Interview with model and actress Tristan Risk
Interview with talented artist, model, burlesque dancer and actress Tristan Risk. Besides acting she also dabbles in Circus performances, Burlesque shows and Fetish modeling. She talks about her roles in horror films (American Mary, Ayla, Fetish Factory, Madre De Dios, Innsmouth), her love for the horror genre and her future plans.
Hello Tristan. First of all thank you very much for taking the time to talk with me. You're a talented artist, a stage performer and fetish model, you also do burlesque... Please talk to us about your interesting performances and something about yourself.
T.R.: I always make the joke that I'm married to the stage, but I've taken the screen as my misteress... I adore working with film, but I know that my first love is live performance. Whether it's hosting an event or burlesque dance or sideshow, I love that rush that comes from sharing the moment of live art creation with an audience.
You’re also an actress. How did you get into acting?
T.R.: I've been an actor as long as I've been a dancer. I got started in high school and just did it off and on for a while, It wasn't until just before Mary when I had started to slowly return to the stage in theatre, and then I got cast as Beatress. From then on I found more work coming my way acting-wise, so I though better of fighting it, and just enjoyed what adventures that path brought.
You starred in American Mary (2012), the Canadian horror film directed by the Soska Sisters and in which you play the character Beatress Johnson. The film deals about body modification. What do you think about the body art?
T.R.: I love it. Due to the need to be somewhat chameleonic in my appearance as an actress now, I myself can't get all the tweaks I would have. Nut I very much enjoy it on other people, much the same why you go to a gallery to enjoy and appreciate art. I also see a lot of discrimination still against people with body modifications as well, so I have a lot of respect for people who are being true to their artistic visions of themselves.
“American Mary” is one of your first big roles in a full length feature film and I know you're a very busy actress now because you have some exciting films coming out... please talk a little bit about your growing acting career. How has your life changed?
T.R.: I think the only thing that's changed is that I'm able to work with more and more folks in the film industry. I've been very lucky to work with some incredible people and do things that I think will shine brilliantly and that I'll still be really proud of in years to come. I'm very lucky to be a working actress in this industry and I'm also fortunate I'm still able to walk the line between live shows as a burlesque dancer still and this. I know that were my name more mainstream, it might not be as easy to do both. In this case, I feel very much like I'm having my cake and eating it, too.
What can you tell us of the recent roles you’ve filmed? Can you give us some information on that and who you play in Ayla, Fetish Factory and Madre De Dios? What do you think about these films?
T.R.: I'm super excited that after a successful crowd-funding campaign (thank you, to everyone who contributed!) Ayla will be going to camera in early 2016. I'm really excited to work on this with Elias and his crew. This is a story that's haunted me since I read the script, and I look forward to bringing it to life. Fetish Factory, directed by Staci Layne Wilson, is a throwback to old campy glories of flock velvet wall paper catching glitter off of shimmying showgirls. This combines tow of my favourite things: pin-ups and zombies! It was shot in goegous LA and I had the pleasure of working with fetish icon Richard Cardinal, aka The Richard! Madre De Dios is from Vancouver's berserker team Luchagore Productions. I have a dilemma as a seemlng sacrifice to two old Brujos. This is so slick, and so messed up, that I'm certain there will be more than a few special interest groups out there sending us hate mail...
You also star in Izzy Lee's Innsmouth. Tell us something about your role in it.
T.R.: For anyone au fait with the works of Lovecraft they will know the fictional own of Innsmouth and it's inhabitants. I play the town matriarch, Alice Marsh, who is harbouring a secret from the investigating detective played by Diana Porter. I draw her in to determine what, if any, threat she is to my position within the town.
Who would be your biggest influences as an actress? Who would you like to work with and what role would you love to play?
T.R.: I have tons of influences that are all over the map: Grace Jones, Alice Cooper, Mae West, Geena Davis... the list goes on. Some of the roles I still hope to play are in a high fantasy type film or something with half suit actors and half live action like Labyrinth. I'd also love to do a cyberpunk film before the end of my days.
What are you more interested in, acting or modeling/live performances?
T.R.: I like having a healthy does of all three. I find it keeps things fresh from one medium to another and gives me a challenge.
Have you always been a fan of the horror genre? What are your top 5 favorite films of all time?
T.R.: Always. It started with Michael Jackson's Thriller, and I never looked back from there. But I have some titles that are my favorite go-tos for horror: Cat People (1982) – Whenever I hear this, I think of David Bowie growling over the film of Natasha Kinski looking feral as fuck. It was one of those 'ah-ha' moments in the awakening of my sexuality when I came across that.
Jaws – This film, almost 50 years later, still has the power to make people bolt like crazy from the water. No other film has withstood the test of time with that kind of consistency. Just showing footage upsets people. What a wonderful thing to have this much power as a work of fiction on people.
Return Of The Living Dead – Because punk rock and zombies just pair so well together. A fun little romp with some 'yikes' moments without losing it's tongue in cheek. And who doesn't like to blast that soundtrack and cruise around on a Friday night?
White Zombie – An almost-silent film with Bela Lugosi, and we get to see why he is without question, the master. Eerie and ethereal, this 20s spooky story will have you curling your toes.
An American Werewolf in London – Because: werewolves. And practical effects. And werewolves.
Any new other films or projects you have coming out soon? What are your future plans?
T.R.: In June I completed shooting in Atlanta for James Bickhert's Frankenstein Created Bikers, where I played bad ass bomb-throwing babe, Val. I also was in Boston and shot Izzy Lee's 'Innsmouth' which is now starting the festival rounds. As well, I wrapped shooting Luchagore's 'Madre De Dios', which will be seen on CryptTv. And come October I'll be heading out on the road with my circus collective, The Caravan Of Creeps and hitting Toronto for Horror-Rama!
Would you like to leave a message?
T.R.: Much love to you all, lovers and sinners. Please keep it weird and wonderful! XO
I thank you again for your time, Tristan!
Interview by Barbara Torretti