Name: Emilie Germain
Hometown: Puteaux, France
Current Location: Los Angeles, CA
TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Germain: I was 22. I have been acting since age seven – plays exclusively back in France. I always knew I loved acting. I begged my parents to go to theater camp during the summer, but I’m the first actor of the family and making it my living wasn’t something I considered fully until I realized that, “Hey, this is my life and I’m going to do what I love for a living because I can.” When I first transferred to San Jose State as an exchange student, I dropped all my classes for acting classes and shot my first film and completely fell in love with the film-making process. There was no going back after that.
TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Germain: My grandfather would watch me every Wednesday (not a school day in France) and insisted that we watch “Modern Times,” “The Three Stooges,” “Gone with the Wind” and “Some Like It Hot” on rotation. My grandfather was someone very guarded, who rarely showed his feelings. Seeing his face light up when we would watch them, helped me understand, early on, the eternal power of an amazing story on screen. I’ve also been blessed growing up watching phenomenal French actors Josiane Balasko, Nathalie Baye, Sophie Marceau, Vincent Cassel, Gerard Depardieu, Alain Delon… who constantly inspired me by consistently giving themselves entirely in every film they were involved in.
TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Germain: I prioritized the craft and still do. I think that it is the most important element to cherish. I know it is a tough industry. Clearly, it can take years until something significant happens, but acting is the job so when the moment comes, I want to be ready. Of course, there are mandatory steps that I follow: update my reel, shoot new headshots every six months, update my resume, sign up to LA Casting and Actors Access, network, join SAG, get an agent, regularly communicate with my agent, etc., but I also came here with a network of people I went to film school with. Many of them are doing great and I think a support system is essential. I consider most of these people my family of heart. We’ve been through hell and back together and they share my passion and determination. I have their backs and they have mine. Of course, I’ve also met amazing new people along the way. Going 100 percent after my dreams is both challenging and rewarding. I am constantly learning new things about the industry, but being true to myself, knowing what I want and going after it are really the things that stand out. The plan is to keep working hard, keep going forward and trust my gut.
TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Germain: I didn’t exactly move from home directly to pursuing my dream career. I had been acting all my life but I hadn’t considered it as a career until I shot my first film during my first year in the United States. When I moved to San Francisco, all became crystal clear and I enrolled at Academy of Art where I studied acting and started shooting on a regular basis. It’s after I completed my Meisner technique training, that I finally felt it was time for me to move to LA and officially start my career as an actor.
TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Germain: I experienced more of a culture shock moving from San Francisco to LA than I did moving from Paris to San Francisco. It was very hard for me to adjust to the pace, the traffic, the mentality … for over a year. I never had to drive on a daily basis before so that in itself, was something… interesting, and I was coming from a very hippy, chill community into smack middle of Hollywood on my own, so I had a “how to live in LA” phase to go through on top of learning about the industry. Eventually, I found my angels, the area where I really feel at home and work started coming in and has been consistent since.
TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Germain: I have had the privilege to work on several feature films as the lead. That was a big milestone for me. I had led countless shorts but when I first found out I was working alongside Corey Page in the film “Can’t Be Undone,” who I had religiously watched every single day after school back in France on the Australian TV show “Heartbreak High,” it was epic. That same year I got to work with Sally Field in “Hello My Name is Doris,” I got myself a credit on the film “Starry Eyes” and I shot my first lead in a horror feature film “Sweet Kitty.” In 2016, I gave birth to my twin sons Enzo and Sebastien, who play baby Calhoun in “Modern Family” season 8 and as you can imagine, I’ve been pretty busy taking care of my little monkeys for the past year, but now that things are a little less crazy, I am back at it full time and I actually just found out I booked two other features shooting later this year so I’ll keep you posted!
TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Germain: I’ve had the pleasure to play with every genre and I truly love them all. I tend to feel most at home in drama but at the end, what really matters is how the story makes me feel when I first read a script. I am currently working on three features films: a horror, a comedy and a drama. All of them have a very unique perspective and voice and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Part of the fun is being able to travel within all those worlds and bring each story to life. I love working on a film that makes me think about life in a new way and open a dialogue about its message. For that reason there are many many… really many roles I’d like to play.
TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Germain: Empathy. Tenacity. Faith. An infinite imagination and a wide open heart.
TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Germain: My dream acting career simply consists in telling beautiful, powerful stories that empower the voiceless, the underdogs, and other dreamers that intend to do good in this world on an international level. This is why, eventually, I intend to have my own production company to make sure all those films get made.
TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Germain: Believe in yourself and the truth in your heart at all times. In the beginning, train. Take classes. Practice. The most seasoned actors still learn every day because there is always something new to discover. Shoot as many films as you can, student films or your own at first to build your reel and learn how to work on camera until it becomes second nature. Success is when preparation meets opportunity. You can manifest opportunities all day long but you have to be ready for them. It s hard at first to cope with the inevitable amount of rejection that comes with this path but you have to trust that there are roles specifically made for you out there. Always take into consideration that it takes a whole team of committed, passionate and determined people working together to make this happen. Surround yourself with those people. It takes a team to make a dream come true.