The Berlin born-and-bred JULIA MARLEN MAHLKE is an actress with a passion for the art. Still, in today’s cold economic climate being an actress will not always pay all the necessary bills. That’s why JULIA is supporting herself with many different kinds of jobs in between acting projects, like working at a call centre, as pool attendant and recently she has started a course to become a Stand Up Paddling instructor. She knows what she wants and what she is prepared to give. But JULIA tells us it is also very important to know your limits and know when to actually say „no“. Once in a while it’s part of the job to push your limits, and that sometimes happens quite unexpectedly. For example JULIA’s experience on the set of American Showdown. American Showdown is a series of (short) films, produced by a group of friends who have known each other since school and who have developed the films from independent amateur projects to an ambitious action flick. JULIA tells us some more about it…

How did your involvement with American Showdown come about?

In the mid-90s I was attending drama school and that’s when I met Alexander Scheer (Note: Actor and one of the group of school friends who got American Showdown started) at a party. We met up a couple of times after that and talked about all kinds of things, amongst others about our projects. I told him that I originally wanted to be a stuntwoman and he then told me about the American Showdown series he had been producing with his friends under the label of Nine O’Clock Pictures. They were looking for an actress for the next instalment and asked me whether I’d be interested in joining them for a one-week shoot. I thought, sure thing. The week turned out to be the whole summer and I actually skipped a couple of lessons to be able to shoot… I had a tough time, as I had yet to learn how to be around a camera and what it means to work on a set. But that’s what makes American Showdown somehow special – it’s tough and trying, especially physically, but the pictures that the camera captures are simply great. Of course the films aren’t perfect, but that’s exactly what sets them apart and makes them likeable.

Can you describe a typical day in your life? Then again, every day is just a little different, isn’t it?

It is, definitely. And sometimes I am longing for a “normal” daily routine, but of course the ever changing routine becomes part of your everyday life. You have to invent yourself afresh every single day. But I do have a typical day. I get up in the morning and do physical and voice exercises or work on my computer. Around midday I leave the house and go to the call centre, where I stay until evening. Afterwards I go and do sports, like Taekwondo or dancing. Then I relax in the evening, either by going out somewhere or just staying at home.

Apart from acting, what’s important in your life?

Acting is also very important while I’m not involved with projects, so I try and stay fit. For that I exercise, for example by doing Taekwondo, dancing or playing table tennis. I try and choose my part-time jobs, so that they somehow fit in the bigger picture of acting as well. For example my job at the call centre lets me keep my voice in good shape and as pool attendant and Stand Up Paddling instructor I have the fitness aspect in mind again. I also like going to the cinema or the theatre.

How do theatre and film compare? What are the differences of acting in front of an audience or acting in front of a camera?

In a way they are two different jobs. Personally I think that the stage is more demanding. It is so important to be present and fill the space and the physical aspect shouldn’t be underestimated either. Also, a show can demand this every evening. Still, that repetition makes it easier for me, in a way, as I like to be able to think chronologically. You don’t have that when you are filming. As an actress you don’t have that much control. You have to trust the director that he knows what he’s doing and he’s making the film go in the right direction.

Where does acting fit in the year 2015?

Many projects don’t earn you any money, so actors/actresses can’t pay the bills with just acting. Of course I’m asking myself: Does society need me as an actress? There are so many budding actors out there, laymen and professionals, as it’s so easy nowadays to find a platform and publish your work. Still, acting is my passion and I am not ready to give it up yet. I just can’t give it up. That’s why I’m an actress with different sources of income, so I’m quite flexible. It’s definitely important to keep up and stay fit.

JULIA MAHLKE is already looking forward to the upcoming shoot of American Showdown 8. She might not have been aware of it, but in a way she has been waiting for the project since 1999. Part7 was a crazy experience, but that’s exactly why it’s so important to her. It’s not an everyday kind of project. American Showdown is counting on crowdfunding, so they are looking for sponsors on Startnext before they start shooting, so that they can fully realise all of their ideas in a professional manner. It’s not always easy, but JULIA will follow her dream, wherever it may lead her. And even if acting is said to be an “insecure source of income”, we can only ask ourselves what actually is a secure job nowadays? JULIA knows that her job is her passion and ultimately that’s the most important thing.

Text: Sophie Jüterbock

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Julia as "Showdown Girl" in American Showdown 7

You can find out more about AMERICAN SHOWDOWN here:

or you can check out the free "SHOWDOWN APP" in the known App stores!

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