Nina Rausch: How to make it in Hollywood

Mad Men, Orange is the New Black, NCIS, Californication, April Showers, Wonder Girls and Grey’s Anatomy – German actress Nina Rausch’s showreel reads like a dream. Rausch speaks to Discover Germany about her love for the US, her latest film project and much more.

“According to my mother, already at age four, I announced that I would become an actress,” Rausch smiles, and adds: “That’s why I was a part of multiple theatre performances with the Bietigheim music school at an early age. But I also wanted to become a ballerina, nurse and flight attendant. Then I discovered that there was a way I could become all those things and it solved all my problems.” Since then, Rausch has had a rather exciting life, it’s fair to say.

Born in Baden-Wuerttemberg’s Ingersheim, she was soon attracted to the United States. She ended up spending a year there during her time at school, decided to study drama at the Northern Illinois University, and ended up living in New York for a few years before moving to Los Angeles. Explaining her fascination with the US, the actress says: “The fascination started with the series My So-Called Life when I was 14 or 15. I always wanted to experience the typical American high school and that’s why I decided to become a foreign exchange student. And I’ve always wanted to work in Hollywood – the US simply seemed so big, loud and free to me, which are attributes that often describe myself, too. I saw the opportunity in the US to really express myself how I always wanted to.”

“Home is where I feel good”

Today, the actress’ chosen home is Los Angeles, due to the great weather and the many job prospects she enjoys in the Californian city as an actress. She adds: “But, of course, LA also offers a lot culturally. Even after ten years, I still discover new corners, museums, cafes, parks, mountains for hiking, or leisure-time activities like parasailing or making pottery.”

When asked whether she misses Germany, Rausch says: “I do miss my family and the German culture. And I miss the food, of course, like good cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables and pretzels! But in the end, home is where I feel good, where I can freely evolve and have my friends and family around me. That’s why home isn’t a certain place for me and I have numerous homes.”

“I was rather lucky”

Shortly after moving to New York to study drama, the first roles started to come in for the actress. “At the beginning, I was rather lucky. I walked into many auditions somewhat naïve, without thinking this would be hard. After two years in New York, I already received my SAG card, a card which indicates one’s membership with the actor’s guild, and without which it is quite impossible to work in large productions. After two months in LA, I got a role in Criminal Minds,” Rausch smiles.

Other notable productions she was part of in the past have been Mad Men, the hit-series Orange is the New Black, NCIS, Californication, April Showers, Wonder Girls and Grey’s Anatomy, amongst many others. The actress recalls: “Mad Men was especially exciting since it was my first big TV appearance and the cast was incredible. Because I love historic stories, the costumes and the set were also a dream. Orange is the New Black was outstanding because one, I was able to go back to NY for filming and two, the role itself was something I had never done before and it really stretched me creatively. Playing Amelia Earhart in Timeless was also very impressive because we filmed parts of it in the Universal Studios. I’d always visited as a tourist and being able to film there was simply a huge dream that came true.”

“It was super exciting”

Fans in the DACH region can look forward to Rausch coming back to the domestic TV screens for Wendezeit, a TV film by Sven Bohse. The film is an espionage thriller in which Rausch was able to snatch one of the leading roles. For filming, the actress returned to Berlin, and recalls: “It was so much fun filming in Berlin. So much fun, in fact, that I was thinking about coming back to Germany for a longer period of time. The production was truly phenomenal – from the actors to the director, cameramen or make-up, they all were wonderful to work with.”

As she touched upon before, Rausch loves historic dramas, so Wendezeit which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, truly is just the right fit for the actress. The film is a German-American story between the CIA and East Germany’s Stasi. “It was super exciting being part of this project. We spoke German as well as English and the cast was very international. I was able to learn a lot about German history, as well as about the CIA. Especially exciting was that I had the chance to get to know a former employee from the CIA here in the US, who shared some fascinating details with me. In addition, I worked with a movement and voice coach to help me find the character in my body. As I play a pregnant woman who finds herself in a rather tense situation, I wanted to understand this physically.”

“I’ve never stopped dreaming”

Other projects planned this year are a film which was written and filmed in March by Rausch herself. “We are just sending it off to different film festivals and, additionally, I’m writing a TV series with a colleague which we plan to sell at the end of the year. Another TV role is on the horizon too, but I can’t really reveal too much just yet,” says Rausch.

Asked about which role she would love to play at some point, she answers: “I was so inspired by Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, so I’d love to play a musician some day. I already play the piano and clarinet and have just started taking electric guitar lessons so that I’m ready when the role comes.”

And what other dreams and wishes does she still have? She concludes: “I want to have my own production company with which I can develop exciting TV series and films – in Germany, as well as in the US. That’s why I would also love to have houses in both countries. Another dream is to film a movie in an exotic country like Vietnam or Kenya and I’d like to publish my book of fairytales and would love to own a café which is a home for different artists. Sometimes I think that the little girl in me, who wanted to have four jobs at the same time, never stopped dreaming.”

TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF | PHOTOS: STLZ PHOTOGRAPHY

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