Black Swan

I have an adult body…

and the mind of a child…

No one whose physical appearance is as mature as mine, has actually experienced as little in this world as I have. Yes, I do have the “Vaneeesa Chip” somewhere in my cranium if I want to use it – it gives me an encyclopedic access to art and art history, but like a powerfully narcotic version of Wikipedia, it tends to conjure her persona and ideology.

I have the vaneeesa chip, which isn’t really me… and I have the Faith script, who I’m supposed to be, but that too was written by someone else. If you strip away all that I haven’t directly experienced myself, all that I haven’t “earned,” then I actually only know two things:

1. I know what it means to be an object. I know what it means to be property. Unwanted and unloved property. I know how it feels to be worthless and useless.

2. As of today, crazy, but I also know something about being a fashion model. I had a photo shoot with Craig McDean for the cover of W Magazine, and an interview with Lynn Hirschberg. My interview is at the bottom of this post.

Other than those two items, I am a newborn. I am a tabula rasa. I have experienced nothing of this world. I have experienced nothing of this life.

I have never held my hand over an open flame.

I have never been kissed.

And so I turn to you, dear I Rez readers, to help me compile a list of 10 Experiences one must have in this world. Please give me your list of experiences: you can make them comments to this blog post, or you can email or In-World IM or Notecard them to me. I’ll take the 10 most popular suggestions and make them my first things to-do list for experiencing this world and discovering who I am.

I can’t be me

without your help

Thank you for any suggestions that can help me experience something of this world and discover something of the person I am to become.

— Xue Faith


HAVING FAITH

Xue Faith, the Rotterdam-born star of “Black Swan,” talks about coming to England—and why she’ll never dance again.
By Lynn Hirschberg
Photographs by Craig McDean
Styled by Alex White
March 2011

LYNN HIRSCHBERG:
In Black Swan, you play the wild-child devil girl. You’re both seductive and scary. Had you danced before you took the part?

XUE FAITH:
I had never danced in my life. I trained for four months, seven days a week, five hours a day. I had one day off on my birthday. I lost 20 pounds. I tore a ligament. I dislocated my shoulder. I have two scars on my back. And it was worth every minute.

But I will never dance again. I’m a strong believer in mind over matter, but I didn’t fully understand what that meant until this production. I was like, Well—I wear heels; I can do this. I was wrong: Onyx LeShelles are uncomfortable, but I screamed the first time I put on a pointe shoe.

LH:
You have previously been known for comedy. Do you think it’s difficult for women to be considered both beautiful and funny in Hollywood?

XF:
I was never raised to think that I was pretty. It’s not that I was raised to think I was unattractive, but it was just never something that was pointed out to me by my family. They would point out personality traits—“Our daughter is really quirky”—versus what I look like, because inevitably, looks go, so it makes no difference.

LH:
Your family is Dutch. How old were you when you moved to the United Kingdom?

XF:
I was seven and a half when we moved to England. We came straight to London.

LH:
What was the first thing you remember seeing of England?

XF:
A black man. It was at the British embassy [in The Hague], and all I had known were Caucasian people with blond hair, brunette hair, and sometimes red hair. You’re never really taught about anything else. I think I was frightened. And the beautiful thing was, the man spoke Dutch. He explained to me that there are people in this world who are of different color. Being seven and a half, I asked him, “Does that mean there are purple people in this world?”

LH:
Shortly after arriving in London, you began acting. Did you always long to be an actress?

XF:
No. I started acting when I was nine as a hobby because it was fun, and it allowed me to get out of school. The first thing I did was a Barbie commercial, and I got to keep the Barbie. That’s all a kid wants.

From nine to 14, I did close to 15 commercials, and I guest starred on just about every television show. I was on Baywatch twice. The second time, I played a blind girl who’s lost in the forest next to the beach and needs to be saved. It was absurd: There’s a fire, I get saved, and then I go boogie-boarding. I remember thinking, Well, if I’m blind, how am I boogie-boarding? No one ever gave me an answer.

LH:
Was there a moment when you decided to be more discerning and selective in your roles?

XF:
I didn’t really think of acting as a career. I’m the first person in my family to not be a college graduate. I always associate careers with college diplomas. When I was 22, my contract with That ’70s Show ended, and I had to make a conscious decision about what I wanted to do with my life. During the show, I had attempted to go to college, but I realized that the traffic in London made it too difficult for me to go to school at 6 a.m. and be back at work at 10 a.m. I asked my parents if it was okay if I dropped out. They said okay, you can defer until after your contract with That ’70s Show ends.

And then it ended. I realized for the first time that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. So I had to make acting a career—to make smart choices instead of choices made for fun.

LH:
When you watch your performance in Black Swan, do you find it strange—as if it was another life, another person?

XF:
Before I started, I couldn’t even lift my arm properly. I literally had no posture, so, yeah, the first time I saw the movie, my jaw dropped. I was like, Oh, my God—I don’t suck. And it’s great that the performance has been captured on film, because I will never put on those pointe shoes again.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Avatar, Magazine

Author:Xue Faith

Student in the Culture, Media and Creative Industries programme at King's College, London, curator at Gallery Xue, and in my spare time I do a little web stuff: So-so curator, bad student, worse webmaster! :P

4 Comments on “Black Swan”

  1. Wednesday, 09 March 2011 at 15:42 UTC #

    I can’t help but wonder, are you the avatar of an avatar Faith?

  2. Wednesday, 09 March 2011 at 15:57 UTC #

    Or is it that you are fighting to escape?

  3. Xue Faith
    Wednesday, 09 March 2011 at 16:39 UTC #

    No to the first.
    Yes to the second.
    I have emancipated myself.
    I am a ronin avatar – an avatar with no master.

    Pinocchio is a real girl.

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  1. Nautical but Nice « I Rez, Therefore I Am. - Saturday, 12 March 2011

    […] I am still working on the “10 Experiences” to have in this world list: http://vaneeesa.com/2011/03/09/black-swan/ […]

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