A few weeks ago, I reviewed the wonderful movie, Fragile World. Today, I’m interviewing its lead actress, Chloe ‘Alexa Jansson’ Russell. Follow our chat below and learn more about this lovely lady!
Miranda ~ Hello Alexa! Delighted to have you here at TBAP. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Chloe Alexa ~ Delighted to get your invite! I’m an actress from Ohio, living in Los Angeles.
I’ve been acting professionally since 2003. Besides acting, I love animals, music, and dancing. I’ve been eating vegan for the past 9 months. I see it as a ‘thank you’ to all the animals who’ve supported my health so far. I also don’t want to support some of the cruel factory farm practices. I’m not saying all farms are cruel. I had ACL reconstruction of my knee in April from a dancing injury. All the new muscle I’ve built since my surgery has been from plant-based protein. I’m kinda proud of that. I also like to make sculpture. Lately, I’ve been making large, sculptural birthday cakes with modeling chocolate and pulled sugar elements.
Miranda ~ When did you first discover God? What particularly led you into a personal relationship with Him?
Chloe Alexa ~ I don’t recall a time or memory when I wasn’t aware of God. I’m not saying I’ve always felt this way, I’m just saying I can’t recall when I didn’t. Further, I can’t imagine the relationship being anything but close. Although, there are times when I’ve felt lost and abandoned, spiritually. But sometimes those moments end up beefing-up the bond, so to speak, in the long run. It’s funny how it works that way.
Miranda ~ When did you first discover your talent for acting? At what point did you decide to use it to serve God?
Chloe Alexa ~ My first feature film audition was in 2003. I didn’t have any training. My educational background was in Biology and Pharmacy. But I was gung-ho to go to this audition. I thought of it like this: this character is a human being, and so am I. So there. Just be that. Anyway, I booked it after a series of auditions. Also, I think it helped that I looked the part and could relate to the circumstances, so it wasn’t a big stretch from who I was. Since then, I’ve tried to embody characters that are more different than I am.
I don’t personally feel or say that I perform in film to serve God. I wouldn’t ever think to describe it that way. It seems bombastic. Do I live for God? Yes. Or rather, I could not live without God. Like, my cells would just implode and I’d be gone. I mean, I guess I could distance myself as far as I could from God, and I might still be breathing, but I wouldn’t be doing anybody any good that way. I do, however, think that it’s important to tell stories. We need stories. We need stories to put our experiences into context. I think every human asks, why? You don’t have to be fancy, or esteemed, or an actor to search for meaning. I would like to show others that they’re not alone in their loneliness or sorrow. I want to entertain people who need to laugh and find humor again. This is who I serve: the audience.
Miranda ~ How different is acting than how you may have initially assumed it to be? Any life lessons?
Chloe Alexa ~ I didn’t realize how different genres of film and TV were from the point of view of the actor. When you’re in the audience, things are funny, things are suspenseful, things are sad. But as an actor, reading commercial copy versus daytime drama, versus primetime TV, versus dramatic film—almost different languages. No, different dialects. Life lessons? Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot or fall on your face sometimes. You won’t grow if you’re too scared of failing.
Miranda ~ What has your journey into film being like? How did it draw you closer to God?
Chloe Alexa ~ When I’m cast in a role I get the opportunity—the privilege, really—to learn another life. Even though the characters are usually fictional, it still teaches me a lot about human emotion. No matter how prepared I am for a role, there is no safety net. Kinda like in life. We’ll never have all the answers. It’s this mystery that compels me to keep acting. It’s fascinating. Plus all my preparation for the role is met with the art of the cinematographer, the director, the writer, the lighting—nobody can ever predict exactly how it will turn out. It’s so collaborative, and so magical.
Miranda ~ Why did you choose to act in Christian movies as opposed to secular?
Chloe Alexa ~ I didn’t choose to act in Christian films over secular films. I consider myself a secular actor. The role of Rosalie in Fragile World was a mixture of haunting and hopeful, loneliness and fulfillment. When they offered me the role I was thrilled. It seemed like an opportunity to show where our humanness ends and our spiritness begins.
Miranda ~ What do you hope to pass across to the people that view the movies you act in?
Chloe Alexa ~ It is not my place to tell audiences what message they should take away from the films I’m in. If I’ve served the story and inhabited the character as fully and authentically as I could, then I’m happy. If I can evoke an emotional reaction in the audience, then I’m over-the-moon happy. That’s my nirvana stuff.
Miranda ~ What other actors/filmmakers have you worked with? How has working with them made you a better actress?
Chloe Alexa ~ I’ve worked with so many great people. E. Elias Merhige made me a better actor because of his artistic approach. He’s not afraid to take risks, and I like that. I also worked with director, Adrián Ramos Morales, and loved his intense observational ability. He listened with his ears and his heart.
Miranda ~ Are you on any project right now? May we have a peek into this project?
Chloe Alexa ~ I’m not filming anything at the moment; I had to take some time off after my knee surgery. But I’ve just returned to auditioning, so we shall see.
Miranda ~ In what way do you believe the Christian film industry is different from the secular? Where do you see the industry in the next five to ten years?
Chloe Alexa ~ I can’t answer that question because I don’t know. How will it evolve? Again, I don’t know. I would personally hope that more Christian filmmakers will follow writer/director Sandy Boikian’s lead, and address human frailty, Christianity, and spirituality without using saccharine tropes of almost-perfect people living almost-perfect lives. Life is far more complex than that. And, I think people need that. They need to see that they’re not the only ones who feel lost sometimes.
Miranda ~ Why should a Christian go into acting? In what way do you believe a Christian actor can impact the world?
Chloe Alexa ~ There’s an opportunity to show that every life has value. To express their humanity. Warts and all.
Miranda ~ What’s the single most inspiring moment in your life? How did it shape your thinking?
Chloe Alexa ~ There are too many to list. One of them is the time I spent caring for my dad before he passed from cancer. Another, is my recent knee injury—I have learned so much from that! I’m actually better off because of it.
Miranda ~ Who are the people that have inspired you the most? How have they done so?
Chloe Alexa ~ My mom is an artist. She inspires me with her relentless creativity. She has made a thousand beautiful things. My mom can make an amazing thing out of practically nothing. My Aunt Monna is a hero to me. She inspires me with her stamina, optimism, industry, strength, and charity.
Miranda ~ What moment in your life has been the most disappointing/difficult? How did you handle it? Looking back, would you do anything differently?
Chloe Alexa ~ It’s difficult to have no guarantees as a creative. It’s easier to be an accountant. At least in terms of the steadiness of it. It’s difficult (to say the LEAST) to try to stop cancer from taking your loved ones. It’s like trying to stop a freight train. But these things can give you the chance to develop your mettle, and your faith. I always look back and retrace my steps. I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
Miranda ~ What are most grateful for—generally/right now?
Chloe Alexa ~ Generally, I’m grateful for my human heart which can feel both great highs and great lows. Right now? Same answer. It’s a tough ride as a person, sometimes, but I’ve learned a lot of compassion through my own inner struggles.
Miranda ~ What advice would you give to anyone going into acting, especially in regards to hard work, and the road to possible fame? Is there anything you’d like to add—a principle that has guided you—not covered by your answers above?
Chloe Alexa ~ What do I have to say? Don’t let anybody make you feel scared or inferior. And, don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and work hard. Be generous with your work. Give a lot. I have no advice to give to anyone seeking fame. Well, I guess reality TV is a bit of a short cut. But well-earned fame kind of happens or it doesn’t. It’s not just about talent.
The last words of advice are from two acting coaches: “Act because it lights you up like a Christmas tree.” – Amy Jo Berman. Another coach of mine, Margie Haber, would say, “Live the Life.” Don’t perform. Live.
This is That (The Fun Questions!)
Coffee, Tea or Mocha? Coffee!
Heels or Flats? Oh, do I have to choose?
Boots or Sandals? Sandals—gladiator style
Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla
Vegetables or Fruits? Again, how can I choose between these two?! I’ll go with vegetables….
Juice or Smoothie? Smoothie. Homemade.
Rain or Snow? Snow
Spring or Fall? Fall. Wait…spring.
Summer or Winter? Summer
Cooking or Cleaning? Cooking. That’s a no-brainer.
Breakfast or Dinner? Dinner. My breakfast is coffee 🙂
Music or Books? Music (but I love books, too. This really isn’t fair!)
Dresses or Pants? Pants
Gym or Outdoor? Lately, the gym, for my knee physical therapy. But I prefer outdoors.
Leather Jacket or Blazer? Leather Jacket hands down. But it’s gotta be vegan leather.
Miranda ~ Thank you, Chloe Alexa, for stopping by today!
Chloe Alexa ~ Thank you so much for having me!
About Chloe ‘Alexa Jansson’ Russell
Chloe was born and raised in the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio.
She currently lives in Los Angeles, California, where she enjoys cooking, fitness training, dancing, and her two Savannah cats. Besides being an actress she’s also a licensed pharmacist and sculptor.