Unveiling the Cinematic Artistry  Journey of Dharma Mangia Woods Unveiling the Cinematic Artistry  Journey of Dharma Mangia Woods Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

Unveiling the Cinematic Artistry  Journey of Dharma Mangia Woods

By Mira Postolache

Unveiling the Cinematic Artistry  Journey of Dharma Mangia Woods Unveiling the Cinematic Artistry  Journey of Dharma Mangia Woods Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Full look by Moschino

In a quaint suburb of Rome, amidst the serene landscapes of Manziana, a young talent was brought into the world on a crisp September day in 1994. Dharma, the daughter of an Italian mother and an Australian father, blossomed in the embrace of nature, nurtured by the tranquility of her surroundings. 

Her formative years were painted with the brushstrokes of passion and curiosity, shaping her into the multifaceted artist she is today. As the sun-kissed days of her childhood unfolded, Dharma embarked on a journey of self-discovery, guided by her unyielding love for the arts. The cobblestone paths of the Dante Alighieri classical high school in Rome bore witness to her ardent pursuits, nurturing her intellect while kindling the flames of her creativity. Fluent in both English and the language of the heart, Dharma found solace in the warmth of storytelling and the allure of the silver screen. With a heart brimming with dreams and a spirit eager for exploration, Dharma delved headfirst into the realm of acting following the tapestries woven by iconic methods and the wisdom of theatrical masters. Immersing herself in the teachings of Stanislavsky Strasberg and the grace of the Lecoq method, she honed her craft with dedication and finesse. The hallowed halls of the Gian Maria Volonté School of Cinematographic Art beckoned to her, offering a stage where her talents could flourish and her aspirations take flight.

A rising star in the firmament of Italian cinema, Dharma’s artistry garnered the attention of renowned directors, each offering her a canvas on which to paint unforgettable performances. From the grandeur of Paolo Sorrentino’s vision to the poignant narratives of Gabriele Muccino, she adorned the silver screen with her presence, leaving an indelible mark with each role she breathed life into.

As the crescendo of her career begins to reach new heights, Dharma’s brilliance shines through in the upcoming Netflix film “Ricchi a tutti costi,” where she illuminates the screen as Alessandra, a testament to her talent and dedication. The chapters of her artistic odyssey continue to unfurl as she ventures into the realm of television with the eagerly anticipated Netflix series “Inganno,” directed by the visionary Pappi Corsicato, where she embodies the enigmatic Giulia, poised to captivate audiences with her nuanced portrayal.

Join us as we peel back the layers of Dharma’s cinematic art, unraveling the threads of her past, present, and future, as she navigates the labyrinth of creativity and grace, leaving an indelible legacy in her wake:

Unveiling the Cinematic Artistry  Journey of Dharma Mangia Woods Unveiling the Cinematic Artistry  Journey of Dharma Mangia Woods Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Full look by Patou

In your journey as an actress, you’ve delved into various acting methods such as Stanislavsky Strasberg and Lecoq. Can you elaborate on how each of these techniques has informed your approach to your craft and the way you inhabit your characters on screen?

I enjoyed and still now I do love studying acting, for me it’s something that should never stop. As a human being you keep growing, so you experience more of life and in the same way, your acting is growing and changing with you. All of the methods I’ve studied have been fundamental for me. I don’t believe in using only one and being stuck on that. I think that the more you study the more you have the possibility of choosing each day and on each character what you need the most. And so you can have your own method which is the combination that works better for you as an actor. It’s like when you grow up and you develop your personality.

As someone who values continual growth, how have you seen your acting evolve from your early roles to more recent projects like “Ricchi a tutti costi” and the upcoming series “Inganno”?

I still struggle a bit with insecurity, so I cannot tell you if I did evolve really in terms of the quality of acting, I also think it is not classy to say to myself I am better than I was.
What I can tell you is that I keep working on my skills, ask myself questions and ask myself to be better each time. I do feel more comfortable on the set and in auditions, that’s for sure. I do understand better what working as an actress means, and, for example, how much you have to be precise while you’re shooting a scene. So in that way, I think I became more confident, at least I know what I’m doing!

If I remember the first time I was on a set, that day was unbelievable because I had no idea of what I was going to do. The only things I had on my side were the things I’d been studying for years, and those helped me a lot. But again, each time is different, and it is also important for me not to be 100% sure of who I am because like that, I can keep learning and still be surprised by myself.

Collaborating with esteemed directors like Paolo Sorrentino and Gabriele Muccino undoubtedly offers unique insights and experiences. Could you share a specific instance where a director’s guidance or vision significantly influenced your performance and perspective as an actress?

Well, I remember when I shot with Paolo Sorrentino. I was very young and just started studying acting, I had been on a set maybe only once before that day.
And he said to me “So are you sure, Dharma? Do you really want to become an actress?”
And I went “YES.”
And he said “Great, then you must study, you have to let this job be your priority. Put yourself into it with no plan B “

I attended three different academies and keep studying even now. So, I can say I did follow his advice! And I am incredibly grateful for what he said to me.

Luckily, I had the chance to work with different directors and human beings and each time it was amazing how they all left me with something new and inspiring. Every time I learn something from them. And it’s something that I really love about this job. And I can’t wait to meet my next director and share a new journey.

Graduating from the Gian Maria Volonté School of Cinematographic Art signifies a pivotal moment in your career. How has the education and mentorship you received at the school shaped your artistic voice and personal philosophy as an actress?

Well, the Gian Maria Volonté especially has been very important for me. The education and guidance I have received have allowed me to hone my artistic voice and develop a personal way as an actress that places authenticity and the pursuit of truth in performance at its core. The teachings I received taught me the importance of listening deeply and responding with sincerity, both on set and in life. School also encouraged me to take creative risks, explore different genres and characters, and not be afraid of failure, because it is through mistakes that we grow and learn.
Last but not least, I met my classmates who have become a second family for me. Being in an industry like this could be particularly challenging if you don’t have a group of people you can count on and can help you through the process of becoming the actress you dream to be.

Your dedication to acting shines through in the diverse range of projects you’ve been involved in, from film to music videos. Can you walk us through your creative process when preparing for roles and how you immerse yourself in different types of storytelling mediums?

As I said before, I don’t have only one way to prepare for a role. It depends on the character. What I understood about myself is that I usually find (often unconsciously) a point in common between me and the character, something that can also be very small but helps me link with them. Could be a side of their personality, or something they love, or also a goal they want to reach. And I don’t know how but they start to live in me.

“Ricchi a tutti costi” presents you in the role of Alessandra, offering a new dimension for audiences to see your talent. How did you approach the complexity of this character, and what aspects of Alessandra’s story resonated with you on a deeper level?

“Ricchi a tutti i costi “ is the second chapter of “ Natale a tutti i costi “. I remember when I auditioned for Alessandra for the first time. I never had the chance to work on comedy before so it was the first time.

I was scared in a way, but then I met Giovanni Bognetti the director, and during the audition, he was laughing at my performance ( cause it had to be funny of course) so I said to myself “Maybe I could do this !”

I think the connection between me and Alessandra is the relationship with anxiety, and also with a normal need to be appreciated by parents and people in general. We both struggle with it. I think it is a common issue in our generation especially.Nowadays it looks like no one can fail, and no one can make a mistake because we must be great, brilliant, and happy. But that is not the reality. And this is what I love about Alessandra, she is not perfect as I am not perfect. As anyone is. She is just human.

As you venture into the world of television with the series “Inganno,” how do you navigate the nuances of character development and storytelling across episodic formats compared to the more condensed nature of films?

It works the same. We never, or quite never, shot in a chronological order. So, what I do is to draw a journey of the character. While I am on the movie set, I perfectly know what happened before and how my character feels etc. it works the same on a series, it’s only maybe more complicated because the number of scenes you play is bigger.

The release of “Ricchi a tutti costi” on Netflix marks a significant moment in your career. How do you feel about the changing landscape of film distribution and the opportunities it provides for actors to engage with global audiences on digital platforms?

I am incredibly grateful for what Ricchi a tutti i Costi gave to me. Seeing people from all over the world write to me saying they enjoyed the movie, is an overwhelming feeling of joy. The industry is changing as the world itself. I do agree with changes as long as they are respectful. Being able to watch shows and movies from all over the world is amazing. I love to discover new genres, new cultures, and new actors. And it is also amazing that we now have the chance to work in other countries. I remember that my dream has always been to become an actress, but, deep down,  my secret is to be able to act in English or another language. Let’s see what life has for me, I’m ready for every challenge.

Your multilingual abilities and cultural background offer a unique perspective in your performances. How do you draw upon your Italian and Australian heritage, as well as your fluency in English, to infuse authenticity and depth into the characters you portray?

Wow, this is a hard one! You know, I don’t know. I’m still learning so much about myself, there are aspects of me that are unknown and it’s ok. Speaking of heritage, I know my Italian side, and I am still trying to connect with that. To know my mother’s side. One step at a time, I’ll be able to know better my Australian one.

When I play, I try to be as honest as I can. That’s what is important and then if my heritage can help the character to develop it is even better! I guess both of these sides are in a way part of my acting but are not conscious so I don’t have an answer for that!

In pursuing your passion for acting, have there been specific roles or genres that have challenged you the most creatively? How do you approach these challenges and what drives you to seek out diverse and demanding characters?

For me, every time is a challenge. And I am happy to surprise myself with those challenges. Even if I could think (as it was for the comedy for example) that I don’t know how to play it, at the end it is all about being present, and reacting with honesty as your character is asking to do. Feel what she’s feeling.

For example, if a character is a real person that existed, I love to go deep into her story and find letters that she wrote to someone. I remember when I played Lietta Pirandello in La Stranezza by Roberto Andò, I was lucky enough to find letters she wrote to her father and that was a magical key to understanding her.

The balance between your personal interests, such as your love for nature and animals, and your professional commitments as an actress is intriguing. How do you find harmony between these two aspects of your life, and do they intertwine in unexpected ways that inform your creativity?

I think being an actor means being able to play as many different characters as you can. If you think about it, it means that you have the chance to have different experiences. So, the more you experience in your life the more you will be able to be true while you play someone.

I try to live my life as normal as possible and keep an enthusiastic energy about new things that come to me. Knowing that my acting skills will grow with me.

Your dedication to continuous learning and growth is commendable. Can you share any specific techniques or practices that you have incorporated into your routine to sharpen your skills and expand your range as an actress?

I don’t have a technique or exercise that I practice daily, but I remember once a teacher told me that actors are like athletes. And I think it is true in a way. I try to take care of my body and my mind. Is about to be ready when THAT moment will come. I try to always think that I’m preparing for a role, even if it is not like that, but it helps me through the months in which I’m not on a set. So I train, I do sports, I read books or I do workshops, I study and watch movies.

Transitioning from small roles to more prominent projects requires resilience and perseverance. Can you reflect on a time in your career when you faced obstacles or setbacks, and how you overcame these challenges to emerge stronger and more determined in your pursuit of acting?

Acting, like a lot of other jobs and passions, is really hard to achieve. And I do think I’m still at the beginning of what I hope will be a long journey. But I remember what there was before today, and yes, it has been really hard. I never thought of giving up on acting because it’s always been and still is the thing that makes me happy.

I did my first audition when I was 16 years old and except for very small roles ( which I’m so grateful for ), I got my first big job at 26. So ten years of auditions and ten years of “ No”. So it has been quite hard also because I had to do a lot of other jobs to be able to live in Rome and keep studying acting.

I remember, years ago, I had a very bad accident that kept me on pause on basically everything for a year. I couldn’t walk and I was waiting to have surgery on my back. It has been, probably, the worst year of my life, and I remember one day I was talking with my best friends Roberta, Camilla, and Vittoria (girls with whom I grew up, sisters more than friends), and I said to them “ maybe I should give up, maybe life is telling me I can’t do this.” And they were amazing, they were my strength. They will never let me give up, and that’s what happened. I didn’t give up, I had surgery finally in August and in September I auditioned for the three most important acting schools in Rome, and I won 2 of them, I chose Gian Maria Volonte, and now, here I am. Happy for sure, with some acting jobs on my back but still working as hard as I was the first day.

The art of storytelling through music videos adds a distinctive dimension to your repertoire. How does the visual medium of music videos complement your skills as an actress, and do you see opportunities for further exploration in this realm in the future?

Music is a big part of my life, and also of my training. I love spending hours listening to music and letting my mind go free. I would love to do other music videos. I think it is another beautiful way to express what you feel inside, to have the chance to tell a story not only with lines but also with sensations, using other senses that we have. I love it when movies have sound aspects that help the audience go into the story and the emotions.

Looking ahead, what aspirations or goals do you hold for your acting career, both in terms of the types of projects you wish to tackle and the impact you hope to make within the industry and on audiences worldwide?

You know what? I have no idea what will come next, and I am excited about the unknown. Of course, I wish I would be able to meet and work with as many people as I can, tell stories, and fall in love with new characters. I am ready for everything, as I said before and I would love to challenge myself with an international project, but I also want to keep working here in Italy. There are a lot of brilliant directors here that I want to meet and work with. I hope I will play characters that will live in me and in the memory of the people who will watch them. But most important looking ahead I would love to see myself happy and in peace. Surrounded by people I love, working on a new character and still nervous and enthusiastic as the first day.

Unveiling the Cinematic Artistry  Journey of Dharma Mangia Woods Unveiling the Cinematic Artistry  Journey of Dharma Mangia Woods Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Full look by Alessandro Vigilante


Photography: Martina Mariotti

Hair + Make Up: Eleonora Mantovani @SimoneBelliAgency

Styling + Press: Other Agency – Sara Castelli Gattinara & Vanessa Bozzacchi

Location: Village Studio Rome

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