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Meet Elisabeth Steen-Nokleberg of Pisces Rising in West LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elisabeth Steen-Nokleberg.

Elisabeth, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born in Norway. I am half Norwegian, half East Indian. Both my parents were classical musicians and my dad is considered one of Norway’s leading classical pianists being knighted by the king of Norway. Needless to say, there’s a lot of artistry in my DNA. I played some instruments but that was not my niche.

I was a very expressive and emotional child but also very imaginative and all I wanted to do was to fantasize In my room, create stories and transform into different characters. I wrote books to friends and did school plays. At 12, I did two National commercials. But then came the teenage and rebel years and I just wanted to explore everything and go against everything. I moved to London at 18 then next to NYC. I went to college and partied like a rock star. I have no regrets; I was a wild child and needed to get it out of my system. I was asked to do a music video and shortly after, I enrolled in a two years acting program. I felt home as soon as I sat down in the class theater room and the first night after class, I cried all night knowing that I was home. This was what I was meant to do and all I wanted to do since I was a child. Nothing could have come more naturally to me. I ended up studying various methods of acting in classes for ten years in NY.

I did endless student projects and also got cast in quite a few indie projects. One of them went to a local indie NYC movie theatre. I also co created a men’s cologne Kristiansand NY that are still for sale in the US and Norway. It was a great business learning experience however there was deeper meaning to it for me. I relocated to Los Angeles after doing various showcases here where I picked up more classes. After settling in here I started booking a lot of cool indie films. Next, I decided to make a career leap and create my own project. My first feature movie Heart of the Home is in copyright stages and I went from being an actress to being a storyteller/ co-writer / producer/ executive producer and actress.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has been anything but a smooth road haha. First of all, when I was younger, I lacked the confidence to put myself out there fully. I was also full of issues and lacked direction in life. I also ran into some creepy men in the industry that back then put fear in me. Today I would have handled all of these things totally different but that’s the way it was. I also felt a lot of discrimination against my accent and being a foreigner. I had to deal with a lot of people making fun of my accent which was stronger when I started out. Another general obstacle a lot of actors face is getting to the right auditions and being seen by the right people. I gave up on figuring that out and decided to focus on making a movie instead. With filmmaking my personal problem was not the creative aspects. Personally, I have the creative eye and finding talents to work and collaborate with was easy too. At this stage in life, I also have the confidence and determination. The issue was financing. I chose to do it the hard way. I ended up spending most of my savings and working two years six days a week and living like a student in order to finance this myself. And my movie is considered low budget.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a filmmaker. I have the idea and I make them come to life in collaboration with other talents in front and behind the camera and scenes. I put my fingers in everything the smaller the projects the more hats the creator will wear. Heart of the Home is a horror comedy. I have always had a taste for dark art as well as humor. I m very drawn to the contrasting combination. Also, this story as well as my future stories will always be based on something from my own unconventional life. And that is what makes this film and will make future one s unique. I have always gone my own way in life and hence have interesting tales to tell. I believe one’s greatest power is always to be oneself fully. And that will set you apart from others; there is only one you so the more you own it the more powerful you become.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I used to be filled with regrets, sadness and shame over things I could have /should have done differently. I got over that. I am the way I am, my life path is correct for me, mistakes and failures included. As for filmmaking, I wish I had a little more help. Doing a crying scene for instant takes mental and imaginary focus. Having to fill up snacks plates, making sure everyone is doing their thing, set is right and handling wardrobe continuity, props, etc. while you are emotionally prepping on the inside is a lot. Just an example. Also, we shot the full feature which was very dialogue driven in six days only. This was overwhelming.

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Image Credit:
Brian Parillo photography (main photo)

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