All posts by Victoria Sayeg

Indian actress Natasha Khan Mayet wows International Audiences

Natasha Khan Mayet
Actress Natasha Khan Mayet shot by Melissa Simpson

Natasha Khan Mayet has always been driven to perform, but her refined and natural talents in acting leave a lasting and notable impression among audiences everywhere. From film to television to commercials and even on the stage, Mayet takes on a wide variety of characters, challenging herself and constantly proving her flexibility and skill. This, coupled with unduplicatable charisma and unparalleled beauty, make Mayet a highly sought after actress in the industry.

A native of South Africa born to parents from East India, Mayet has become known for her performances in the films “Trafficked,” “11:11,” “Three Suspects” and many more. Her work on the stage is equally as dazzling. She made a distinct mark in the eyes of audiences in Los Angeles when she took on the starring role of the Indian goddess Kali in the play “The Desperate Yogi,” presented at the prestigious Hollywood Fringe Festival. The story revolves around a man who has contracted HIV and travels to India to become a yoga instructor.

“I think this role challenged me as I discovered elements of the mother goddess in myself,” Mayet recalls.

“The Desperate Yogi” was chosen among Frontier Magazine’s favorite LBGT productions. In the play, the man gets to India and is met by gods and goddesses, who influence his path to finding the answers he is looking for. The play received raving reviews from audience members, who especially praised the performances of the deities. While it is understood that every show is, to a certain extent, an ensemble piece, it is undoubtedly in large part because of Mayet’s sincerity and believability as the two female goddesses, the mother goddess and the goddess of love, that the play was met with such success.

A robust and fruitful career in the industry has allowed Mayet to work with incredibly talented and renowned individuals. Natasha plays a critical role in the film “11:11” produced by internationally acclaimed producer and director Roxy Shih (“Dark Web,” “The Tribe”). She was cast in James Franco’s (“Pineapple Express,” “Spiderman”) “Mother May I Sleep with Danger” alongside celebrities such as Tori Spelling (“Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Scary Movie 2”). She can be seen in actor and rapper Machine Gun Kelly’s (“Nerve,” “Why Him”) music video “A Little More.”

Mayet says, “The music video is a comment on how obsessed with social media society has become.” She has also been directed by Ben Affleck in “Live by Night” and can be seen alongside Emmy Award winning actress Sarah Michelle Gellar (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer”) in one of ProActive’s current nationally airing commercials.

Speaking of Vampires, Mayet stars in the upcoming series “Vampire Academy,” where she plays Moira Ozera, an older vampire queen. In the series, Ozera plays the mother of acclaimed actor Justin David. Interestingly enough, Mayet had worked with David before, this time playing his love interest in Andrea Guzman’s “My Father’s Way.”

“That is the beauty of acting!” Mayet laughs, “And, since I am constantly working on my craft, training, and honing my skills, it is impossible for me to spend a day where I am not acting! Sometimes you play the girl next door, sometimes you play the villain. Sometimes you play up your age, and sometimes you play it down, but it all allows me to explore the different aspects of myself, to grow, and to constantly evolve.”

Mayet, highly intelligent and fluent in five languages, aspires to write and direct her own feature films. Until then, she is assisting other motivated filmmakers by acting in their projects. Mayet just wrapped filming the season “Office Girls,” a show based on Sylvester Steven’s novel of the same name, which stars a predominantly female cast.

“My character is Tazzy Lin, a meek character who is in charge of running things in the office,” Mayet explains. “I usually only choose to work on a project if it tells a story that is in some way important and conveys a message, and Tazzy, although meek on the surface, emerges as a strong woman with a story to tell as the series unfolds.”

Part of what makes one actor stand out from the rest is their dedication to their craft, and, in this field, Mayet absolutely shines.

“I live, breathe, and sleep acting,” Mayet admits. “I constantly feel like I need to be creating.

 

It is her pure love and commitment, along with her extensive training and, maybe most importantly, raw and natural talent which one simply cannot learn, that makes Mayet an actress to be talked about for many years to come.

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Unstoppable Actress Karen Mitchell Makes Her Name Known Across Continents

Karen Mitchell
Karen Mitchell shot by Simon Watts

 

In what is easily one of the most competitive industries in the world, actress Karen Mitchell has managed to set herself apart from the pack through her unmistakable originality and the intuitive approach she takes in order to bring characters to life. With a deep reverence for authentic storytelling, Mitchell conveys characters both dark and light, lending herself entirely to the process and doing proper justice to both the role and the story.

Originally from Melbourne, Australlia, Mitchell’s love for acting began during childhood. The daughter of a professional dancer, Mitchell began dancing at the age of 3, and that is when her passion for performing began to flourish. She went on to attend the Victorian College of Arts School of Dance, and, while she developed a successful career in business and real estate soon after graduation, she continued to nurture her love for the performing arts.

Already equipped with years of professional training and a natural propensity for captivating audiences, Mitchell decided to lean entirely into her passion for acting a little over a decade ago, quickly booking jobs that undisputedly validated that she was on the right path.

Mitchell admits, “It’s such a rewarding experience to give life to words off a page that an audience can appreciate. I strongly believe that it’s the best way for me to do service to others: serving a story by using my feelings and my understanding of what it means to be human.”

While she works extensively in both TV and film, some of Mitchell’s most unforgettable work can be seen on major network television. Her performances in series such as “Behind Mansion Walls,” “Deadly Women,” “Facing Evil,” “Atomic Kingdom,” “It’s a Dole Life” and many more have definitely struck a chord with audiences– so much so that international fans continually reach out to her to comment on her work.

 

facing-evil
Karen Mitchell as Twila Busby in the series “Facing Evil”

 

One such project that has brought her quite a bit of attention was the TV series “Nameless: Blood and Chains” where she stars alongside Dean Krywood from the films “Airlock,” “Damaged” and “Felony,” and Craig Walker from the multi-award winning film “Drown,” “In the Darkness” and “Rags.”

In the series five strangers, who are mysteriously linked together by their individual pasts, come together to forge an alliance in preparation for an impending war, with Mitchell giving a riveting portrayal as Catherine, a Queen-like character who oversees the war.

The actress admits, “People have been really supportive of my role in ‘Nameless: Blood and Chains,’ fans from all over the world, even in Serbia and South America, write to me on Twitter and Facebook and send letters to my managers saying how much they want to see more of me and how I should be on ‘Game of Thrones.’ I’m really grateful to generate such an enthusiastic fan response.”

One role where we really get to see the depth of Mitchell craft is through her macabre portrayal of Tracey Grissom in Investigation Discovery’s “Deadly Women,” where her performance is as complex as it is compelling. Since the series revolves around crimes committed by real people, a great amount of research was required to take on the critical role.  

“It was tricky balancing my understanding of the horrible crimes Tracey committed in real life so that I didn’t judge her,” Mitchell recalls, “It was important to me to play her character truthfully.”

While Mitchell was initially apprehensive about playing the part of a woman who’d murdered her allegedly abusive husband, she quickly came around to the idea. She recalls, “Ultimately, I felt compelled to be a part of the story so I could help shed light on such a controversial social issue.”

Mitchell, who has become increasingly well known for her dramatic performances both in Australia and abroad, has a brilliant comedic side to her as well. She put her flair for comedy on display when she took on the lead role of Megan, the love interest of Australian legend and Logie Award nominee Andrew O’Keefe (“Hamish & Andy,” “Big Bite”), in the laugh out loud series “It’s a Dole Life.” With the rare freedom to explore this tongue-and-cheek style on Australian television, Mitchell brings laughter to her fans with her impeccable timing, wit and unmistakable charisma.

Admittedly, comedy is one of Mitchell’s favorite category of work. She explains, “I’ve always been asked to employ my own unique personality into the [comedic] role, and that’s what audiences and critics respond to, being me! It’s funny how easy it might sound but it’s very difficult being yourself, being loyal to the script and making it all work together so that people laugh.”

While her intelligence, commitment and bravery have captivated audiences around the world, her dazzling beauty has helped make her a force to be reckoned with as a commercial actress as well. She has been the face of commercials for many companies including Coles, Lowes, Shark Sonic Duo and Commonwealth Bank.

Mitchell says that she is honored to be associated with so many successful companies. “People have always been so nice when they associate me with a brand,” she admits. “And, as I always choose to work with companies who share similar values to my own, I like to think it makes people think that they know me on a personal level.”  

Most recently, Mitchell shot a campaign for Channel 9, Australia’s number one network. Mitchell cannot help but share herself and her heart with whatever project she works on, and her genuine approach transfers effortlessly across the screen leaving a lasting impression on viewers.

Able to handle any role thrown her way, Mitchell brings grace and a personal, relatable touch to all the strong female characters she takes on. Her ability to deliver positive and impactful performances, which are as necessary as they are beneficial to modern audiences, keeps viewers across the globe looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

“I’m really passionate about making sure people embrace the positive aspects of life, and so I’m always conscious not to propagate harmful values by portraying people in a way that could be construed as endorsing their amoral behavior,” Mitchell explains. “That being said, sometimes playing antagonists and women who have committed crimes is a great way to draw attention to the world’s injustices.”

Film Review: “Dying to Live”

dying-to-live-cover
Poster for “Dying to Live”

 

Director Ilya Rozhkov astounds again with his latest brilliantly executed film, Dying to Live, which was chosen as an Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival’s Court Metrage, as well as by the Manhattan Film Festival where it was nominated for Best Dramatic Short and the USA Film Festival Int’l Short Film Competition where it was the Runner Up for the Best Short Film Award.

The visceral story follows a young man, Jesse, on the day he learns of his terminal illness, and takes us on a journey that is somehow both deeply tragic, and, yet, joyously light.

The film opens at Jesse’s miserable workplace, a car lot, as he watches his co worker and love interest, Anne, proudly exit after she quits her job to travel to Paris. Played by the engagingly talented and strikingly beautiful Tammy-Anne Fortuin, Anne tries to convince Jesse to quit and come along. “We’re about to hit our 30s,” she argues. “If not now, when?” Bound by subtle and relatable hints of fear, Jesse obediently returns to work, only to lose consciousness in the breakroom shortly thereafter.

With exceptional attention to detail, the film takes us down the fluorescent hallways of the hospital and into a small office where Jesse is faced with his diagnosis for the first time. It is in this scene where any hope on Jesse’s face is shattered.  Actor Aleksander Ristic brings Jesse to life, really, during his confrontation with death, making the scene both too long, and not long enough.

Jesse is carted off to a shared room where he meets his roommate, George, played by actor John Colton (The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives, Tosh.0)  An older man with a heart condition, George convinces an emotional and angry Jesse to live it up a little, and together, with the help of a bottle of booze hidden in a cut-out bible, they share moments of true happiness and an unlikely friendship on the roof of the hospital. This is where the cinematography of the film really shines, with everything in stillness, and faces hiding in just the right amount of shadow.

The next morning, when Jesse’s boss calls, he does what he’s always wanted to do: he quits over the phone. Jesse and George celebrate in a moment of real and genuine surprise and limitlessness when a nurse walks in, bringing the gravity of the situation back to earth. Rozhkov does an outstanding job bringing emotions up and down, without bruising the viewer. His sense of timing, and his ability to mix the perfect cocktail of comedy and depth, is simply not teachable.

Since Dying to Live is full of little twists and turns that bring what could be cliche into a category original and creative, we learn next that, during a medical scan, George has taken Jesse’s phone and text messaged Anne, saying he’d be over later that night. Unable to simply stroll out of the hospital on their own, George and Jesse make a casual exit dressed as doctors. They are chased out by an angry nurse when George clutches his chest and falls to the ground. Jesse speeds off to meet Anne in George’s old red Mustang, and as soon as the screeching tires are out of sight, George opens his eyes, smiles, and asks if Jesse got away.  George’s laughter takes the viewer through the credits.

The use of music throughout the film is chill-worthy, and producer Jainardhan Sathyan, along with Radhika Womack, do a noteworthy job ensuring the film stands as one cohesive project. Every setting is perfectly staged, every word is ideally written and delivered, and the overall concept is clear and powerful. The story, told with wit and grace, is an important one, and Sathyan makes sure it is told in the best way possible. The viewer is left with room to write the rest of the story, so to speak, all while feeling entirely satisfied with the story as told.

Such a topic of life and death can be hard to tackle, but Dying to Live is truly a gift to viewers in that every bit delivers compassion, depth, and humor with every scene, and leaves audiences feeling inspired.