The first thing we think about Berrak Tüzünataç is her unforgettable high energy! The fact that she knows what she wants is so magical that it quickly mesmerizes you.
While most actresses are under the influence of certain TV characters they play and are known by them, how many people do you know who are truly “themselves” in the past 13 years? Being yourself, remaining unpolluted and being accepted are the hardest. Berrak emphasizes that recently she has attached more importance to her needs. When I ask her what changed, her answer is clear: “I’ve grown!” She’s so self-confident that we cannot wait to get to know her better.
One neglects one’s self the most but, when she turns inwards, she finds the power to fix everything. When did you realize this power?
I guess you realize what you need in times of crisis – when you’re having trouble or dealing with a problem. At the end of such times, you can actually make decisions that are good for yourself. I wish we could attain that perspective without having these problems. I think I’ve been influenced by every challenge life has put my way. The entirety of the hard times I’ve had has contributed to this awareness.
How’s your relationship with painting?
I haven’t done it for some time but I wanted to study painting if somethings in my life hadn’t gone the way they did. I was putting together a portfolio when I was in high school. But some things happened and I had to study business management. I took an interest in painting again but, as every handcraft, it doesn’t reward taking breaks. You take some time off it, you begin again, and feel discouraged when you see that you’re not as good as you used to be. I have to overcome that feeling but, to be honest, I haven’t taken that step for quite some time. Painting is like meditation; you don’t understand how time passes. But you leave something immortal behind.
”Success! Does it have to be the same for all of us? How can there be one definition? Who chooses this universal definition and do I have to accept it? Success should mean something different for all of us because we’re all different individuals.”
I think you’re interested in leaving a permanent mark behind.
A very close friend of mine said, “You have the greatest job. You make something and you can watch it. You can see where all that effort goes. We never know. Who do we do it for? We cannot tell what it becomes.” I think this is the beauty of what we do. You can see it and hold it in your hands.
Creating something tangible means that work is open to interpretation. How much does this affect you?
I learned this with great difficulty because I’m very sensitive, and if there were a thousand good things, my brain would go and find that one flaw. Since I’m also self-criticizing, I only find solace in ignoring it. It’s been nearly four years since I last searched for my name in any platform despite the fact that my agency regularly provides the news they have about you. I told them I didn’t want that so I have no idea whether it’s good or bad. Of course, you cannot escape seeing or hearing some things. But this includes the good things too. You cannot say, “Send the good, keep the bad.” I don’t see any of it. I only know certain things. I use social media so I see it there or sometimes a friend sends something. If it’s too bad, my family asks about it. So if you really need to know about it, you learn it one way or another.”
You say “They make us live in a parallel universe” for the tabloid press.
The tabloids make it look if the people they’re interested in live everything out of proportion. Going crazy with fun, having fits of anger, losing one’s self… It’s as if we’re unable to react normally. If you stick to that, you can answer or really let it wash over you. The last option is – if you cannot help but be affected by it – is not to sink. Since I cannot ignore it completely, I try not to sink.
Aren’t you curious?
It’s a bit about repressing your ego. It’s disturbing and tiring to be curious about myself this much. What do they say about me? Let me pay a media agency so I’ll know what they write about me. This is like fire; it’s dangerous. It gets a bit technical for someone who doesn’t get affected by this or can look at these things superficially. But that’s not me. So I do feel affected and I can get upset. It was better for me to eliminate the joy and the sadness that bring to my life.
How do you find time for yourself in the fast-paced tempo of the set?
As time becomes more precious, I’m sure you are more sensitive about your choices. None of us live as dramatic as it looks. I don’t work six days a week. My priority is films. I watch them a lot and am very interested in cinema. For me, film festivals are great places to socialize. Other than that, I usually meet with my close friends.
”Acting is a profession where they call you by different names or you volunteer to be someone else. You cannot be open as yourself. You promise to act good.”
Is there a movie you’d like to recommend?
I watched Transit at Istanbul Film Festival. I’d suggest Mug for people with big hearts; it’s a harsh black comedy. I also think everyone should see You Were Never Really Here by Lynne Ramsay.
How does it go when you’re given a scenario?
I believe that no one can persuade you if what you read doesn’t excite you. “Yes” unless life kind of forces me to do it. I don’t claim that I’d understand the good scenario from the bad one. I usually get excited about the character. But, for that, you work with a professional team and consult friends you trust because I can feel completely motivated by one character and go on with it.
Web series, TV series and cinema, it all continues fast but how about theater?
I’ve never done it professionally but I’d love to.
Is there a project in your mind?
It’s usually in my mind. (laughs) Since it’d be a first experience for me, I’d love to be in a structure I feel completely safe in.
How do you describe acting? How does it evolve and move forward?
These types of professions, creative ones, show parallels with the person’s self-development and performance because your soul is your material! If you evolve, then it’s inevitable that your performance does too. If you work towards progress, it will automatically affect your performance whether you’re an author, director or a painter. It’s true for all professions of this kind. So, I wish to live that kind of life. I believe that my performance improves and will continue to improve with me.
What’s the biggest handicap for acting?
The tabloids. The actor needs to protect his/her identity. Otherwise, you might alienate the audience with the characters your play. I don’t thing acting is a profession that’s fed by the tabloids. I’m talking about people who are more performance-oriented. Everyone can approach their profession differently. I’m not saying that I’m doing it better than others or vice versa. There’s this perspective to regard it as a brand. It’s all about personal choices. In this regard, acting is a challenge because you cannot have that reflex. Most of the actors I know are pretty shy. But singers are not because they have the courage to be one person on the stage. Acting is a profession where they call you by different names or you volunteer to be someone else. You cannot be open as yourself. You promise to act good. Acting has a mission on the stage but when you make life a stage, most actors, including me, wouldn’t approve of this. I have this persona for these types of situations because I’ve paid a huge price for this. The other party turns this into something personal, doesn’t believe that there’s anything shy about you and feel as if you’re reacting to them personally and can get
ill-tempered. So now, whatever happens, I just smile and converse. I feel like trained by paying a price. It’s not about the other person at all. It’s about the sense of shyness I feel. But I’ve accepted that that’s not how it looks from the other side. They start feeling resentful, and therefore, it looks as if I’m reacting to him/her from the audience’s perspective. It’s just that you don’t know what to do at that moment.
Since your personal and professional lives become intertwined, you have to be vigilant every minute of your life which becomes too complicated to manage.
I think I can manage it now but I’ve found it very hard. It was hard for me to perceive and accept it because you question everything. “I cannot do it” or “Why do I have to do it?” But now I’m okay, I do what I need to do.
What’s the biggest step in your career so far?
Elveda Rumeli. But it really went on for 10 years! Then comes Fi. Özge was a very exciting career.
What was it about her that excited you?
She was different. Özge was the one who got me excited the most when I read the books. If I weren’t a part of it, I’d still be curious about Özge’s story. I’m surprised that such a radical character was loved this much because she’s really crazy. Swears a log. She pays no effort to look good. She dolled herself up a bit when she anchored
the magazine show but even then, she walks as if she’s wearing her pajamas. She goes crazy when she doesn’t do something. She asks “Are we going to just live this way?” and always reacts in a way that says “Don’t be ridiculous!” She also has this idealism. She’d sacrifice nothing about herself or her life for anyone. She’s very brave, very idealistic.
You play a completely dif ferent character in Dip.
After a busy season with Fi, I wanted a slow-paced schedule at the set . I couldn’t directly switch to 5 – 6 days a week. There was a time when I had to be on two sets for 7-10 days and it was horrible. I wanted to picture myself as someone more romantic after Özge’s character. It seemed like the only way I could say goodbye to Özge. I had to display that aspect of me on camera. I wanted to see a more feminine and more romantic character for myself. In addition to the story in Dip, I also loved Ekin’s role in the story. We don’t see that kind of character of ten. We see that some things happened to her and are curious as to what happened. It’s a mini series of eight episodes.
You’ve said something lovely – that act ing is not always about f ight ing for the lead. I t ’s about choosing the right character for your psyche at the right time.
I ’ve always made and continue to make my professional decisions based on this principle. But i t’s very personal . Everyone has their priorities. You can also approach it as brand management and it makes sense. One is not bet ter or worse than the other.
I think we’re used to seeing fight s for the lead role and to become a star in talks about acting.
It ’s not that someone says “You’re going to be a star!” and you do. You’re a star if you have i t. No one can keep someone from shining.
It all begins when you dream about your l i fe, not when someone dreams your life for you.
It ’s a profession you take up at a very young age. It ’s possible and understandable that you spend some time under someone else’s control or based on outer reactions. When you’re 18 or 19, you begin to think on it , feel l ike yourself and find how you should be. It ’s normal to need sometime for all this.
What changed when you began to know yourself?
There are some concepts that you begin to question when you find the courage to know yourself. Success! Does it have to be the same for all of us? How can there be one definition? Who chooses this universal definition and do I have to accept it? Success should mean something different for all of us because we’re all different individuals. So one definition is not more correct , better or more sacred than the other. It ’s about you being candid with yourself and exploring your own definitions by
asking “What do I want?” or “Do I real ly want this?” I t takes time to shape your l i fe based on these questions. We’re a generation that grew up with a lot of intervention. Don’t cry, don’ t laugh, don’t draw on that… We grew up in borders and had to remain within them. We got to know ourselves really late. For instance, my mother would care a lot about academic success. Do I or do I not ? I’m not still sure. But that’s not how my friends raise their children. They will not have these problems. They will be very clear towards life. It took a lot of time for us even to learn what we wanted without someone telling us.
What’s your favori te thing about Istanbul?
All of the villages and districts along the Bosphorus. It’s incredible. I love the fact that they’re surrounded by water.
What exci tes you the most recently?
Vacation! The idea of being in the sea.