Taking the first step is the hardest thing to do. Always. The reason for it? Who knows. Maybe it’s because as humans we’re programmed to love the comfort of familiarity regardless of how stuck we might feel. So what do we do? Instead of taking the first step forward, we stand still and sometimes even move few steps back, because most of the times, it seems like everything’s better than the terrible feeling that comes with not knowing what lays ahead. The crippling fear of making the wrong step can be quite paralysing and damaging. If only we could just take that dreadful first step.
It was exactly this crippling fear, that got Carolina Bartczak, a Canadian/Polish actress and producer, stuck for two years while trying to make it as an actor in a devouring industry. Wondering how she got through it? Well, she just made the first step. It was as simple as that and few years later, she managed to land a role in the X-men: Apocalypse opposite Michael Fassbender. Humble, kind-hearted, strong and tenacious, Carolina is an extraordinary example of a woman who gets s**t done, a woman who doesn’t take no for an answer, a woman warrior whose star is yet to shine brightly. It’s precisely these qualities that make her remarkably incredible and delightful. Trust us when we say this, it won’t be long before we see her play a leading role on that big screen. So for this instalment of “Cool Faces of Bastet Noir” we discuss with her, pressing matters such as environmental issues, personal growth and the craft of acting. Dive in, why don’t ya?
BASTET NOIR: If you had to pick 5 words to describe yourself, what would they be?
BASTET NOIR: What’s your morning routine like?
CAROLINA BARTCZAK: Wake up. Hit snooze. Promise myself that I won’t hit snooze again. Hit snooze. Make my bed (always always make your bed- it sets you up to complete things). Make a coffee. Eat breakfast. Only once I’ve looked over my to-do list for the day do I allow myself to check my phone.
BASTET NOIR: Did you always know that you wanted to be an actress and what are the three things you wish you knew before starting your career?
CAROLINA BARTCZAK: I had no idea or any interest of ever becoming an actor. I was doing a biochemistry degree in University, but was bored and miserable with the work . You would rarely see me having fun on a school night, but one night I put away my lab work and went to see The Lord of the Rings and thought “holy, those actors look like they’re having so much fun”. The day I finished my degree, I sold my biochemistry textbooks and decided to pursue a career in the arts. And I was right, it’s f**cking fun.
There are so many things I wish I knew before I started. I will try to boil them down to three things.
1) Everyone’s path is different. Remember why you wanted to pursue your dream in the first place and stick to that script.
2) Comparison is the thief of joy. It is very hard to not to compare yourself to your competition in the entertainment industry (their faces are on billboards and on the sides of buses for chrissakes!) YOLO, so don’t waste your time being jealous.
3) Surround yourself by people who are positive and have good vibes about life. Good and bad attitudes are contagious, so spend time with the people that you want to be like.
BASTET NOIR: Do you remember the first on-screen role you’ve got? Do you have a favorite role and if you do what makes it your favorite?
CAROLINA BARTCZAK: My first onscreen role was a two-line part in The Smurfs 2 movie. I played an uptight mother at a children’s party who has a melt down when her son eats a peanut. The scene was with Neil Patrick Harris and Richard Gleason. At one point NPH looked at me and said “you’re funny” to which i responded by melting into a puddle of joy.
My favorite role to-date is playing Magda in X-men: Apocalypse. I got to play opposite my favorite actor, Michael Fassbender. It was also the biggest film I had ever been on and I was just in awe of the giant nature of the industry. They also had a spectacular snack table.
BASTET NOIR: Any milestones you’re most proud of?
CAROLINA BARTCZAK: When I signed with my first agent she said “you know, it takes ten years to become a doctor, and it also takes ten years to become a professional actor”. I was all, “Pffffffffffffft, ya riiiiiiight”. As I approach my ten year milestone, I now see the wisdom in what she said. The ups and downs aren’t as intense anymore, and I now understand my job and role in the industry. . There have been many tears shed over close calls for jobs and missed opportunities, but I’m proud that I’m about to celebrate my ten year anniversary of being an actor.
BASTET NOIR: You’ve given us your selfless support for which we are eternally grateful. So, we just wanted to say thank you for helping us spread the word about the women single parents we work with. Are there any other causes close to your heart, you’d like to spread the word about?
CAROLINA BARTCZAK: I am very passionate about eliminating plastics from our lives. Besides being so devastating to marine life, poisoning our water system, and requiring us to drill for oil, do you know that one study showed that we ingest the equivalent of one credit card’s worth of plastic per week??!! I have started seeking out companies that have moved away from harmful plastic packaging. We can eliminate all plastic packaging from our lives (it’s only been around for 60 years!) if we make our intentions known with our wallets. Trust me, once companies realize that we will no longer support this devastating practice, they will adapt aggressively.
BASTET NOIR: What success means to you?
CAROLINA BARTCZAK: Success to me means being able to pursue the career that I love, work hard, and leave my heart and soul on the table. It sounds cheesy, but on days when I’m not working, being surrounded by loving family and friends makes me feel incredibly successful.
BASTET NOIR: Biggest failure in life and what you learnt from it?
CAROLINA BARTCZAK: One of the things I am constantly working to fix, is to stop trying to get it perfect. Once I decided to become an actor, I was afraid of making the wrong first step. I sat in that paralysis for over TWO YEARS. I didn’t know how to get an agent, or how to audition, or how to perform a scene and I was afraid of getting it all wrong. What I would do now to get those two years back!! So my advice for anyone who wants to start a new career, to become an actor, a director, a marine biologist or WHATEVER: Just take the first f**cking step. Take the first step and you’ll figure out what the second and third step is along the way. Life is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. (I didn’t make that up, someone a lot smarter and more profound than me came up with that quote).
BASTET NOIR: Favorite female empowerment speech.
CAROLINA BARTCZAK: There are so many women that I could name who are smashing that glass ceiling that has held down female (and society’s) progress. The person who most recently inspired me was Michelle Williams during her Golden Globes acceptance speech. Last year she was so thoughtful and succinct regarding equal pay, and this year she topped it with her speech about a woman’s right to choose. She should always win a Golden Globe (even when she’s not nominated) so that we can be inspired by her wisdom and strength on a yearly basis.
BASTET NOIR: What’s in your Bastet Noir cart?
CAROLINA BARTCZAK: I have fallen in love with the The Maiara Dress. The high-Elizabethan-collar and puffed up shoulders are bold, yet feminine and the long slit on the side gives that little soupcon of sexiness. It’s very versatile; you can chic-it-up by wearing it with some boots or some black heels for a black tie event.
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