separates me from the masses but also my vice. I quickly realized that to be a versatile actor I’d have to master the American Accent so I attended Accent Classes during my BFA and after graduating I would grab my notes and sit in front of the mirror every day for an hour working on my Voice and Speech Production. Consistency is key and doing the reps is what I can credit my improvement on, it’s like going to the gym. I always say that I never want to lose any aspect of myself but rather gain a skill. The most challenging aspect of learning the American accent is in scenes when you are in the moment and instinctively my emotions take over and my South African accent comes out but I’m improving daily and that’s all I can ask for. Comparison is the thief of joy and my journey will look different than someone else’s and it will all work out as it should.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I graduated with my BFA in Acting at AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) and have been specializing in Acting ever since I was a child. Last year I was excited to learn more about filmmaking, so I started writing, directing, and producing my own films. I also sing and dance and am currently rehearsing for Newsies Jr The Disney Musical. What sets me apart, as cliche as it sounds, is being Christine. There is no one else that’s just like me. My unique perspective, upbringing, and personality separate me from other people. I grew up in a township called Kayamandi and was the first and only white family to live in a black community. I don’t need to give a history lesson about Apartheid, but it was bad. My parents fought for reconciliation and equality by doing a lot of work in a township. One day a local man told my father, “You come here with your nice car and tell us we are all created equal, but in an hour you’ll drive back to your safe house with running water, a warm bed, food, and forget about us suffering here.” And that is how I came to live and grow up in Kayamandi, a township situated just outside Stellenbosch, the most affluent town in South Africa. Growing up in Kayamandi taught me how listening to people’s stories changes how we look at the world. Through my acting and storytelling, I have the opportunity to truthfully reflect on people’s stories and, therefore, try and make the world understand each other a little bit better. I’m bilingual and speak Afrikaans, English, and a little Xhosa. Language has always been a big part of my work. Classical material such as Shakespeare has been my strong suit and has helped me analyze contemporary work as well. I’m extremely proud of my recent role in “Mother Grace” which won the Encore Awards at the 2022 Hollywood Fringe Festival and we’re currently in the process of picking it up for an Equity Production.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I love connecting and collaborating with people so please reach out to me on Instagram or through my website. You can catch me in the Newsies Jr Disney Musical on the 26th and 27th of August, message me for tickets so I can be sure to greet you afterward.

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