Turned toward the sun ─

Gaia Weiss, Actress & Producer

I met Gaia backstage at a modeling job in Paris many moons ago. After the job we ended up bumping into each other on the metro and chatted some more. I told her that I was Canadian and she told me that she was from Paris and was living at home with her family, in a neighborhood not too far from where I lived. In that short commute we got to know each other I felt I had made a genuine new friend. Before she hopped off at her stop she wrote down her # and said to call me if I needed anything in her hometown. A few days later it turned out I would be in need of a friend. Long story short I had a roommate who fled the apartment (that was rented in her name), shut off the gas, power, and hot water in our apartment in the middle of the winter. So I slept in my winter coat and showed up to a fashion show with sopping wet cold hair, and blue lips after taking a cold shower. While I went to work my mom spent hours on the phone with the gas and power company trying to find a way to pay the bill but because it was all in my roommates name she had no luck. Then I remembered I had a friend I could call and without hesitation Gaia invited me to come and stay at her house with her family. Her Mom, Dad, and brother welcomed me in as if I was their new Canadian foster child, fed me delicious french meals and gave me the tender loving care I was very much in need of until I could find a new apartment. Gaia and I would stay up all night telling stories, and laughing until we cried. Ever since that time we have only seen each other once in LA for dinner, but we have remained distant soul sisters, always checking in, forever connected and bonded. Since then Gaia has been acting up a storm in Medici: Masters of Florence, Outlander, Vikings, Overdrive, The Legend of Hercules, Mary Queen of Scots, and Judy. I caught up with her to chat about the highs and lows of her journey, her production company and creative process, as well as some of her wellness rituals...
T. When we first met you were modeling as well as doing theatre classes and I remember you talking about acting. Can you tell us a bit about your story of how you started acting and what your trajectory has been like? 

G. My love for stage started a couple of years before we met, when I was a ballerina, and has never left me since.

I’ve always loved the adrenaline rush before coming on stage, slipping into the skin of my character, forgetting everything besides the story I need to tell, and the freedom I experience during each performance.

I was tempted to go to political school (what was expected of me) but I decided against it and applied to drama school instead. My choice wasn’t approved by everyone in the family and I had to earn a bit of money with modelling to finance my studies.

This was the first decision I made following my gut instinct.

Deciding to pursue an artistic career isn’t going to be easy. Wether you like it or not, you depend on other people’s opinion of you, facing rejection becomes part of your every day life, and you most likely never know what tomorrow will be made of.

I was very fortunate to meet brilliant people along the way, mentors who helped me when I was seeking guidance.

 I don’t like to speak of highs and lows. There were times when I worked less, but these were times when my heart truly opened, I learned to align with my higher self, I met incredible human beings, and developed long lasting relationships. These were times I nourished myself.

As actors we are interpreting life on screen, on stage, and the best way to improve your performance is to live, and accumulate life experiences, for them to be available to you when you need it in your craft.

An artistic career can be mentally challenging, you live at the margins of society, people try to impose their vision of success on you, not quite understanding what you do, and why on earth you do it. You’re torn between the desire to express your creativity as freely as possible and the need to please people in order for your work to be seen and reach a large audience.
Building mental strength and remaining sane is an everyday job, and will probably owe you a successful career in the end. I find that by staying in the light and nourishing my positive side I’ve always attracted the things I wished for.

T. You have started a production company...can you tell us a little bit about the kind of projects you are working on or want to create? 

G. We actors, directors, playwrights are storytellers. Some of these stories aim at raising awareness on a subject, serve as a way to remember events from the past that should never be forgotten, celebrate the great men/women who helped forge history, or simply spread some light in the world. These are the kind of projects you’re gonna see emerging from Atman production.

T. Do you have any creative rituals you like to do in preparation for an acting job or while you are filmmaking? 
G. I discovered the benefits of meditation two years ago when I was working in Los Angeles. Taking the habit of reconnecting to my breath and clearing my thoughts for a couple of minutes a day helps me ground myself, be more efficient and know precisely what I want. 
Knowing precisely what I wanted wasn’t easy at first. Everything was blurry, vague and a bit confused in my head. I started by doing a vision board every time it was my birthday. In the form of a mood board or as a letter to myself. I keep it close to me during the whole year, that way I’m reminded of my goals. At the start of the new year I always have a look at it, and usually notice that I’ve achieved most of the dreams I have put on the paper. It’s absolutely incredible.
T. You travel a lot, do you have any wellness rituals you practice on the road to help keep you feeling centered? 

G. The road feels like home now, it’s just another opportunity for me to read, work on scripts or lines, and write without being disturbed by my phone. If I’m about to go on a long flight I will pack face wipes, a good moisturiser or serum, like Galenic Chrono Active Aqua gel, Skin Food by Weleda or Creme de la Mer to stay hydrated, Neil’s yard organic defence hand spray, my headphones and a good book.

My morning routine is to start the day early with half a lemon squeezed into some hot water, then do a bit of yoga or stretches, shower, eat a healthy breakfast, 10 min meditation and 15 min Hebrew (the only way to improve in something is to practice it every day).

My night routine is to wash my face, apply my moisturising cream, go over my lines, and read a bit before falling asleep. I really try not to look at my phone for an hour before bed (I rarely succeed but it’s my next goal).

T. What is your favorite way to exercise and get your body moving? 
G. Keeping a routine that is compatible with my nomadic lifestyle and practicing a physical activity helps me immensely remaining focused. I do yoga and martial arts, the yin and yang. I recently discovered an amazing yoga studio in Paris called Kshanti near St Germain, for me it’s the perfect balance between the physical and spiritual side of yoga. Catalina Denis, the woman who created this space, will elevate your practice to another level.
T. What is one piece of advice you would tell your younger self?

 G. Fear less, trust life more. 

 But I also know that this anxiety to do well is also my driving force. I just need to keep it under control. We all have a part of darkness within us, it’s important to acknowledge it and not try to eradicate it at all cost (is that even possible?) but instead learn how to live with it and contain it so it doesn’t take over our lives and make us miserable.

T. Any words you are currently trying to live by?
G. As much as possible I try to live in the present moment and make sure I’m ready to receive everything life has to offer.
T. What are you reading right now?

G. I’m currently reading the correspondance between Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo. As well as a magnificent painter, he had a gift for writing.

T. What are your beauty must haves? 

G. I’m all about taking care of my skin to show it in it’s most natural form.

These are my favorites:

Skin Food by Weleda

Thickening tonic hair spray by Aveda

Drying Lotion by Mario Badescu (to get rid of pimples over night)

The Concentrate by La Mer

Face wash by La mer

Exfoliating powder by Galenic

Pink Clay and Aloe vera mask by Cattier

Burts Bees lip balm

Rosy blush cream by Galenic

Organic Defence hand spray by Neil’s yard remedies

Dr. Hauschka Hydrating Hand Cream

And I’m obsessed with the balancing pure fume mist collection by Aveda, you’ve got one for each Chakra.

 

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