by Sherif Awad
This is actress Noa Zatta,
I’m what gets called an “art child” in Italy; both my parents are involved in some type of artistic career path – although I grew up only with my mother: my father is an opera singer, my mother is an actress, acting coach and director. She really is the reason why it started it all, I guess you could say I was basically raised in a theatre, and breathed art from the very start.
I never really idolized anyone, but I had a lot of respect for quite a few actors, especially from the 1950s. I remember waking up one day when I was about 12 thinking “damn, I really know nothing about Marylin Monroe” to then go on a massive researching spree full of books and documentaries. I was truly obsessed with her for a good few months. The other actors and actresses I really love are definitely Sofia Loren, Tim Curry, Emily Blunt, Vincent Cassel, Salma Hayek, Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, David Tennant… I could go on for a really long time.
I’m a big supporter of the “build yourself” mentality. Talent surely is an incredible kick start, but study and hard work are much more important in my opinion. Generally, I think knowing what exactly to do to become “successful” depends of what artistic branch you want to follow. Unfortunately sometimes creativity is not enough in this industry, you can’t always do just that to earn a living. But the biggest advice I can give to anyone who shares the same passion for the arts as me is: don’t be afraid to dream too big, to be too ambitious. There’s nothing that you can’t really achieve if you put your mind to it. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you to settle and confine yourself, they don’t live in your body and they don’t know how much joy your passion gives you. Don’t lose hope.
I am at a point in my life where stardom doesn’t feel like my ultimate dream anymore. Sure, I wouldn’t mind it, it would give me the chance to spread my messages more, it would give me plenty of opportunities, but my end goal is to do good for my planet and spread true humanity around it. I’m the happiest when an audience likes what I do and finds it useful in even the smallest way, whether it’s a million or a hundred people.
Unfortunately, I was raised in a world where gender-related unfairness and assaults were radically normalized. That absolutely needed change. It feels a bit better now to be a woman the industry, but we definitely still have to work on it, all of us. Everybody deserves a fair chance and everybody deserves the same amount of respect – it’s crazy to me that equality could even be questioned, right? When it comes to my personal experience, of course I learned pretty early that being a woman isn’t as easy as being a man, just like being foreign and having a clear accent in the UK sometimes puts an unwanted label on my forehead. But I did, and still do, love a good challenge.
Italy is so full of incredibly talented people, but unfortunately I’ve never seen any kind of fair support from the system. There’s no meritocracy where I come from, it’s always the same five people that get all the work and the small companies are left to dust. That is the reason why I left, because UK’s industry is more open in this sense. I just wish that Italian creators had the same possibilities as American or British ones.
-I see the casting world as an enormous tree with multiple different branches, which translates to a variety of casting experiences and directors. I consider myself lucky, being brought up by somebody who already knew what professional and serious people were. I worked with several great agencies that helped out as well; nowadays I feel like I have enough knowledge to discern myself and always choose the best option in my interest and in the project’s interest.
-I consider myself a very curious person. I love getting to know all the details about the character I’m about to perform, every thought the director might be having about our work, or all the storylines the production is considering about the project. Subtext, moodboards, inspirations, you name it. After gathering all the info I need, I usually immerse myself fully into the character, living as them, writing a diary as if I was them, and always keeping them in the back of my mind for the time being. I also love improvising a few everyday activities or routines before getting on set.
-It’s quite a difficult question to me to be asked about my greatest achievements , because I have a very specific view on the word “success”. If we’re talking money, views, fame, I’d 100% say my biggest project is, as of today, The Invisible Boy by Gabriele Salvatores. I got to work (twice!) in a proper massive production as one of the main characters, working with an Oscar Winning director, walking on red carpets and wearing fancy dresses. But my proudest creative moment is a much smaller project called Sous L’eau, by Audrey Bersier. There I had the opportunity to show my acting skills in a non filtered environment, without expensive special effects to cover the viewer’s attention but leaving the feeling of an empty room where me and the audience connect on a level I never had the chance to experience before. In my mind, that is what I consider my most successful work.
-I have many hobbies, but none of them are not artistic. I love painting, writing, singing and writing songs, I play the violin, I love directing… I don’t think I could survive a day without art.
-I say to newcomers: find good teachers! A good teacher who believes in you will save your life. Keep yourself grounded, be appreciative of the little things and make sure you’re always having fun in what you do, no matter the path you choose.
-Balancing work and social life is a struggle to everyone, unless you melt the two things together. Luckily for me, almost all my friends do what I do and we support each other in our works. I’m not married, I don’t have children, so I wouldn’t know what to say about living life with proper social responsabilities. But my mother, an actress, raised me on her own by taking me wherever she would go, placing me backstage and eventually on stage too. I had a lot of fun growing up with her, if I was a mother I’d probably do the same!
-I’m actually directing my first short movie. It’s a fairytale set in the 1940s in the English countryside, called “The Ordeal of the Bitter Water”. It’s a collaborative project that involves some english acting students from East15, University of Essex, UK, and some Italian students from NABA in Milan and the University of Parma. We are raising money through a GoFundMe page (gofund.me/9b68abc9), and sharing contents on our work on Facebook (The Ordeal of The Bitter Water) and Instagram (@theordealofthebitterwater).