Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dutch actress Manouk van der Meulen ´´The Double Debut of the New Audrey Hepburn´´

I want to introduce to you my beautiful friend who lives in the Netherlands.  She is a wonderful actress who I first met in London.  My boyfriend and I traveled from London to France with Tony and Manouk.  They are great people, positive, warm and have a great sense of humor!  It was a great trip full of good memories and laughter.  When I first met Manouk several years ago I told her she looked just like Audrey Hepburn.  I'm not the only one who thinks so.  She is beautiful, youthful and full of life.  She is my guest artist and I have asked her to write a story for us.  Thank you Manouk for your contribution - Kathy McCartney   

video


Dutch actress Manouk van der Meulen ´´The Double Debut of the New Audrey Hepburn´´

Actress Manouk van der Meulen
Photographer
Gerard de Haan
Actress Manouk van der Meulen
Photographer
Gerard de Haan
My parents often recall how dramatic and intense I was as a child, like the famous French actress Sarah Bernardt from the 19th century. I would throw myself on the floor and cry my eyes out whenever my two brothers destroyed something that was precious to me.  And how quickly I could change moods; a moment later I was happily dancing around the room, blissful and eager to bring joy to everybody. I was like a big emotional painting with diversity of colours that needed to be expressed. O, sweet childhood memories! There was a wild willow in our back garden where I climbed to sit on a branch, here I could quietly dream of life mysteries; by watching the bees and the butterflies busy in the golden chain tree I was tempted and impatient to fly away, far away.

Actress Manouk van der Meulen
Photographer
Gerard de Haan
Actress Manouk van der Meulen
Photographer
Gerard de Haan
Our house was always full of music. The gift of musicality was running through our blood; my aunt was a talented classical singer and the brother of my grandfather a famous composer. As a result my brothers and I went into music and performing arts as a natural flowing river, nice and easy. To play, to fantasize, to sing silly and sad stories behind the piano, the excitement to do a ballet performances on my point shoes at Christmas Eve, it was my daily bread and butter. A born actress? Is that what I always wanted to do? No, not really. I wanted to save the world, help poor people in Africa and Bangladesh.  On my birthdays I asked for dolls in all sorts of sizes and colours, black, yellow, white, men and women and created a family of harmony in the corner of my bed. At least that might explain in retrospect my dedication today of practicing the Buddhist of Nichiren Daishonin, a wonderful philosophy of humanity.

The desire to be creative, self-expressed and be with people was consistent, even in my lonely years when I started to become an insecure and introvert adolescent.  I was asked to be in our school play which I forcefully rejected. I was more occupied with missing my boyfriend, who with his Jewish background, went away out of the blue for a year Kibbutz in Israel, and left me heartbroken. When high school was almost done I had to make a choice.  I had no clue what to do next with my life.  But acting was looming, whispering, seducing me slowly, step by step it picked me up, and in the end I was more than happy to take the ride.
I remember how I worked in the local cinema to earn some extra pocket money, and how I was able to see all those beautiful movies. A colleague at work asked me if I was interested in being ‘’an extra’’ in a Dutch movie, and I said yes. The cameraman took a long close up and delivered me as a virgin to the big screen. Soon after, I was approached to do a music video and my appetite for acting grew.  I decided to join the theatre school in Antwerp, Belgium. Still young at the age of eighteen I felt restless.  At the end of the year I left with permission of the school ´´to explore the world´´ before continuing the rest of my education. Back in Amsterdam, I immediately received an offer for a main part in a feature film. A second part came while the first one was still in the editing room. I was launched in the newspapers as ´´The Double Debut of the New Audrey Hepburn´´.

It was an exciting period, but frightening. Things went quick and I didn’t have a solid base or a good agent who could guide and protect me. Nevertheless I did the publicity with amazing maturity; covers on magazines, newspapers, talk shows, and radio interviews. In the years which followed I attended many workshops and had the opportunity to build a reputation as a well-rounded actress working in Film, TV, on stage, presenting programs, doing voice over work, and modelling.  My desire to work abroad and ‘’fly away’’ was growing, and when I fell in love with an Englishman I decided to move in 1996 to London. Unfortunately the relationship didn't last, but I got myself an agent and soon I was appearing in some BBC series like ‘’Touch of Frost’’ and ‘’Close Relations’’.

London, this dynamic world city was wonderful and terribly lonely at the same time. No, it was not glamorous. I had to take silly jobs to pay the rent for a lousy little flat. It was at times very painful, but I courageously polished the diamond to become more and more me. It was obvious that I had be on this journey and leave safe Holland to awaken to my full potential. Slowly things got better; I wrote my experiences down in the column ‘’London Calling’’ for one of the biggest Dutch newspapers ‘’Het Algemeen Dagblad’’, I then went off to live in LA for three months with a writing assignment in my pocket, I followed many communication and self-development workshops.  And most importantly, I fell in love again. During the shoot of a short film ‘The Dog of Thessaloni’ I met my Swedish husband Tony. We settled in Sweden for a while where I learned the language and built a modest acting career. I call Holland, the UK and Sweden my ‘golden triangle’ this is where I live, work, and come back to; again and again. 

Becoming fifty-one this Spring I celebrate life as never before; the love, friendship and appreciation for just being alive. Career wise, my first thirty years was a nice warm up, now I am going to really deliver! So watch me! J

Manouk van der Meulen
http://www.manoukvandermeulen.com/