You will recognize her from having starred in such feature films as “American Pie,” “American Beauty,” “Sugar `n Spice,” and “Rumor Has It” and much more. She is Mena Suvari!
This Hollywood darling is back in the spotlight with several new projects in the works.
She recently wrapped shooting the TV LAND Pilot “AMERICAN WOMAN” starring opposite Alicia Silverstone with John Wells producing.
Additionally, Mena wrapped on BECKS starring opposite Lena Hall and written and directed by Dan Powell and Elizabeth Rohrbaugh.
She maintains some serious clout in a world where it is tough to do so. Recently while shooting Mena for our cover in the in the hills of Calabasas, California, we found that we admired her outlook on life and the fast-paced world of acting. It was inspiring
to speak with her and to simply get a fresh take on the life of a Hollywood actress.
Adrielyn: What age were you when you first realized you wanted to get into acting?
Mena: I was a teenager, but growing up, I always thought I wanted to be an archaeologist.
It wasn’t until later that I realized this was what I wanted to do.
Adrielyn: So what has been the best phase and what was the worst phase in this career journey?
Mena: The best phase? Oh, I don’t know, it’s never black and white to me, it’s always a journey, you know? It’s how life is. It’s always cyclical, there are so many kinds of ups and downs. Being a part of so many different and sometimes pivotal moves in my life, just gave me the sense of learning how to roll with whatever kinda came my way I think, but I don’t really look at my life like this was the best part, and this was the worst part. I think it’s just always been up and down. I’m enjoying the ride, as they say.
Adrielyn: I guess, you have to. Everyone thinks the celebrity life should be coveted, but as I’m sure there can be good, there are probably some aspects you want to keep private in your life with the paparazzi constantly around. That’s probably difficult at times, right?
Mena: I mean, it can be. I’m not like Lady Gaga, you know? (laughing). I can’t even imagine ever really feeling like I’m under a microscope, because I certainly don’t. I mean, I understand that’s an aspect of the business that I’m in, but I’ve always really been drawn to the creative aspect and the work aspect of what I do. That’s what I enjoy. I never really, I guess, was inspired to attain certain things for the sake of fame or success. That was something I never could understand even when I started to become recognized, which is probably right after I worked on “American Pie” and that came out. So that was kind of a little strange when you have to deal with that; feeling like I wasn’t different in any sense or special in any way from anyone else and why someone would want a photo with me or an autograph.
It was kind of weird to wrap my head around.
In my early twenties, there was a moment where I was a little weirded out by it all and kind of wanted to focus on what I was doing and I had to understand that, okay, there’s the Mena who’s still figuring out, you know, that’s the person I have to live with every day and who just continues to mystify me (breaks out a laugh) and whatnot… and then there’s the persona of who you know I am according to other people and that aspect of my work, so I know that’s just part of what I do. And I think that helps me deal with it in a sense that you know everyone is different.
I can’t even imagine being in a situation that some people can be in, and then paparazzi can be very invasive. There’s no real dividing line. The paparazzi has gotten so much worse over the past few years and I feel like I’ve been in this long enough to say that it’s gotten a little bit out of control.
But I think, for the most part, I just feel overall really grateful people have always been really nice. I’ve always felt like they could be throwing tomatoes at me and they’re not. So I feel really grateful.
So I just like to focus on my work and at this point in my life, I feel like I’m really enjoying that. I’ve finally gotten into working more in developing content that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. It creates more of an empowerment in a sense. I feel stronger as a woman to be able to pursue the things that I want and I know that a paparazzi photo doesn’t define me.
Adrielyn: I love that answer and that’s great to hear.
Mena: Awe, thanks.
Adrielyn: Who is your favorite actor that you worked with and why?
Mena: Oh Gosh, you’re asking me all of these “favorite” questions! That always happens! I’ve always admired the career of someone like Betti Davis. In the sense of “that’s the type of actress” and the way she always challenged herself in the types of characters she played.
You know, those roles have always been a huge inspiration to me. There are a lot of people that I absolutely adore and that I would love to have a moment to work with.
Most recently I thought of Sara Polley and I would love to work with her in a sense of having her direct either a project that I work on or work with her in an actor sense. The list is endless.
Adrielyn: What is your favorite “all time movie”, (it doesn’t have to be something you’ve worked on), but that is something you love to watch?
Mena: One of my favorites is a film by Akira Kurosawa called “Dreams”, I just think it’s absolutely beautiful in so many ways. It’s just a stunning film.
Adrielyn: You recently were in the NBC TV series called “Chicago Fire”. I loved your character in it. Are there any plans to be back on that set again?
Mena: No, that was just art that I did, but it was great. It’s really wonderful to play these types of strong women. I mean a campaign manager that was something I guess, that I never thought of myself and then to go in and meet with everyone on that show, it was something that they came in and thought of me, therefore it was a compliment to be considered for that type of role. It was a great experience to have to work in the television world and the way the production runs, was completely intense.
Adrielyn: You’re very fashionable and classy. Who is your favorite designer or are there any that you’ve dreamt about working with?
Mena: That list could go on and on. I must say that some of the dresses I wore at the photoshoot were fantastic and there was one from Waxxbrand that was absolutely fantastic!
I love supporting smaller designers in a sense, but to me I’m always so fascinated with the workmanship that goes into a piece, like the first dress that I wore that had the tulle and the beading. Those things are what that makes each piece unique.
I have a friend by the name of Aliona Kononova and she’s fantastic, but again, she is a smaller designer from Russia. I wore one of her designs the night before our photoshoot, which was for a Hallmark event, with the TCA’s. She had done these animal inspired designs for this specific collection. Her designs are absolutely fantastic! Her work is literally like art.
Those are the things I really appreciate and when I’m given the opportunity to wear them, it’s always a lot of fun. So I don’t always have to be me, I can always play and it’s always liberating.
But then I love the casual comfortable brands such as Helmut Lang, Theory and also really love classic timeless pieces such as Celinè pieces and I’m obsessed with H&M. I’ve nerded out on H&M. I love the collaboration collections. I was able to go to the Balmain one
in L.A . It was crazy to watch the videos when it was released.
Adrielyn: If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Mena: One thing? Oh my God, these questions are so grand!
There are so many things! I’ve traveled the world to enough places that it is just shocking to know that there is no clean water. I mean, the things that a lot of developed nations have and there is absolutely no reason why everyone shouldn’t have complete capability.
Adrielyn: So is there anything new in production or roles that we should look out for?
Mena: I’m filming an independent movie with Dan Powell who is from Inside Amy Schumer and with Lena Hall, Dan Fogler and other great people, so I’m really excited about it. It’s called “Becks”. Also there is a project that I’m attached to, that I will hopefully shoot by October called “Shaving Fish”.
Adrielyn: Are there any global issues that you would like to see end ?
Mena: “Girls Not Brides” is a charity which is a strong enough cause to fight for.
They have about six hundred organizations that have partnered with them over the years which is fascinating. They want to end the child marriage in one generation, which is a big feat but I think it can be done.
Adrielyn: How did you hear about “Girls Not Brides”?
Mena: I had done “Hollywood game night”, which gives you an opportunity to play for your charity and I was researching around and there are so many fantastic causes and charities.
There are a million things I would endlessly support, but I guess I just felt like I didn’t want to go to the top five that everyone talks about or supports. It’s not that those aren’t fantastic organizations, but I just felt, is there a smaller organization or a cause that needs a bit more awareness or needs more fighting for?
So I that’s how I found “Girls Not Brides”. I chose them for that opportunity and unfortunately I didn’t win any money, but it was an organization that I never forgot and so, when I have the opportunity again and where I can align with a charity, I want to choose them.
Adrielyn: I think it’s great that you chose them because, like you said, the world doesn’t know much about it and about the fact that this is going on in other parts of the world, so it needs more awareness.
Mena: I’ve been given so much in my life and if there’s anything I can do in any way possible to help, I’ll do it.
I feel like people on social media; this is something so small in that respect, like for me to talk about a charity or for anyone to talk about something that they love. I mean, the power of that is phenomenal.
You can really create awareness and hopefully change opinions and create real change.
Adrielyn: Since you broke into the business when you were young, what piece
of advice would you offer a teenager who wants to get into acting?
Mena: It’s really important to have a really good relationship with yourself.
I think that is something that I would have loved to have a bit more,
because you can very easily just feel a bit confused and lost when you’re a teenager and you’re going through so many changes and there’s just so much stimulation. I can’t even imagine being a teenager nowadays. We didn’t have Twitter. I didn’t have any of that stuff and I can only imagine that it has to be way more complicated.
I think it’s important to be able to acknowledge the qualities that makes you unique. We’re all “so” unique and we shouldn’t have to try to encapsulate something that you might not be.
I think that’s what we’re taught to do and we were taught to think that way.
For example, “I have to look like this person to feel good about myself” or “I have to have ‘that’ to be successful.” I don’t think that is what really matters in life!
Adrielyn: If you could say anything to the Trend Privé Readers, what would you say to them?
Mena: I talked about a thing in my life called “weeding my garden.”
It’s where I reflected upon my life and everyone who I was connected with and asked myself: “Do these people want the best for me? Do they support me to live up to my fullest potential? Do they love me unconditionally? Do they inspire me?”
All of these things are important in my life, and I feel like we need to have that conversation with ourselves. It’s very important who we surround ourselves with and it’s okay if that ultimately becomes a handful of people. That’s what I would inspire the readers to do.
Adrielyn: It goes without saying that Mss. Suvari was a pleasure to work with, but we are also extremely pleased to be able to share how authentic and positive a person she is. We will take to heart her thoughts on keeping friendships close and beneficial and look forward to seeing the work she does with charity in the future.