Entertainment Interview

Vanessa de Largie Interview

Vanessa de Largie is both an award-winning actress and a talented author. She was raised in Perth, Australia and attended the Johnny Young Talent School between the ages of 3 and 14. After years of crafting her skills, she landed the lead role in A Nocturne: Night of the Vampire and the film earned her The Best Female Actor award in Melbourne’s Underground Film Festival in 2007. Fast forward to 2015 and she will be starring in an upcoming European horror film called Laundry Man. Below, de Largie was delighted to give us the scoop on her upcoming role and her newest book.


©John Warren

Cliché: What drew you to become an actress, and what have you enjoyed the most about your career thus far?
Vanessa de Largie: My mother was a film buff, and my father was an avid reader and vinyl collector. I grew up in an environment that encouraged creativity. When I was 3 years old, my mother enrolled me in the Johnny Young Talent School, where I trained in singing, dancing, and acting for a decade. At 14, mum got me my first agent, the late Erica Edgley. My first television audition was for the role of Angel in Home and Away. The role eventually went to Melissa George, another Perth actress (Alias, The Good Wife, Muholland Drive).
In 2006, I got my first lead role in an independent horror film. The film was called A Nocturne: Night of The Vampire (distributed by TROMA). It was accepted into the main program in elite film festivals throughout Europe and I flew over as a guest. Traveling to Belgium, Greece, Ireland, England, and Holland with the film remains the highlight of my career—possibly the highlight of my life.
You play a character named Netty in the upcoming European horror film Laundry Man. Can you tell us a little more about that?
I am very excited to be working with film director Johan Vandewoestijne (who was the executive producer of the Belgian cult classic Rabid Grannies). The film is being shot in Kortrijk, Belgium later this year. I play the role of Netty, a lesbian who gets killed by a serial killer (played by Gunther Vanhuyse). The story is partly based on the crimes committed by American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, as well as the crimes committed by Belgian-Hungarian pastor Andras Pandy.
What drew you to this film and to your character?
The script is AMAZING. Totally fucked up! I have worked on an array of horror films over the last decade. I love being killed on film and getting all weird and bloody. It’s great fun. I think I will be able to do a lot with Netty and push boundaries.
You are also a successful author. When did you realize you wanted to write a book?
Writing is my soul. I love storytelling. I love sharing my truth. I have experienced a lot of tragedy for someone who is only in their 30s. I lost my parents and my brother in my mid-20s. If I stopped writing, I’m pretty sure all my pain (which is lurking under the surface) would engulf me.  When I keep busy and devote myself to my work, I don’t have to think about anything. I don’t have family—I have writing, acting, and myself.
Tantric Afternoons is a personal account of your sensual journey. What inspired you to write this book, and what do you hope people will take away from it?
I am a sexually liberated woman; I am also a sex-positive feminist. I believe that in order for women to achieve true freedom and equality, they must not be oppressed sexually. Men can sleep around and it’s accepted, but if a woman chooses to sleep with an array of partners, she is dealt the shame card. My erotic memoir Tantric Afternoons is unabashed and unapologetic. I talk about my sexual encounters honestly and without shame. Sexuality and sensuality are beautiful things—they should be embraced.
You have said that “strong, sexual female protagonists, both on the page and on the screen,” inspire you. What exactly is it about them that you admire? Is there someone in particular who inspires you the most?
I think to portray females in popular culture as creatures who crave marriage, intimacy, emotion, and children is a massive generalization. There is no doubt that there are many women (perhaps even a majority of women) who do seek these things, but the majority never justifies the whole.  I want to see women like myself represented in popular culture—women with rampant sexualities that don’t crave any of those things. Authors like Anais Nin and Catherine Millet come to mind as people who inspire me most. I also have an incredible amount of respect for courageous feminist/porn star/sexologist Annie Sprinkle. What an inspiration!
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Your award-winning book Don’t Hit Me! is also a very personal story, this time about your struggles with domestic violence. What was it like to experience that at such a young age, and what have you learned from it?
One never forgets the first time they are punched; it makes you very wary of men in general. During that time in my life, my journal was my witness—it was the place I went to feel safe. I decided to self-publish my raw journal and titled it Don’t Hit Me! Within two weeks, it was a #1 Amazon Best Seller and went on to win two international awards, as well as receiving critical acclaim from around the globe. In January of this year, it was picked up by Seattle publisher Booktrope and re-released as a paperback and an eBook. I am very fortunate to have survived domestic violence; some women aren’t as lucky. If my book can encourage one woman to leave her deadly predicament, then it has been a success.
How did you feel to share such intimate details with the world? Were you nervous by the reception at all?
My violence happened at the hands of a well-known Australian actor, so I was more worried about him finding out. I do not name my abuser in the book as I feel it is unnecessary. I also don’t think it would be fair to his children, whom I have a great deal of respect for. Writing is a place where I feel safe. I like to peel away all the layers and reveal my truth. They say the truth will set you free. I hope to achieve healing for myself and others through sharing this story.
What’s next for you? Do you have any other books or films coming down the pipeline?
Well, I have just joined The Huffington Post as a writer/blogger, so that is certainly a milestone in my career thus far. My memoir Without My Consent launches at the end of 2015—it is about a ‘sexual assault’ I survived at 20. Next month I go on a blog tour for my book Don’t Hit Me!, so life is certainly busy.
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Vanessa de Largie Interview: Featured image courtesy of Damjan Janevski

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