INTERVIEW WITH BE HERE NOWISH CREATORS
interviewed by Felicity Kinsella for i-D Magazine
There's a new generation of post-Girls, girly internet telly sweeping the nation and Natalia and Alexandra are its ringleaders! Be Here Nowish tells the tale of two New York girls who escape the party-work-party-work fast lane life of the big city for new-age LA, the city of sun, sea and sexual awakenings. Creating a show without judgement or taboo, Natalia and Alexandra highlight the humour in, but also fully indulge in, the rituals of their spiritual bootcamp. Told in six minute installment's over ten episodes, the pilot premiered online through the Tribeca Film Festival's new N.O.W. section and every Thursday, three new episodes will be released on their site beherenowish.com. With guest appearences from Karley Scortino of cult sex blog Slutever, and bands like TV on the Radio, CSS and Creep, Be Here Nowish has a veritable feast of characters from yoga-loving lesbians to drug delivery girls. We speak to the shows protagonists...
Where are you from?
Natalia Leite: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Alexandra Roxo: Born in Miami, raised in Atlanta and summers in Brazil because my dad is Brazilian.
How did you meet each other?
Alexandra: We met through mutual friends in our community here in Brooklyn a few times but then bonded over drinks and dating frustration one night at a party called "Misster."
What were your first impressions of each other?
Natalia: I was fascinated with Alexandra's hair of course! I could tell she was going through a time of transition, having gone through a recent break-up etc, and I too was going through a time of change, both in our Saturn return. She seemed very open and maybe looking for a new friend, and I wanted that too.
How did the idea for Be Here Nowish come about?
Natalia: We both wanted to make something immediate that we had full creative control of and didn't have to wait for a lot of money or producers to make it happen. We wanted to do something with our friends and that was a representation of our community, which we feel gets little exposure in the media.
How similar do you think you are to the character you play?
Natalia: There is a side of me that is definitely a little reckless and in the past I was scared of commitment, like my character. I'm also someone who can be a little bit of a sceptic, and likes to have fun and put herself in adventurous situations for the life experience of it. So I can draw from these sides of my personality and past to play the character in the show. But in real life, I have a strong spiritual practice and I am responsible and ambitious, and I'm now happily in a committed relationship.
Alexandra: Sam (the character I play) is a heightened version of myself in some ways, in other ways she is very different than me. She is much more innocent and naive at times... and a bit more kooky.
How much of what happens in the series has actually happened to you or someone you know in real life?
Natalia: A lot of it. Both Alexandra and I are spiritual seekers. We've tried a lot of different practices on our own and together. A lot of it is based on real life stories.
Alexandra: We didn't put anything in the show that we haven't experienced or that our close friends haven't.
What’s your favorite scene from the series?
Natalia: I love the plant medicine ceremony scene in Episode 7. It was so funny and weird directing a scene where everyone is the room is having a psychedelic experience and throwing up canned mushroom soup. Kyp Malone played the shaman and that was really special to watch because he had just recently cast me in the TV On The Radio music videoMillion Miles that we all worked together on.
Have you had a spiritual awakening in real life?
Natalia: I grew up with a mom who had strong beliefs in spirituality but I was always a little sceptical of it growing up. I think I'm always having mini-spiritual awakenings because I'm constantly learning new things about it, but the most significant moment for me was when I did my first Peyote ceremony. I got invited into this pretty closed circle and barely knew anyone who was a part of the ceremony, and just wanted to try it out. It really had an impact on me because up until then I had sort of let go of the beliefs that were associated to growing up in my mom's house.
Have you ever seen a psychic?
Natalia: Yes, I have. I don't really want to know what's going to happen in my future so I don’t have a desire to talk to psychics about that. There's also a lot of phony people out there. But I did once go to this psychic in LA at the House of Intuition that was really good. She told me I was going to start acting long before I started working on Be Here Nowish and until then I had no intention of ever being in front of the camera.
Alexandra: I have seen many different types of psychics, healers, intuitives... For me most of the people I've worked with don't predict the future for you but instead help guide you towards learning the lessons that you need to learn in this lifetime. I did see an amazing person in LA a few years back and she said some pretty spot on things about my life. She worked at House of Intuition where we shot a scene from our show in LA. I highly recommend it if you're ever in LA.
Have you ever experimented with tantric sex?
What did you think?
Alexandra: It can be pretty awesome.
What were you like as a teenager?
Natalia: Very curious, pretty independent, artsy. When I was a freshman some of the jocks in my school would make fun of me by saying I looked like the girl from The Craft. Ha! I also had a hippie phase where I wore long skirts and dated a guy with dreadlocks from Chile and read Be Here Now andDoors of Perception and experimented with psychedelics. I hung out mostly with boys and was part of the rave scene in Sao Paulo.
Alexandra: I got suspended from the cheerleading squad for smoking. Wait, that was when I was a pre-teen. As a teen I went to Phish concerts and lost my virginity to a boy who sang me sweet songs on the guitar and was expelled for selling acid at school. But I also did volunteer work and was the president of about 10 clubs at school and had an after school job and an internship. I was an over-achiever who could party on the weekends and still get all A's.
What’s the best party you’ve ever been too?
Alexandra: Maybe this rave in the middle of the Italian mountains. I rode on a Vespa with someone I just met and I spent the night sober, dancing and meditating alone. It was my first weekend living in Italy.
Are you in love?
Alexandra: Very much so right now with so many things: my Vitamix, which Natalia bought me for my birthday and where I make green smoothies and raw vegan ice creams, the showBroad City (I think those chicks are hilarious!) and a special person who hails from Israel and is always stealing glasses from bars.
What are the benefits of doing a web series rather than a TV show?
Alexandra: It's quicker to make and easily shareable.
Do you think it’s the future of TV?
Natalia: Yes, definitely. Most people I know don't have cable and watch all the shows online.
What is your favourite TV program?
Natalia: So many good TV shows out right now... I loveOrange is the New Black, True Detective, House of Cards, and Breaking Bad was one of my favorites.
What is your favourite online series?
Alexandra: High Maintenance is great.
Who is your dream girl?
Natalia: A tall Australian with big curly hair who makes fried eggs in the shape of little men.
Alexandra: I still am kind of in love with Paz de la Huerta. I like the messy, the imperfection of her and she oozes sex. My friend Shula Melamed (who plays my boss in Be Here Nowish) and I trade sexy pictures of Paz when we are having a hard day.
What are the funniest quotes from the series?
Natalia: "Group sex solves everything" which is something that Karley Sciortino said.
Alexandra: Liz Armstrong who is an awesome writer and story edited the show and also plays Drom, a character who helps our character's get ready for our plant medicine ceremony has some good ones: "Release your golden stream!" is a fave. When she's telling us to piss in a jar and drink it.
What are you up to this summer?
Natalia: Shooting a feature film in New Mexico!
Alexandra: We're going to New Mexico to shoot Natalia's feature film BARE and then I'd REALLY like to take a vacation and go to the Grand Canyon or something.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.