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Meet Ydalie Turk

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ydalie Turk.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ydalie. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I am a twenty-three-year-old actress, playwright, and director from Johannesburg, South Africa and I’ve been in the arts as far back as I can remember. I started playing the violin when I was five, then the piano and flute, I did ballet and even joined the bottle orchestra (and it doesn’t get more dorky than the bottle orchestra.) However, when I turned ten, my school introduced drama, as a subject, and instantly my priorities shifted.

I’ve focused primarily on theatre- I love every aspect of it- whether it’s acting, writing or directing nothing can quite compare to the exchange of energy that takes place in a theatre. After high school, I went to The University of Cape Town thinking I would study Theatre Making or Performance but the program is small and tough, and I didn’t get in.

Pretty devastated, I shifted my attention to other fields of interest and thought “I can spend four years of life becoming a well rounded human being” and decided to study English literature, Anthropolgy and French and after a year I thought “I can’t spend four years of my life not pursuing the thing that fulfills me most.”

So I did the most rational thing I could think of- packed up and moved to LA. I received a scholarship to attend The New York Film Academy and just graduated with a degree in Acting For Film. Now I’m doing the whole “Working Actor” thing.

Has it been a smooth road?
My experience in South Africa was that when I told people I wanted to be an actor, they’d respond with “But what are you really going to do?” or sometimes they’d say “Well, I guess you can always become a teacher.” Now, absolutely no disrespect to teachers, I value teachers, and I love learning, but I am an actor.

In LA, your uber driver, barista and, I kid you not this really happened, your mailman are all actors… or somehow involved in the industry. Which can be daunting- from either end it seems impossible- back home it’s niche, and in Los Angeles, you’re one in a million all attempting the same feat. However, all that is really just a challenge of perception, idiosyncrasies that will only affect the outcome if you let them.

The biggest challenge really is being far away from home and the people I love. It’s taken a very long time to find a support structure here that feels genuine but still, nothing can fill the void of not having your loved ones nearby, and nothing can quite compare to being a foreigner.

I’ve started wearing my nationality on my sleeve, and I’m accompanied by a melancholy of not fully belonging where I am but also being slightly out of touch with home. Thank God for FaceTime, or I’m not sure I could have done it.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I am a story-teller. Whether that be through acting, playwrighting or directing, I tell stories because I want to resonate with people. I aim to tell human stories that exemplify our commonalities.

As an actress, I am definitely of the dramatic persuasion, but really I am interested in challenging work; I seek out roles that push me to places I didn’t think I was capable of. If I’m afraid to do it, I have to do it.

When it comes to theatre, I cannot shake my South African training, and my interests lie in workshopping pieces that are done Poor Theatre style, mostly very physical, infused with humor and a deep sense of poignancy.

Basically, this means; set, costume, lighting, and props are superfluous, and the meat of production lies in character and story. You strip everything away to convey far more than the ‘superficial’ elements of a show.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is absolutely the place to be for this business, say what you will, but for the film industry at least in the Western World, this is the hub. The experience of this city is so unique, and I do believe that spending a few years here, as an artist, would be invaluable to your career. Especially if you are like me and the business side of things often escapes you, LA will teach you.

That being said, you cannot solely rely on this city, I am grateful for coming from where I have, and I also make it a point to continue traveling throughout The United States, and other parts of the world. LA affords me an abundance of work opportunity, but in order for my work to be of substance, I have to push further than the allure of this crazy town and keep in touch with what’s real.

This is speaking solely on the basis of my field, of course, I know that there is more to this city than “Hollywood.” It is a beautiful sprawl of multi-culturalism and natural beauty, but you have to make an effort of finding it.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Sarah Buchanan

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Emma Mothibi

    January 8, 2019 at 19:23

    Ydalie is a passionate, talented and hard working person. She has great personality and loves people.

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