Tristan Risk Queen of the Underworld
Nerd Rage News was lucky enough to catch up with the beautiful Tristan Risk. Tristan is most well known for her award winning performance in American Mary but for me she will always be Mitzy from Call Girl. Having appeared in more than a dozen films as well as being a prolific burlesque dancer, Tristan has proven that she is comfortable in front of the camera and it shows in her performances. She is even a fire eater and has been known to hang by her hair. I truly feel deprived having never seen one of her Burlesque shows but I shall be certain to remedy that little failure. As an underground actress, Tristan’s acting often leaves you wondering what she is hiding as she keeps you wanting more.
I think I fist saw you as Mitzy in Call Girl. Tell us a little about Mitzy?
Mitzy is a chick who is like the rest of us – she’s trying to etch out a living the best way she can. Not to say that that way is the most effective way and doesn’t take something of a toll on the people around her, so to speak.
The short was funded by kickstarter. Do you think kickstarter is affecting the film industry? If so how?
I think there are advantages to the Kickstarter revolution. Essentially, you’re pre-selling the movie. It’s great for indie filmmakers to have direct connection to their audiences and gives the latter more of a connection to a film if they backed it. From what I’ve observed, the hardest part of getting any film made is the money part, and then trying to defend your director’s vision from the money people’s vision. It’s not a new thing and helps the artistic integrity of the film remain in one place, rather than get diluted with everyone’s input. The fact that there are larger name actors and directors seeking crowd sourcing I think demonstrates a lot of frustration in the film world with many of the studios wanting to stick to sequels and reboots because they are safer to investors rather than take a leap of faith. Which is sad, as there is a lot of wild talent out there, but it’s a victory for the rest of us who find it and support it. A complete independent subculture in film is alive and well because of it.
How did you actually get into acting?
I’ve actually been an actress for long time. I got my start in community performances, some school plays and musicals and such. I left it for the majority of my adult life because I was busy performing as a burlesque dancers and sideshow performer so I didn’t utilize that part of my life for a while. After I quit my band in 2010, I decided I need to recalibrate and the following summer I did some theater and musicals again, which was right before I shot American Mary. Everything seemed to pick up from there and there was a wonderful organic progression of events from there that led to me doing this on the regular.
Which of your roles would you consider your best performance?
I’d say it’d a toss up between Beatress (American Mary) and Yumi (T Is For Torture Porn), both of which are directed by the Soska sisters. I think Beatress because despite her unconventional appearance, people have a tendency to lose their hearts to her a little bit. Yuri, by contrast makes everyone uncomfortable, not because of who she is, but what’s happening to her. By the time she reveals her true intentions, despite the fact they are horrific, you feel vindicated after what she went through.
Are you into horror outside of your films?
Oh, yes. Very much so. I have always been a horror enthusiast from the days as a child reading everything from Bunnicula to Pet S emetery to scaring the other kids at school, to wanting to live in a graveyard. It’s not just a job – it’s a lifestyle.
As a burlesque dancer you have traveled the world. I am sure you have some interesting stories from those adventures. Can you share one?
Oh, there’s been a few. Getting very drunk after a show in Budapest and somehow scaling a tree in a tutu and heels happened. However, in my advanced state of inebriation, I failed to realize going up was much easier than going down was. So I was stuck, drunk in a tree in a burlesque costume, until a staff worker at the venue could find a ladder and not only bring it but climb up and rescue me out of the tree. Now, I don’t recall this, but I’ve enough reliable witnesses who tell me I had expressed, rather loudly, that I was afraid I was going to fall and held onto the tree. My rescuer was 6’7 and had little trouble plucking me out of the tree, and I was returned to the ground still clutching parts of the branch I’d been holding onto. True story.
You won some awards for your performance in American Mary. What was it like to work with Katharine Isabelle?
She’s a very talented performer. I think her body of work speaks volumes about that. As a person, she will warm up to you and is very sweet. It was an honour to work with her.
Can you tell us about any of your current projects?
I’m currently booking a tour in October with my circus collective, the Pandemonium Shadow Show and Caravan Of Creeps. It’s classic sideshow with a dark cabaret twist, which I’m excited about, since there’s a lot of really talented people I’m touring with for the first time. I’m also heading to Indiana later this month to shoot a feature with Ellie Church, as well! I think I’m finding a healthy balance between my film work and live performances, which is exciting to me, as an artist.
If fans want to find you, where should they look?
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