Belinda GosbeeActressLos Angeles, CAStory and Photos by Lauri LevenfeldStyling by Katja O’Brien
|1. Who are you? What were you like as a child?
My name is Belinda Gosbee and I’m an Australian actress and writer (from Sydney) based in Los Angeles. As a child I was far less outgoing. It was my younger sister who loved to hog the limelight and play the “clown” in our family. I was always very, very sensitive to the world around me which I think is a common trait in many actors. I was a massive Star Wars kid though and it was Star Wars that made me want to act. I used to play Star Wars games with my third cousin in nanna’s backyard and mum would have to put my hair up in Leia buns. I remember I used to lie awake in bed and think up new scenes for the trilogy. I’ve always loved to make up stories both in my head and on paper.
2. Describe your life’s work.
I am a storyteller: an actress, a writer and a voice over artist who also trained as a TV Journalist (and I’ve played a few on TV so it wasn’t a completely wasted degree!). I’ve always felt that as an actress it’s my duty to tell stories for those who can’t and I think that’s why I’m so drawn to drama — I want to show people things that they didn’t know and awaken something in them through that discovery. I’ve never felt that so profoundly as when I portrayed a muslim woman during the Bosnian war in a beautiful play written by Australian playwright Daniel Keene. I spent time with torture and trauma survivors from that war and it really hit home that this is the true power, and duty, of being a storyteller.
|3. You just premiered the pilot Pineapple at Sundance, tell us about your experience?
Sundance was amazing! I’ve always called it my “dream-fest” as it pairs the best of indie film (which is where my heart lies) with a ski town (my other love in life is snowboarding — I’ve been riding for 20 years). And although Pineapple is a pilot, it’s just as cinematic as any film and it was so exciting for an audience to finally see it, especially on a big screen. They seemed genuinely intrigued (there’s a mystery at play) and we had really wonderful feedback. We were incredibly lucky to be acquired by Blackpills, a digital studio out of France, on the eve of Sundance so our goal had already been met before we arrived. I think what I loved the most was just being surrounded by so many independent filmmakers and lovers of indie film. I really felt at home. And yes, I did get some boarding in. The snow up there was insane!
4. How has living in Sydney prepared you for your latest chapter of life in LA?
I’m not sure if anything completely prepares you for LA (ha!) but I do think that the old observation about Aussies in Hollywood is true — we’re a pretty down-to-earth bunch — and that is definitely an asset to have in this town. It keeps things real. We have this phenomenon in Oz and New Zealand called “Tall Poppy Syndrome” and basically it’s where your culture doesn’t allow you to get too big. It’s this national theory that no Aussie should assume they’re better than any other Aussie — ie. the tallest poppies will be cut down to the same size as the others. We hate superiority— I’m sure that’s a hangover from being convicts and under british rule!— so it creates a very grounded culture. It does have a negative side though — successful people are often criticised for no other reason than being “too” successful.
|5. You are a writer, as well as, an actress- what do you write about and where do you draw inspiration?
I’ve always been drawn to writing the same kinds of stories that I’m attracted to as an actor: darker, gritty dramas with strong female leads. Survivors, characters that succeed against the absolute odds. I’m really interested in the struggle of life I guess. But it’s the internal struggles more than the external that I really find fascinating. What makes us who we are? How can we overcome our internal baggage to change our lives?
On the completely opposite end of the spectrum I also write for a lifestyle platform — mostly about the LA food and beverage scene!
6. What are the five most important things that you have learned from this industry?
1. Don’t be fooled by the endless advice from so-called experts that say that “you must do this, this and that or you won’t succeed”. This one gets me real mad as actors are constantly being guilted into spending money they don’t have because “you’re not really serious about your career” unless you do. The result of this is that actors get into bad debt and they quit acting. There is no blueprint to success in this industry no matter how much money you throw at it.
2. Confidence is everything. It’s not what you’ve done, what you’re doing or even if you’re a good actor most of the time. It’s pure confidence. An audacity that you belong in this career, that role, this casting room. If you own it, you will own it.
3. If they cut your scene out it’s not personal. I had this happen twice recently and it can feel dreadful and make you question your whole craft, but the more I spoke to other actors about it, the more I saw that most everyone has suffered this fate. They just don’t talk about it haha.
4. Get a life! Acting may be the love of your life but she can be a brutal lover. You must create an actual life here in LA. Acting jobs come in sporadic waves and riding those waves can be greatly depressing. Get an actual lover, a hobby, volunteer, take vacations, paint your apartment, make friends in other industries and just love life!
5. Create your own work and cast yourself! No one else can play that role but you.
7. What has been your favorite project and why?
I honestly think my favorite projects have come from the theater thus far because I’ve been blessed to have played some of the most incredibly complex leading ladies on the stage. The Bosnian role I mentioned above was life-changing for me, playing the iconic Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible for two seasons in Sydney was a huge highlight of my career and then I most recently self-produced, and acted in, an incredibly emotional play called Two Rooms here in LA which dealt with a woman whose husband is taken hostage in Beirut. I’m extremely proud of that play because of what I accomplished as a first-time producer. I discovered that I was capable of something that I had no idea I could do!
8. Who have been your biggest role models or mentors?
I’ve always drawn great inspiration from Vera Farmiga, a fellow indie queen. She came out of Sundance actually and she chooses the kinds of gritty roles that I love. She’s also a filmmaker and she’s just a damn fine actress – have you seen Bates Motel?! I’ve also been greatly inspired by Brit Marling who co-wrote the film that launched her at Sundance and has gone on to write many more roles for herself. My late grandad was a great mentor to me — he had such an adventurous, positive spirit and truly believed that you should just go after your dreams. He first conquered Europe at age 72!
9. Australia has become a fashion mecca, who are some of your favorite designers, ones to watch?
I was lucky to be dressed in an amazing Primaro leather jacket for Sundance and I hadn’t heard of them until then so I definitely have my eye on them. I love the feminine detailing of Réalisation, Macgraw is also super feminine with really simple but unique structuring, I love the haute couture of Maticevski gowns (next red carpet, please!) and I’ve always been a Zimmermann fan — I think the world is finally catching onto those Zimmermann gals!
|10. What’s next for Belinda?
I’m about to shoot a role in a digital horror series where I get to play the “evil that lurks” — so much fun! Takes me back to my first stage role playing Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty at age 6! I also have a short screenplay that I’ve been working on for a while and I’d love to make that this year. I’ve written the role for myself and yes, it’s a gritty drama. I’m also excitedly awaiting to hear what’s next for Pineapple with Blackpills!