Yasen Atour is part of the new season of the worldwide famous Netflix show The Witcher, whose new season has been available since December the 17th. There we can see him as Coen, one of the new Witchers of this marvelous universe that has become one treasure for fans all over the globe.
Therefore, we are more than glad to bring you this exclusive interview with Yasen Atour, only for Vanity Teen, in which the actor opened up to talk about his career and recent activities. Also, this artist shared with us some of the most precious lessons that life has taught him.
We hope you love his words and feel inspired as much as we do with this talented artist who has let us know that entertainment is just getting better, so we can expect much more action in the projects he has for all of us
You can expect much more action
You can expect much more action
VT: What would you like to share with us about your origins? And how did you get into acting?
YA: I was born in London, at the hospital my father worked in as a porter. At six months old, I was sent to live with my grandparents in the place I call “back home”: Morocco.
I lived in a fishing town called Larache. It was a kid’s dream, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a busy port town. They teach you how to become a man at a very young age over there. My grandad was the captain of a fishing boat called The Golden River; when I was four, accompanied by my uncles, he would take me out to sea on it.
Once we were in the heart of the Atlantic, far away from shore, he would grab me from my Afro and launch me into the ocean, full of swordfish by the way, and just as the moment came that I thought was my last breath, one of my uncles would dive in and bring me back up to the ship. This continued for months. No instructions or guidance. Sink or swim. I’m happy to report that I’m a very confident swimmer. So, my childhood was extreme in that way.
Fifty miles away from my mother’s side of the family, my grandma had this huge fig tree growing in the field behind her house. My father and uncle would put random mini-theatre shows that consisted of stand-up comedy, singing, dancing, and storytelling. Hundreds of people from local tribes would stop by, sit down and enjoy the show underneath that fig tree.
I would look around, and people were laughing, howling, crying tears of joy and sorrow. Life was very challenging there as it hardly rained; this was the tonic they were desperate for.
My dad and uncle were heroes in my eyes and had a profound effect on me. That was the very first memory of me wanting to be a storyteller; in the hope that I would bring people from all walks of life together to experience different emotions.
So, life in Morocco holds my fondest memories.
VT: How has been the experience of portraying Reza Al-Rahman in Young Wallander? When will we enjoy the new season?
YA: Reza was an actor’s dream to play. In fact, I put the brakes on acting in 2018, but when my agent found the role, he contacted me right away. When I read the script, I called him back and said: Oh boy! It’s very rare to read something that feels as if it was written for you.
Reza was that rare moment. I’m so excited to share season two with everyone. It highlights parts of society that we shy away from. I hear that season two may air in the first quarter of 2022.
VT: Let us talk about a hot topic everyone wants to know about it: The Witcher. What is it like for you to be part of this global phenomenon?
YA: The Witcher, what’s that? Only kidding!
Where do you start with a show of that magnitude and following? It’s a rollercoaster ride. The scale is on a different level. This season is especially exciting because you get to meet other Witchers like Lambert, Vesemir, and Coen, who I had the privilege of playing.
Without any spoilers, you can expect much more action, scarier monsters; it’s wild and fast, but, at the heart, this season focuses on family. What length will people go through to protect their loved ones?
VT: Now, let us focus on other of the activities you do that we admire. What is Film Club, and which is your connection with ArtsEd School of Acting?
YA: Film Club is an acting course with only six people in a class. I created it to help aid actors with the tools to navigate their way through the industry.
I love acting and telling stories, but I love helping people too. Film Club is simple but very challenging. The only way to describe it, it’s the “squid game” of acting without anyone getting hurt.
I never give anything away about what happens in class because it’s not fair to the members who have taken the course or are about to embark on it; but what I will say is, it’s a course on how to tackle the hardships life throws at us, camouflaged as a course for acting. Maybe that’s the reason why it’s become such a phenomenon.
The thing about life
VT: What do you think about current plural representation in media?
YA: In terms of media representation, things are moving in the right direction. Personally, we can all do a little bit better. Taking responsibility is the foundation.
We need to tell stories that change the narrative and bridge the gap. Ultimately, we are all human.
VT: According to your life experiences, which blessings have you received from acting?
YA: For me, the best blessing is relationships. Acting sends you all over the globe, and you get to come out of your comfort zone and meet people you would never have come into contact with otherwise.
We also get to learn from other cultures, and you get to invite and share your culture and way of life with them.
My mindset and way of life are constantly challenged, and I embrace it.
Another blessing is the ability to inspire people. If someone sees me on screen and says: “wait a minute! If that guy can do it, so can I.” Well, that’s a win for me.
VT: How do you take care of your mental health?
YA: Man, mental health is a bastard! We just never know what one is going through.
I have a few people I trust and respect who always tell me how it is and keep me in check. I don’t hide anything from them. I think that’s healthy.
Hobbies and interests are essential. I read, write, play different sports, and work out. Frequently, visit the cinema. I also pray five times a day and attend Friday prayers every week.
For me, it’s important to go to the gym in all aspects. Mind, body, and soul; all three need constant nurturing to minimize and prevent mental illness. But when things get really foggy, it’s time to get help.
Just recently, I had a turbulent time mentally; all of my usual day-to-day practices weren’t working, so a friend suggested I should try sound bath therapy. Wow! An experience I highly recommend trying.
VT: Which advice would you like to share with those teenagers who might be thinking about pursuing a career in the arts or the entertainment industry?
YA: A few nights ago, a very close friend of mine was having a hard time finding work in the corporate sector. I asked her how many jobs has she applied for. Six, she said in a frustrated tone. I replied with more of a frustrated tone: “Six jobs! I auditioned 160 times before I got my first role.”
Moral of the story: patience it’s without a doubt one of the most difficult disciplines but also the most rewarding. I’m not saying sit on your backside and do nothing. No way! When you aren’t right for something, maybe that something wasn’t right for you.
In the meantime, keep practicing, keep living, keep loving, and discovering new experiences because that’s what you will draw from when it’s your time to shine. This earth we reside on is magical. Look after it, and it will look after you.
VT: Anything else you would like to share with Vanity Teen?
YA: When I was in my teens, I thought I knew everything. In my twenties, I was certain I knew absolutely everything. A few heartbreaks later, coupled with health issues and family members passing, 30 came along and blew my mind; I realized that I knew nothing.
That’s the thing about life, it moves so fast, and change is everywhere. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know; embrace it because you just never know.
There’s no way I could have connected the dots going forward, but I can recall how I got here: always believing in myself, having faith that my time will come as long as I’m prepared when the opportunity presents itself. That’s what luck is right.
Listening was vital; I learned more from listening than I ever did by talking. I was always curious and asked questions, people loved sharing their experiences, and that was gold.
Before we go
As you can see, Yasen Atour is a person who speaks from an open heart, an artist who transforms his experiences, no matter how pleasant or harsh, into interpretations destined to bring hope, joy, excitement, and solace to those who are lucky enough to witness them.
To stay in touch with this talented actor, you can follow him on Instagram @yasentour, and do not forget that now you can see him as Coen in The Wicher only on Netflix.