Who Is Sara Sulander – and what does Sara do/where?
I am Sara Sulander, and I’m a 23 year old actress and singer originally from Finland, travelled to a lot of places, even lived in Australia for a while, and now for the last 3 years settled down in Los Angeles, California, to pursue my dream full time. I have done singing and acting in all my 3 “home countries”, but now in L.A. I have found an additional passion; stage managing and producing.
At what age did you know that you wanted to be an actor/singer ?
I don’t remember my exact age, perhaps 5, 6 years old, but I remember the exact moment and the exact feeling. I was sitting on the floor of my grandparents’ living room, watching a movie, not really understanding what was going on in the movie. But I was admiring the work of the actors, and all of a sudden I was filled with this feeling of passion and eager and excitement, and from that moment I KNEW that I am going to be an actress.
With singing it was a little bit different, I’ve always had the passion for singing, but when I was younger, I couldn’t sing very well. I kept practicing by myself, until I was 10 years old I joined a choir and at 14 years of age I started taking private singing lessons. I have worked hard and trained a lot to develop my voice from basically nothing, to what it is now.
What has been the most exciting “thing” or role that you’ve covered during your career or should we say careers? I think you do some other stuff as well??
This is a hard one, there’s too many. But if I have to choose one, it must be when I was under 10 years old and I was acting in a scene with two boys and the performance day arrived, but the boys didn’t. I had to improvise the entire scene – talking to a doll. It was an extremely exciting moment, and at a really young age and early in my acting career, my acting and improvisational skills were put on blast.
Is there any particular story, moment, an award or an achievement throughout your career that you are particularly proud of?
What I’m most proud of is the fact that against all odds, against some of my friends’ and family’s opinions, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my career in singing and acting.
What would you say is the biggest misconception that people have about your profession (acting) or singing?
I have three big ones for you Kaisa; 1. actors are stupid and bimbos 2. singing and acting is just play time and not hard work and 3. it is not a real job. First of all, what is a “real job” anyway? And if you want to be as great and successful actress and singer as possible, it is very hard work, physically and mentally, and you need to be extremely intelligent – both book smart and life smart.
What do you enjoy most about being an actor vs. your previous life? What the worst about being an actor/singer….
In my head I have been an actor and singer my entire life, so there is no “previous life”. At this point in my career I enjoy pretty much all aspects of being and actor and singer. Irregular schedule, working with so many different people so intensively, all the things I need to learn for my roles and performances, need to be in physical and mental well being, everyday is so different, performing in front of a live audience or a camera, and most of all I get to do what I love everyday. The worst about this career choice is that there is no one path on how to approach it. Say if you are a doctor, you go through medical school, get an internship, become a resident, attending and then you’re a doctor. There is no such path for this business.
What have you found to be the biggest difference between acting in Finland and Los Angeles? Just out of curiosity loved to hear something about your Australian experiences too.
I honestly don’t think I have enough experience or recent experience in acting in Finland and Australia to answer this question.
What kind of people survive and do well in this field of work (acting vs. singing) in your opinion?
Intelligent, confident, strong, humble, determined, independent but able to work well with others, a person who can transform him/herself to many different characters and styles, a person who can differentiate who wants to help you/work with you and who wants to use you for something and very importantly a person who is truly passionate about this field.
Are there any roles that you would hate to cover?
I wouldn’t be too thrilled to play the blonde “dumb” role, because I don’t want there to be a risk that I’ll get marked as the dumb blonde girl. I want to be recognized mostly for my intelligence, secondarily for my blonde hair and my looks.
What advice would you give to other aspiring European actors aiming for the stars in Hollywood? Or singers…
Academically speaking a piece of advice that I wish someone would have told me a long time ago, keep records of everything you’ve done, make sure you get copies of all contracts and waivers you sign, copies of all articles, reviews, interviews anything written or recorded of you. All of this is very useful when applying for visas or green card. Practically speaking, find good people around you to support you and cheer you on, because there are times when you need that. Keep yourself in physical good health and mental good health. You need to have very good people skills; you need to know who is a fraud, and who is real. Most importantly be sure that this is what you want to do in life, and just go for it. As I said before, there is no one right way to do it, every individual approaching this career need to find their own way.
What and who captivate you in the world of the celebrities – and why?
In the world of performers, there are a lot of things and people about it that captivates me, but if I need to choose one person I think it would be Beyonce. I admire her voice, looks, style, music, music videos, performances and the fact that she’s not on the cover of every magazine all the time with ridiculous drama and gossip about her personal life.
Since you are Finnish – must ask what do you miss most from Finland – think you ever return to live back there? And how is the Finnish community in Los Angeles…
My Grandma, is what I miss the most! And Finnish chocolate, ‘Fazerin Sininen’, rye bread, ‘Ruispuikulat’, and Finnish cheese, ‘Oltermanni.’
The Finnish community is pretty great here in Los Angeles. When I moved here I was obnoxiously thinking that I’m the only Finnish person here, and about a year later I met the first fellow Finnish actress and she got hooked me up to the “Creative Finns in Los Angeles” group on Facebook and then I became familiar with the semi large Finnish community in L.A. Everyone is extremely helpful towards each other and try to share their own knowledge so other people can take use of it – great teamwork.
About returning to Finland, I used to have a definite answer – NO. Now I feel like Los Angeles is the place to be, and I’ve settle here very well, and I feel like I will stay here for ever, but who knows?
What do you see the best about the Finnish culture/people vs. American?
It’s hard to compare, because there isn’t one Finnish or one American culture/people. Both countries have variety and both positive and negatives aspects to them. Right now Los Angeles culture and people feels more suitable for me.
Is there anything we need to know about you??
Yes, I will be publishing my cover songs as soon as I get a big enough selection, on both YouTube and Facebook. I will be connecting my YouTube and Facebook accounts with my ImDb and my website, so just keep an eye on my name, Sara Sulander, and soon projects will be coming up.