We had the pleasure of interviewing the incredibly talented German actor and singer Emilio Sakraya whom you might know for his roles in Netflix‘s blockbusters Warrior Nun and Tribes of Europa. Besides being an incredible actor, he’s an amazing singer and has many other aspirations in life.
He started acting at the age of nine and started playing guitar, piano, and drums at a very young age too, that’s why he’s so talented in both fields. As he states, he has “always had this passion for art” within himself, and the “urge to create something new”, and he loves to tell stories. That’s why he’s always creating and finding the balance between his two passions.
“I’m just happy to keep telling my stories with the music and the stories of others in movies.”Emilio Sakraya
Even though an actor’s life might not be as glamorous as everyone thinks, Sakraya is grateful for doing what he loves and says that “it’s always worth giving everything”. Acting enables him to see life from different points of view as well as to transport all of us to alternative realities and other worlds, and we are so grateful for that, especially during these rough times.
Q: It is a pleasure chatting with you. I’ve been following you for quite some time now and I love everything you do. The first time I saw you was in the Netflix show Warrior Nun where you play JC, the bad boy with whom Ava, the main character, falls in love with. How did you start acting and what made you do it?
A: Yes, first of all, thank you for having me! Acting has always fascinated me. As a child, I loved Bruce Lee movies and I acted out everything from him. I told my mother when I was a kid that I wanted to be a fan like Brad Bitt. I thought fan meant actor. So, when I was about nine years old, I started acting in front of the camera.
Q: Are acting and music what you always planned to do with your life? Tell us what encouraged you to follow this specific professional career.
A: Yes, definitely! I’ve always had this passion for art in me. I can’t really describe it. But this urge to create something new has always been there. It started with acting, moved on to sports and of course music. The first time I went to an audition I was simply on fire for it.
Q: The daily life of an actor seems really fancy and perfect. How is a common day in your life when you are working?
A: I’m sorry to disappoint you. It’s not all that fancy and perfect. I usually start the day with a workout or I go for a run. Then I get picked up and driven to the set. And then I’m fully concentrated on the set and try to deliver the best for the film and the team. On Tribes of Europa, for example, there were many night shoots. That messes up your whole rhythm. That has little to do with glamour. But in the end, it’s always worth giving everything.
Q: I previously mentioned the show Warrior Nun but I am curious about your previous jobs in movies or TV shows before joining Netflix. Could you mention a couple of your favorite works you’ve done and what’s special about them?
A: Before Warrior Nun, I got to play the lead in the feature film “Cold Feet.” The whole story is about me breaking into a house and getting snowed in there overnight. Normally it is super safe that in the area where we were shooting there is a lot of snow. However, when we started shooting in the winter, there was no snow at all. That really stuck in my mind. I also loved the work on “4 Blocks”.
Q: Another blockbuster you are part of is the Netflix show named Tribes of Europa. How was your experience working in this superb masterpiece and bringing to life the character Kiano?
A: First of all, I was really happy when I was offered the role of Kiano. In Germany, you don’t often get the opportunity to take on a sci-fi project of this magnitude. It was a great experience to develop Kiano. First, he is a simple boy from the forest, who loses everything from one second to the next and fights only for survival. So, Kiano was really a challenge and it also took a lot of strength, both physically and mentally.
Q: There must be a lot of anecdotes and funny stories on set and during the filming of these incredible shows. What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you?
A: In fact, I put myself completely into the role, so there wasn’t really any room for it. Kiano goes through so much and that didn’t let me go even after a day of shooting. But we had a few days of shooting in South Africa and that was actually very nice there. That was the first time on this shoot that I didn’t have to freeze. My costume wasn’t exactly suitable for freezing temperatures. Sometimes I had to shoot combat scenes in the water at sub-zero temperatures. So South Africa was really nice.
Q: What do you love most about your acting job? What keeps you doing what you love?
A: Even though it sounds very cliché, I love slipping into other roles, taking on another point of view and of course telling stories that take the audience into another world. Just like Bruce Lee took me into a completely different world. That’s what I love about acting.
Q: Besides acting, you are also a musician. I’ve listened to some of your songs such as Find Ich Dich and I sense a really cool vibe. What are your main goals in the music industry?
A: Thank you! “Find ich dich” is one of my favorite songs. I just love making music because it’s the perfect balance to acting. In music, I don’t play any role. I am just Emilio and tell my own personal stories. And music has always been a part of my life. I started playing guitar, piano and drums at an early age and it helped to express myself.
Q: How do you plan your future career both in music and acting?
A: There will always be both. When I’m done with a film, I look forward to the music and the same the other way around. I try to find a good balance between music and acting. I’m just happy to keep telling my stories with the music and the stories of others in movies.
Q: Name five things that make you who you are and three things people say about you when they first meet you.
A: Five things that make me who I am: my family, pizza, positive thinking, faith in me, and never giving up; three things people say about me when they first meet me: funny, good smelling, and always humble.
Q: Besides music and acting, what other hobbies do you have?
A: I started my own fashion label Sakraya during the first lockdown in Germany. Little by little I release clothes there. Always in small editions. I just love to create stuff and hope it grows over the next years.
Q: As a final question, I always like to ask for advice from professionals in this industry and any creative industry. There are so many people reading us that want to pursue a creative career but they feel discouraged because of the toughness of the journey or because of anything related. What piece of advice would you give them?
A: Honestly – believe in yourself. There are so many people who will tell you what you can’t do. That’s why surround yourself with people who push you and give you courage. Never let them make you feel small. Do what you think is right and go your own way.
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