Nina Kunzendorf / Louisa
shot in Munich, July 1st, 2015 / published: Aug. 3rd, 2015
Nina, you suggested Prinzregentenplatz in Munich as our meeting point. All this area between Haidhausen and Bogenhausen is pretty much soaked with history. You have the Prinzregenten Theatre, Villa Stuck, the Angel of Peace... When we met more than a year ago, you did not really struck me as the typical Munich girl, but in fact you have grown up right in this neighborhood. What does Munich mean to you? And how did it influence you?
For the past twenty years we have been living in the same street. When we moved, we chose a flat two buildings further down. The first building had a little shop in the basement. It sold beverages and we spend our pocket money on ice cream. Since we moved the owners have changed constantly. From a lingerie boutique, over a lady selling bright evening dresses. Now theres a little bakery making coffee and croissants... Munich is a very pretty town. It probably formed my taste in art and sharpened the perception of my surroundings. But because of all the beauty Munich can seem quiet remote from real life. When I realised we only lived a few steps away from Hitler's former flat I started questioning things and seeing the town with different eyes...
You live in London now, which is in its core so very different from Munich. What had you moving over and how do you feel London has changed you?
Not only my longing for realness and authenticity made me move to London but also the aim to find new inspiration by leaving my familiar cocoon. London widened my horizon and taught me that also ugliness itself can be beautiful.
Theatre has been your passion since you were very little. What are your first memories connected to it? Was it more love at first sight or rather a process?
My first memory connected to theatre is my role as a grasshopper in Mirjam Pressler’s “Die wundersame Reise des kleinen Kröterichs” in primary school. I used to be a rather quiet and shy kid. With acting I suddenly had the chance to hide my insecurity and become someone completely different on stage. What interests me today is the very thought that theatre can turn dull printed written work into something colourful and exciting. Theatre adds sound to an authors ideas and thoughts. Moreover the creation of a certain atmosphere can put our feelings to an extreme test and change them completely within a 120 minute performance...it’s the chaos of emotions that fascinates me!
Some say modeling is a kind of acting. Has your theatre experience helped you in any way as you started to work as a model?
My experiences in theatre definitely helped me when I started modelling as it’s similar in many ways. All the make up and fancy clothes helped me hide my nervousness behind a pretty and confident facade. Modelling sharpened the awareness of my own body and taught me to come out of my shell. Nevertheless I wish I could operate more self-directed in modelling as I can on stage.
Some models try to pursue an acting career. But you went to London to study set design. Why are you choosing a profession behind the scenes, rather than in the spotlight? Or is acting still an option for you?
I decided to study set design as it’s a perfect combination of my interests. I gain my inspiration not only from the theatre but also from people and my surroundings. In addition I constantly get inspired by music, books, paintings and photographs of all kinds. It was a big step to decide to put modelling aside to study full time in London but I believe my experiences in modelling helped me to move away from my home town to start something new. And yes...acting is still (deep down) a dream that wishes to be realised one day.
London has a long and prolific theatre tradition, especially when it comes to little and more independent companies. Have you had the chance to explore the London theatre scene so far? Is there anything we should really go and see when visiting?
My favourite theatre at the moment is the Arcola in Dalston. It’s a small, independent theatre in East London, staging a super interesting programme of plays, operas and musicals. They have a great bar and serve delicious food. Every Tuesday visitors can pay as much as they want for a performance...it’s definitely worth a visit!
And then coming back to Germany, we have been talking about Sebastian Schipper's new movie Victoria (2015), which was filmed in one single 140 minutes long take. This made the movie very thrilling, you told me, since playing all in one take made the dialogues much more natural and spontaneous, so that you could almost feel like you were actually there in Berlin with the characters. Personally, I have been looking for such a reality effect in my own work for quite some time now. Is it something you have been experiencing in your work as a model, too? Is there a need for more realistic settings and vibes?
Unfortunately it’s very rare to find bare realness in fashion photography. I have the feeling it’s more about the creation of surreal beauty rather then imperfect authenticity, which is thrilling considering the fact that the real world can be quite austere sometimes. Nevertheless I believe we hide too often from who we actually are. Only a few photographers have the possibilities to work in circumstances which allow a search for realness. I think films like Victoria however show that there is some sort of hunger for purity and authenticity in nowadays art scene...I am excited where this will lead to.