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Meet Sascha Vanderslik

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sascha Vanderslik.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am Australian born and bred and grew up in the theatre. My Mum is an incredible singer (check our her band Organic Joe) and I grew up watching her perform in musicals. I would sit backstage and watch the actors put on their make-up and costumes, completely enthralled by the magic they were creating. Inspired, I would go home and make up my own plays with my toys. Then one day, our small-town theatre company did Little Shop of Horrors and my mind was blown. Seeing that show changed my world and suddenly, I realized how versatile and fun the stage could be. Until that moment, I didn’t realize that shows could be dark, and funny, and dramatic, and quirky all at the same time…kind of like me.

When I was 12, I co-founded a theatre company in my home town. We didn’t have any theatre available for youth (other than musicals) so we made it ourselves. We wrote plays that dealt with issues we felt personally connected to, such as peer pressure and drugs. We toured these plays around my home state and performed for school groups and in art festivals. It was my first experience like that and I ATE IT UP. My time with this company was incredibly important and I took what I learned in the years doing shows with them and applied it to my career. For me, the best art will always challenge you while it entertains you.

At age 14, I was introduced to screen acting when my Step-Mum signed me up for a summer intensive in the city. I had just moved in with her and my Dad and they were incredibly supportive of my dreams. That intensive at Screen Actors Australia changed my life and that studio became my second home for almost ten years. I grew so much as a person and performer and made long-lasting friendships with like-minded artists. In 2009, I came to LA for the first time to study at Stella Adler. I loved every second. For the first time in my artistic career, I wasn’t looked down on for wanting to be an actor. In Australia, saying “I’m an actor” was always followed by the question, “But what do you really do?” or “Thats nice, what’s your backup?” The industry here in the States is so different and being an actor its actually treated as an attainable goal. So when I returned to Australia and my agent suggested I enter the Green Card Lottery, I followed her advice. Cut to me winning, packing up my life, and moving to LA in 2011.

These past nine years in LA have been a rollercoaster of emotions, successes, and failures. I am not the person I was when I moved here and I am incredibly grateful for that. Since moving here I’ve worked in film and tv, and in the last few years I’ve returned to my first love; Theatre. For me, there is no greater adrenaline rush than performing on stage. In the last couple of years, I’ve been performing with The Group Rep in North Hollywood and was recently voted on to their Board of Directors as the 2nd Vice President. This has been an interesting year and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my story.

Has it been a smooth road?
Definitely not. As I mentioned above, this has been a rollercoaster ride. I spent the first few years in LA just trying to stay afloat and keep a roof over my head. The culture shock with wages here in the States compared to Australia was a lot to get used to and sadly, my acting career took some hits. There is a balancing act you have to do in LA when it comes to surviving and following your dreams, and that balancing act can be incredibly hard to sustain. It took time and sacrifice but I got there. This industry is never easy but for me all the struggles have been worth it because they made grow as a person and a performer. I’m a much stronger actor now than I was before I moved to LA. I think if this road had been smooth and easy then I wouldn’t be in the position I am right now with such incredible opportunities ahead of me.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
This year I branched out and started producing. It has been a fun learning experience. Working on a different side of the process has been incredibly eye-opening and I’ve grown to be even more appreciative of how hard everyone works at every level. I just finished producing the first virtual play festival for The Group Rep and I’m really proud of it. This year has been challenging and the fate of theatre is unknown, so it felt wonderful to get these artists together to tell stories again. This year especially, I’ve learned that you have to be able to adapt if you want to survive. My favorite part of producing has been giving people a platform to tell their stories. I love the work that I do and I love being able to elevate the work of other artists. I was also lucky enough to act in one of the plays and am incredibly grateful that I was able to bring that script to life.

I have many projects that are currently on hold because of the pandemic and I’m looking forward to the day we can get them back up on their feet. 2021 is going to be a busy year and I cannot wait!

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I see the industry evolving before my eyes and I love it. We create art to imitate life but for the most part, the shows and movies we watch don’t reflect that. I think this year the industry has been forced to face its shortcomings and inequalities. My hope is that moving forward, you will see a much more inclusive industry that is truly representative of the world we live in. I think in the next 5-10 years you are going to see a huge change in the film and tv that is produced and the stories that are told. It’s incredibly exciting.

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Image Credit:
Headshots by Joe Funk Photography

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