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Meet Eve Metsäranta

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eve Metsäranta.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Eve. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My whole journey as an artist started when I was just a kid. As long as I can remember, I was always very fascinated and powerfully affected by movies, music and dance. I was born and raised in Finland which has a lot of forests, so growing up me, my brother and my friends were always playing a bunch of different games and characters in the woods. We were very imaginative kids and never run out of ideas what to do or how to spend our time. My grandma, who’s no longer alive, always used to read fairytales and books for me while she also sang to me and taught me how to pray before going to bed. She read a lot of the original versions of the European classic fairytales which were far more interesting and also more dramatic and even violent than what you see for example in the whole Disney productions. Overall, we read a lot in my family and my mom and my other grandma always took us kids with them to the library, which in my opinion, is the best of the world in Finland, so they planted a seed for literature in me since I was very young. I learned how to read when I was six years old and haven’t let a book slip from my hands ever since then. I’ve always loved history and being fascinated by it and through books felt like I’ve been able to live dozens of different lives. I guess that originally sparked my interest in becoming an actor and storyteller and traveling through different human lives and experiences.

When I was seven years old, my mom asked me if I wanted to start taking jazz dance classes and I was immediately on board. A couple of years later, I had to add classical ballet in order to compete, but it took me until high school that I really started loving ballet since my body wasn’t naturally built for it and I had to work really hard at it, but it eventually paid off. I competed in numerous dance competitions from my childhood to my early twenties and won a lot of prizes as well, although I was always more into the dance theatre and performance part than the competition thing.

I eventually went to college and got my master’s in Financial Management and Public Sector Accounting and worked in the financial field as an analyst among other jobs while I was also teaching at a university and beginning my PhD studies in accounting while also competing in dance, performing in musical theatre and cabaret shows and dancing for a TV show, so my schedule was pretty full. The only thing I wasn’t loving was the reality of being a researcher. I had absolutely loved writing my master’s thesis, but I didn’t find the same joy when doing research for my first professional articles, so after some consideration, I decided to leave the academics behind and pursue a life as a full-time international artist.

I got accepted to a professional dancer program in Copenhagen, Denmark, so I left everything behind and eventually even sold my apartment in Finland. Part of the dance program was held in Los Angeles and while we were there, I auditioned for American Musical & Dramatic Academy for their integrated musical theatre conservatory program and got in. I started the program in New York and graduated in Los Angeles. Since then, I’ve been a part of numerous exciting projects: theatre shows, short films, movies, dance theatre and other multimedia productions, for example. Besides Los Angeles, I’ve been performing in Las Vegas, Philadelphia and lately at the Lincoln Center in New York, where we performed excerpts from “The Tap Dance Widows Club” with Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers among with the full production of “The Jewish Child’s Story” at the Alvin Ailey Citygroup Theatre. In “Widows” my character is one of the ghosts and in “Jewish Child” I play Moses’ sister Miriam from the Bible and one of the Jewish women during the holocaust.

This last December was also really fun for me. I got in America’s largest theatre company called American Immersion Theatre and did five shows with them including “Midnight at the Masquerade”, “Most Wonderful Crime of the Year” and “Of Sound Mind and Dead Body”. One of my personal favorite characters to play was this obnoxious Russian prima ballerina called Melissa Melissa. She was one of the critical characters in “Most Wonderful Crime” and I got to play her in three of the shows which was so much fun!

Another one of my most memorable performing experiences from 2019 was when Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers celebrated 40th anniversary with almost a week-long residence at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in East Hollywood. We performed full productions of “The Patchwork Girl of Oz”, “The Tennis Dances” and “Jewish Child Story” and I was in every single one of the eight full-length performances we did. During the weekend performances, I played probably like nine or ten different characters in one day with a lot of quick changes and I absolutely loved the thrill of live performances. Our company also does a lot of educational work, so in couple of the shows we also had some of our elementary students to perform with us in the schools that we taught in that fall within the LAUSD district. The kids had such a blast and it was a true treat for them to be able to perform with professionals in a big theatre!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Haha, definitely not! The life of an artist is not easy and from my own experience I wouldn’t recommend this life for anyone unless it’s the only thing you really want to do in life and you absolutely have no plan B or you’ve already lived out your plan B and found out that this is really the only thing you want to do during this life. There are some incredible highs, but also some really difficult low points during which most people give up. They say that it’s incredibly hard to be an actor and from my personal experience, I’d say that it’s ten times harder than I would have ever imagined. But I’d still probably wouldn’t change a thing since that’s how much I love being an actor and an artist. The hardest thing for me personally has been to accept that the industry is not fair what comes to talent. It’s not always the best people that end up getting the roles on TV and film, it’s the people who know the right people. This whole industry is built on relationships. You can be so incredibly talented, but if you won’t get in front of the right people, you won’t have a career. You also can’t base your identity in what you do as an actor, even when you get really successful, because this industry is so ruthless, that it’s going to eat you alive unless you have really strong values and are not afraid to put your foot down. My identity comes from my faith in God and not from any failure or success as an actor. It’s been a really successful route in securing that the industry won’t have power over me or define me as a human being regardless of what happens.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As an actor, I usually tend to play the misfits and the villains: strong independent females that oftentimes are also damaged or broken people. I’m so fascinated by complex characters and why people make the choices they make and I guess it comes naturally for me to play misfits since like so many other artists, I’ve felt like I don’t really “fit in” or I’m always “too different” or just think differently from most of the other people around me. People that have previously worked with me have told me that I remind them of Björk or Michelle Williams typewise, which I humbly consider a huge compliment because both of them are such brilliant artists. I guess part of that might come from the fact that I’m an intense and a very physical actor, because of my dance and movement background and cultural heritage (us Scandinavians tend to master the art of darkness…), and you can often recognize the kind of art I really love from my acting.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would change absolutely nothing! I choose my choice.

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Image Credit:

All images by Armond Kinard except for the one from the premiere of the movie “The Refuge” from the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood (photo by Bob Delgadillo)

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