Interview With Rising US Film Star & Miss Switzerland Nadine Vinzens
"I never wore heels before the Miss Switzerland pageant," Nadine Vinzens tells me from Hollywood over a hissing Skype call that connects to me across world here in the south of France. We don't have our cameras on, but I can picture that stunning face, the "Face of the Universe", and now also as the face of Kaszluv, the Swarovski clad glasses, worn by the likes of LMFAO's Redfoo, Snoop Dog and Paris Hilton.
Of course what makes her story even more remarkable, is that she actually went on to win Miss Switzerland. But being a beauty queen was never on the agenda for this "tomboy skater" chick. It was the intervention of a worried grandmother, concerned about the health consequences of Nadine's "awkward walk" that lead her to seek out a model coach to improve her posture. One thing lead to another, and as fate would have it the girl with the "baggy jeans" was crowned Queen of the land of delectable luxury chocolates, Watches, HNW bank accounts and pristine snowy peaks. However, her rebel spirit certainly remains and shines through.
The key that has been at the heart of this determined young lady, is a deep desire to perform. "From as far as I or anyone in my family can remember I wanted to perform," she postulates in a sweet American accent, "Even before I watched any movies, I used to play by myself in my homemade theatre” In fact Nadine made her screen debut at age seven, when she "acted in a film made by neighbours."
I ask Nadine about her accent. She laughs and says that she puts "a lot more focus on the accent" when acting in English. I can still feel the warm crackles of Swiss-German interlaced in her voice but she has learnt the American accent remarkably well, that it now subconsciously permeates into her day to day conversation. Yet, I remember well when I last saw Nadine, it was at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, she was then just embarking on her journey as a Hollywood actress. Nadine took to the challenge and has certainly pulled through.
I ask Nadine, that after living in America for so long and being previously married to an American punk rocker, if she feels more American than Swiss, she responds quickly and proudly "I am Swiss, I always will be." Yet acknowledges some Americana seeping into her roots. How so, I ask? "For example, when I was in Switzerland this time, I went to pay at the gas station before filling the tank. And the girl behind the counter looked at me all odd, but I insisted that I needed to pay. Then it hit me, where I was, I turned around and noticed this cue of people behind me, they recognised me! I was like oh shit! " She refers to of-course the differing cultural nuance, where in Switzerland you pay for fuel after filling up, whereas in Los Angeles they so considerately ensure that you don't forget to pay, by making you pay up first.
I ask how she came about featuring in the Kasluv Swarovski clad glasses campaign. Once again the story takes us to Europe, "I met the designer Sean Michael at the Cannes Film Festival this year" she explains, "we instantly hit it off. He saw my work and really liked it, he asked if I could be the face of Kaszluv, and I said of course, as I love the glasses!" Indeed it appears that the California based Sean Michael Lukaszewicz has an eye for European jewels. First creating a pair of glasses completely encrusted in a plethora of Austrian Swarovski crystals. Lukaszewicz’s metamodern marriage of decadent Rocco and industrial minimal in his glasses, was inspired originally as style accents for the electronic music culture, and festivals such as EDC Las Vegas and White Wonderland.
Selling from a $150 a pair, Kaszluvs are in vogue nowadays with the likes of Redfoo, Paris Hilton and Chloe Simms, seen recently donning a pair. So it is of no surprise that Michael Lukaszewicz would want to adorn his campaign by recruiting a neighbouring Swiss jewel, Nadine Vinzens. "Yes, Cannes was great for me, and I have another film and a cosmetics line I will be working with soon but I am not allowed to say anything at the moment," She tells me with an electric excitement yet all the secrecy of a Swiss bank, I realise any attempts to get her to spill individual’s data will be futile and so I move on. How about the parties, the parties at Cannes are amazing, no? "No, I didn't go to any parties," states Nadine "I was too focused on work, and promoting my new film."
I ask Nadine about one of my favorite films, that she starred in. "Four Senses," directed by Ruediger von Spies, shot in Venice, Italy; Munich, Germany and Savannah, Georgia. Nadine plays Julia, a blind girl who in a car crash loses her family and vision. Julia is then subsequently forced to perform and sing at a strip club. What!? I exclaim, Nadine you had to… sing!? "Yes, but I did get some help to record my voice," she says shyly. But seriously what a character, you must have loved it, “Ya, it was something so challenging and beautiful to create.”
Nadine is no newbie to playing challenging characters and giving strong performances, for all her exquisite Swiss beauty she considers herself "a character actor,” and recently received a second nomination for the Prix Walo, the Swiss equivalent of the Oscars for her performance in the film "Mary & Johnny." Nadine also recently performed a successful run on stage in Switzerland and Austria in the play Wie fünf mädchen jämmerlich im Brantwein umkommen by Jeremias Gotthelf.
I ask her what was the biggest challenge in playing the blind girl? Especially, one that falls in love at first sight, and elopes with Abercrombie/Prada model Rusty Joiner (Dodge Ball, Resident Evil)? "You can't respond to anything you see, I had to find love in his voice, touch and smell," she recalls "after he rescues me from the strip club, and is good to me, shows me new experiences, I start liking him more and more. But of course there are obstacles along the way." She tells me that she got so immersed in creating her character's blindness, that at times she "even zoned out, not noticing many things happening on set or around her.”
Nadine appears like, nothing can scare her. Whether it be, taking on Miss Switzerland never having worn heels before, or playing a blind girl on a sense awakening journey.
So I ask her, what is she afraid off? "I am afraid of the dark," she replies in a slower pace, admitting that she sometimes sleeps with the lights on. But why, I thought horror films were your favorite, to which she laughs, "thats probably why! I have watched too many horror films." Her favourite one is the "Shining," I suggest a remake, where she is cast as a female version of the crazed homicidal writer originally played by Jack Nicholson, "Ya, that would be really great," I can hear her smile. So Hollywood beware, "here's Nadine."