HANNA CASTERA: "MY SECRETS ARE THE PERSEVERANCE AND THE PERPETUAL SEARCH OF TAKING PROFESSIONAL RISKS, IN DIFFICULT ROLES AND FILMS, TO NEVER PLAY IT SAFE, MY GIFTS ARE BEING A HARD SHOW ME SOFTLY, MY STRENGTHS MY HARD WORK AND MY PURE LOVE OF JOB AND LIFE WORKER AND HAVING A PURE LOVE FOR MY CRAFT AND FOR LIFE." IN AHOU ATTITUDE MAGAZINE
Hanna Castera singer, actress, director and producer of the film "LE SAC NOiR" Beauty with a thousand facets, she transmits and shares in the interview USA, Ahou Attitude magazine her story, her vision of women in the world of cinema and television. From French sets to American cinema, meeting with a beating and authentic woman, journey and life perspectives of a beautiful rebel.
Interview conducted by Annick N'guessan
1 / Where are you born and what was the influence of your mother in your life?
I was born in Brive la Gaillarde in Corrèze, I did not have a mother, I spent my childhood in the dass and
with relatives who were mostly not very nice to me.
2 / Were you a rather outgoing child?
Completely extraverted but to talk about pain and problems I was more introverted.
3 / How would you define your adolescence?
Awful. Terrible. I was on my own and had to find a way to survive without anyone's help, which gave
me a very strong mental strength, there is always something good for something bad.
" SEDUCTION IS PART OF MY LIFE AND MY WORK. OF COURSE IT IS IMPORTANT AND IS INVOLVED IN THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN AND PEOPLE IN GENERAL."
4 / What were your first steps towards femininity?
13 years old when I understood how the world works towards women.
5 / How would you define elegance?
The glamour of the Golden Age in Hollywood and in France. I feel that at that time people knew how
to dress well and had class. Today even on TV or in movies, or in life, we don't find many people who
dress well. It's jean basket t-shirt. I even saw some people wearing only sporting clothes, I find this
very disrespectful for an artist to dress this way.
6 / Is seduction fundamental in our lives?
Seduction is a part of my life and my work. Of course it is important and is involved in th relationships between men and women and people in general.
7 / In what way do you think taking care of yourself and your body on a daily basis is essential?
It is crucial because the body responds based on the way you treat it. Everything starts with food. I
have been vegan for almost 20 years, and believe me I have a strong health and healthy food helps to
keep you young. I realized I look younger since I don't eat animals anymore. I do it because of my
belief, I love animals, they are noble, and generous and deserve to be loved and protected by us, the so-
called humans. Taking care of our skin and body in general and hygiene is very important for a good
and long healthy life. All the products I am using are «cruelty free», which means they didn't use
animal experimentation to make these products. I'm very involved in animal welfare. This is why I
help my fiance's foundation that protects domestic and wild animals around the world. I was
devastated by the loss of my little Batman, a beautiful pup who had a beautiful life and who lived with
me until he was 15 years old. He even was able to visit the USA and the grand canyon. I will never
forget my little Batman . And he has been immortalized in my films.
8 / As a singer, actress, director and producer, do you think appearance is an accelerator of success?
Yes even if I don't care too much about what people think of me because you will always find people
who will criticize you no matter what, either because they are mean, ignorant or jealous, but there are
other people who will look at you with respect and true love, and will bring some constructive critics
and not negative. Yes, the look is important and part of the craft of being an artist. Our role as artists is
to make people dream, today I feel we miss that. One day in France I went to a casting where I was
selected. All I needed to do was to know how to run, it was for a commercial. During the audition I
heard one of the people in charge of the casting saying to someone " « yes I don't want a good looking
guy or a pretty girl ». It was sad to hear that. The problem comes mostly from France, we often find
things that don't make sense in the movies or on TV in France. When I was a little girl, I loved to watch
TV or movies to see beautiful things and people who were making me dream. It is not even a matter of
beauty, actually it is more a matter of charisma. This is what is lacking in France today. Before there
were Jean Gabin, Lino Ventura, Michelle Morgan, Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Romy Schneider,
Gérard Philippe, Marie Dubois, Annie Girardot, Brigitte Bardot, Michelle Mercier among others, today
we have nothing that really makes us dream in France. Except in the US. There are still a few stars who
make us dream, because Hollywood welcomes people from all over the world who have talent and
charisma, whether they are English, Australians, or others....
9 / How do you see women, who are more and more emancipated and present in all areas of society?
I think it's a very good thing, women must take care of themselves, they don't need anyone to thrive
even if we are still in a macho world, they can do it.
Whether it is in the cinema or any other professional fields, men are always getting paid more than
women for the same job, there is still inequality. This must change.
"WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL, I LOVED TO WATCH TV OR MOVIES TO SEE BEAUTIFUL THINGS AND PEOPLE WHO WERE MAKING ME DREAM. IT IS NOT EVEN A MATTER OF BEAUTY, ACTUALLY IT IS MORE A MATTER OF CHARISMA. THIS IS WHAT IS LACKING IN FRANCE TODAY."
10 / How did your career as a director and producer start?
Since I was very young I always loved to produce, direct, sing,I have been singing since I was very young, I knew that being an artist was for me, my passion always allowed me to make people dream and to make myself dream too, to bring love to people and to receive love, something that I missed a lot during my childhood.
I started like many people by going to casting
for movies, I got some work as a stand in, or small roles, but then I realized that it was a lot about
"who you know" then because I always been self-taught on many things, I decided to write and to
direct short movies where I had the lead role and most importantly roles that I wanted to play, to not be caged and typecast,
and then when I saw that I was doing well and all this was bringing me new opportunities, I wrote and directed and acted in two feature films, "Soulmates" (Ames soeurs) and "The Black Bag" ( Le Sac Noir) that I am about to complete.
photo: film THE BLACK BAG_
11 / What is the place of women in the world of cinema?
I think that they occupy a very important place and that more and more women are involved in movies,
whether it is in front of or behind the camera. Personally I love to direct actors and actresses, I love it but I also love to act, this is why I did all this and it is thanks to my work that today I have some doors
that opened in the USA. I am very happy and proud that America loves and appreciates my work
because for me it is the best homage, it's a little girl's dream,
photo: film THE BLACK BAG_
I have 4 feature films coming up as an actress in the US and two TV series but I also have two screenplays that I am going to translate in English that are being produced and a third one that I am currently writing, so I am fulfilled, without even talking about my music albums that will be be released in the US. I have been honored to be cast in an American feature film, a western and to have in my films actors who are constantly working in important American shows , who accepted to be in my film The Black Bag, such as Philipp Lawrence Durand and Brandon Fobbs. With other superb French actors such as Pierre Santini, and two other actors that I love but who unfortunately passed away, Jean-Pierre Bernard, Bertrand Altmann...
photo: Clip promo Frensh Cowboy
12 / What did you think of the actresses' claims concerning the excesses in the cinema world and the machismo that reigns there?
Very good question. I think there were excesses in the movie business unfortunately from the very
beginning. On the other hand, and I can see that every day, there are a lot of girls who are ready to do
anything to succeed. So of course some people take advantage of it, for sure and it is very sad. You
know, you just need to go to these evening parties where there are directors, actors, in those events or
private parties and you can see all these girls who are ready to do anything, and sometimes very young
and I believe some men got trapped like this. There are all kinds of people out there. Victims of course,
but also some girls who play the victims to take advantage. We have to be honest with all this. So for
me, there are wrongdoings from both sides, but that gives no excuses to the men who fall for these
girls and who use them. In a perfect world, a girl should always be respected and protected, even the
ones who are ready to do anything for money or career.
13 / In France, female directors earn less than their male colleagues. What do you think ?
Not only in France but everywhere and in every field, women are being paid less than men although
they do the same job. This must change.
14 / As a director and producer do you feel that actresses are more confident, more comfortable in their acting when a woman is in charge?
It all depends on the woman and the man. I think that there must be a real trust because for example in
the film The black bag I had many actors very macho on this film, there were about 90 percent of men,
believe me it was not easy every day but I did not let them take over, I even had to fire a few of them
from the start, you have to make them respect you, I am a very cool and nice person but I can't stand
15 / Have you ever faced sexist behavior as a woman in the world of art and culture? If so, can you give us an anecdote?
Twice I heard things like "Look at this one, I would like to get into her panties" There will always be stupid people like that.
Or people who say that if you want to succeed, you must sleep, or others who make some comments
such as « I am sure this one slept with many to succeed" . It's very macho and stupid to say something like that. And of course it is not true.
You must have talent to last in this business. Sleeping or not sleeping has nothing to do with it. It's a
myth. And some people do that with short term goals. It is more to be or not to be that is important.
And to have healthy and noble goals. Like bringing love to people with your art, and to receive love too thanks to your talent and to your love for the craft.
Nothing to do with factitious things such as money, fame, and everything connected to an inflated ego.
16 / Have you ever been offered stereotypical roles?
Unfortunately yes in France, a type cast, for example you play a nurse or a police woman one day, and
they will offer you the same role over and over again, it seems like if the casting directors and agents
have sometimes no imagination. Fortunately it does not work this way in the US.
MEDIAS SOCIAUX :
17 / Tell us about your charitable investment. Why did you decide to get involved in the association? What is WONDER EARTH RESCUE?
I am very sensitive to the pain and misery of others and I don't like injustice. I started to create an
association for children and people who are sick that is called TIENS BON ET BATS TOI (stay strong
and fight) with two friends Jean-Claude Bally and Rachid Brahmi who followed me in this adventure
following my film Soulmates ( Ames Sœurs) in which they were playing a role. This film is about
I am also very much involved personally with my fiance Philipp in animal welfare. Philipp
created a foundation Wonder Earth Rescue to protect animals because animals are so important for him and me too, they represent a big part in our lives, I love animals with such strength, they truly belong to my heart and my soul, they are so precious and loving and noble and sincere, there is so much suffering in the animal world, it's terrible and people must realize that animals are very important on this earth and that
they were here before the humans. Nothing is more beautiful than animals and planet earth so Philipp
and I are fighting against animal suffering and we are rescuing as many animals as we can. Philipp saved with his fondation lions, tigers, wolves, coyotes, bears, fox, and many domestic animals, cats and dogs, and calves, cows, horses, pigs, birds, and we also have many projects to help dolphins and whales. At this moment we have a project in the works to rescue lions and elephants who are currently in a very dangerous situation in South Africa.
"I STARTED TO CREATE AN ASSOCIATION FOR CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WHO ARE SICK THAT IS CALLED 'TIENS BON ET BATS TOI' (STAY STRONG AND FIGHT) WITH TWO FRIENDS JEAN-CLAUDE BALLY AND RACHID BRAHIM"
This is why we are asking for donations because it's very expensive, we have to find about eight hundred thousand dollars to rescue them, because we must
bring them by cargos (planes) from one location to another with all the security that goes with it and
we have to have all the specialists with us to control the situation, paperwork, security, health, there are
a lot of things that are involved in it that are very expensive, these animals are endangered species, we
must act fast. And we spend a lot of money to accomplish miracles. With the foundation we also work with other associations that we help, one of them is located in Tunisia. We adopted two pups , one will come soon, and then the little Playa who was abused badly is now with us already, and we are doing everything we can to make her walk again. She is adorable. Barely 14 month old. Animals in Tunisia are not always accepted and often mistreated but thanks to the association PAT with Amina Trigui, Alexandra Wagstaff, Sara Zi, some animals are constantly rescued because they do exceptional work despite the lack of resources.
In very difficult conditions, they fight to save animals
in the streets who find themselves often in very bad shape. Truly they deserve all our respect, they are
an example to follow in Tunisia. It's thanks to incredible people like them that things begin to change
and go in the right direction in Tunisia or other countries where animal rights are not respected. It is so heartwarming to see people who truly help animals, not like some foundations or associations very well
known that take money, that use their name and reputation but that in reality do nothing. On the other
end, it is refreshing to see people on the ground who truly do things. We have friends who help us too
such as Bernard Grac and his wife Josyane. Bernard and Josyane are at The Reunion, over there too
terrible things happen toward animals and animals are hurt but fortunately thanks to Bernard and
Josyane, some animals were able to be rescued and others are being rescued.
18 / What do you think of the couple and the life together?
Well for me, I think the only way for a couple to last is to have a mutual respect toward each other, and
to share the same passions but also to feel free, not in a cage. I am like a savage animal who always
lived freely, I have been independent since I was a little girl and I always counted on myself only, I am
a self made woman. I don't owe anything to anyone. And it is true that Philipp is also like me, which is
why he understands me. As long as there is no lie between two people, that's the most important, and
respect, very important to me, so in my eyes, a couple's life must be based on trust and mutual respect.
19 / Why did you decide to move to the United States?
Actually I plan to leave definitively in one year and I still live in France but I regularly go to the US to
see Philipp and the pups that we have together there.
"I AM A VERY SAVAGE KIND OF GIRL WHO HAS ALWAYS LIVED FREELY. I'M INDEPENDENT SINCE I WAS VERY LITTLE, AND I HAD TO ALWAYS FIND A WAY TO GET THINGS DONE ON MY OWN, WITHOUT HELP, I AM A SELF MADE WOMAN.
20/ Are you in a relationship today? If so, what does this man bring to your life?
Of course I consider and I feel that I live the life of a couple with him, something that I never felt
before with other men who shared my life, because he understands me, he knows when to leave me
alone when I need it, he knows how to respect my silences and above all he truly wants my happiness,
my success, he brings me to the top; the men I knew before loved me but the wrong way, I understood
when I met Philipp the meaning of the word " to love" because a person who truly loves you only
wants your happiness, your success without thinking about himself.
I truly found my soulmate, we are
editing our own films and we are showing to each other what we do, we brainstorm together, we
exchange advice, I show him some footage and ask him what he thinks about it and he does the same.
It's important in a couple so I would say that he brings me peace, happiness, the love that I never
received and we have many projects together in the future, projects from him and from me. He already
played in one of my films and before I was the one who first acted in one of his films too.
21 / What is the life of a French woman in Miami? Did the fact to go from one continent to another impact your vision about femininity, your habits, about French culture?
Honestly, from my youngest age, my dream was always to see America. From my youngest age I
always felt I was not born in the right country, I always loved the USA and American people from the
deepest part of my soul, without even knowing why, but when I left for the first time, August 1st
2020 I started to cry when I walked on the tarmac with my little Batman in my arms, my little dog who
passed away June 15 this year, a huge loss for me,
And then I sat on the plane, there was nobody there, I
was the first one in the middle of Covid 19, then I took the phone and called Philipp, he asked me what
was going on , why I cried and I explained to him that I just realized my greatest dream was about to
be realized, I'm going to America. He reassured me and told me that in a short time, I will finally be
there, because I also left to realize another of my dreams which was to play a role in an American
photo: film americain THE FRENSH COWBOY
it was incredible for me with all the painful life I had since my childhood, it was a miracle what
was happening, I remember I was telling Philipp at that moment that I thought I would kneel down on
the American ground upon my arrival for the first time in Miami, in the US, I could not believe it, and
then finally the plane took off, I looked at my little Batman and I told him, my baby, do you realize
that we are going to America, I was so happy, it is a bit long but I have to explain to you. We are
landing and Philipp was already there to wait for me, I go through all the areas I need to go through ,
police, custom etc... and finally I see Philipp as soon as I cross the last door that stands between me and
him and that gives me access to the American ground, and then my surprise was that I did not kneel
down, no, that was very strange, It was like I was coming back home, it is hard to explain, yes, finally
for the first time I was feeling home, where I belong. So to answer your question, yes all this had an
impact on me, whether it is on my femininity, the change of continent, or my way of living , for me
everything was even more wonderful.
On the other end, when it comes to the French culture, I was always pro American films, regarding French films, I have to say that I like the golden age of the
French cinema, a few French films, especially some comedies in the 1960's, 70's, 80's, with Fernandel,
Bourvil, and then later Louis de Funes, and then Pierre Richard, because I find that in this style the
French are doing well but otherwise it was always the American films that attracted me.. In fact there
are French actors or actresses today that I like, because I pay close attention to the performance of an
actor, to the truthfulness and the sincerity of a performance, such as Gérard Depardieu, Jean Reno,
Vincent Cassel , Albert Dupontel, Daniel Auteuil,
"FROM MY YOUNGEST AGE I ALWAYS FELT I WAS NOT BORN IN THE RIGHT COUNTRY, I ALWAYS LOVED THE USA AND AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM THE DEEPEST PART OF MY SOUL, WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING WHY."
Alain Chabat, for the women, I like Fanny Ardant,Marion Cotillard, Virginie Efira, Sophie Marceau, Mathilde Seigner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, voila, I likethese actors and actresses. But I like above all the older actors such as Jean Paul Belmondo, AlainDelon, Romy Schneider, Annie Girardot among many others ... Jean Paul Belmondo just passed awaybut his legacy will remain forever. I am working right now on a film with a wonderful friend and stuntcoordinator Michel Berreur, who was Jean Paul's very close friend and who directed many of the biggest stunts Jean Paul Belmondo did. Jean Paul Belmondo loved to do his own stunts and was also a huge animal lover.
22 / What are your secrets to succeed in this
environment ? What are your strengths?
My secrets are perseverance and the perpetual search of taking professional risks in difficult roles and
films, to never play it safe, my gifts are being a hard worker and having a pure love for my craft and
23 / What are your biggest fears?
Honestly, none, yes, the fear of not being loved, I would say it is more a feeling, I need so much love.
This is why I give a lot of love to my fans too, I love people, I love to see happy people, it makes me
24 / What is your philosophy of life?
Help yourself and the universe will help you, positivity is a part of my life and forgiveness too, many
people I knew in my life or whom I just crossed the path with hurt me either psychologically or in other
ways, I was giving too much importance about what people could think about me and one day I
understood that the only person who had to be proud of me was myself, then I forgave others because
to forgive others it is to forgive ourselves, that does not mean that I accept them in my life, not at all,
but to forgive helps you to be at peace with yourself- it is important to look ahead, the past we can use
it to move forward, the most important, it is tomorrow, or today, yesterday does not exist anymore, so
just screen people in your life, only keep people who are truly there for you, who really love you, who
are not with you by interest. Select people who are in your life and only keep the people who are truly
there because of the love they have for you, not because they want to take advantage of you . When you succeed in screening people around you, you may end up with almost nobody left, but this helps you to start fresh without making the same mistakes. The only thing that I want in my life is love and to find
the light and to make people happy with my craft, as simple as that.
"DO NOT LET EVER, NEVER NO ONE TELL YOU THAT YOU ARE INCAPABLE TO DO WHAT YOU WANT, WOMEN ARE STRONG, DARE DOING THINGS AND YOU WILL ACHIEVE."
25 / What does your daily life consist of? And how do you maintain your shape?
My daily routine includes the finalization of the editing of my last movie, and I started to work on my
next music album and several movie projects. To take care of myself, I do a lot of sports and exercises
with the gym, I swim. I also love to play tennis. And running with our dogs and my fiance.
26 / What advice would you like to give to women?
Learn how to be independent, fight for what you truly want to do in life and for your beliefs, not the
beliefs of others but yours. Go search within yourself, learn how to know yourself, listen to your heart,
your soul, the feelings that speak to you, look for the light that is within yourself, and you will find
your path that is yours, and above all do not let ever, never noone tell you that you are incapable to do
what you want, women are strong, dare doing things and you will achieve, even if you encounter some
failures in life, you must get up, the road may be long but if within your heart you truly believe in
yourself, then do what you truly want, never let go and you will succeed.
27 / your final word?
Peace, love, light, for everyone to be fully awakened, and kindness for animals and our beautiful