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Giselle van der Wiel: Running a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Actress Giselle van der Wiel shot by Marcus Walters

Giselle van der Wiel has always had the understanding that it’s important to achieve longevity in the entertainment business, and therefore see things as a marathon, not a sprint. “It’s important to pace yourself,” she explains, “and not take on too many projects or try to do too much. That applied when I was starting out as an actor, and knowing not to do too many classes or audition for too many things, or today, and knowing that I shouldn’t do too much press.” She laughs on this last comment, such is the self-effacing nature of her sense of humour. It’s true however, as Giselle is well-known for not being too caught up with being in the public eye, but simply being a working actor who jumps from project to project, seeking out interesting characters while working with a long-list of seasoned directors.

Indeed, Giselle has worked with famous actor Matt Day (who worked on Woody Allen’s “Scoop” and “Farscape”) and Sundance Film Festival actor Meyne Wyatt (from Nicole Kidman’s “Strangerland”). “It’s so important to continue to surround yourself with great people, regardless of whatever level I’m at, because that keeps me grounded and encourages me to keep evolving in my craft.”

In the upcoming film “Reaching Distance,” Giselle will play the key role of Chell. Directed by David Fairhurst, whose film “Guarding Aurora: A Love Story with Ninjas” screened at the world-famous Comic-Con, “Reaching Distance” is another strong line in a long resume of Giselle’s where she contributes to an impressive production in a meaningful way. It’s not a coincidence therefore that Giselle was also the lead in “Guarding Aurora,” and thus built a cult-following from the film’s screening at Comic-Con and a slew of other world famous festivals. “Those types of screenings are very gratifying because you see fans engage with the work immediately. It’s also nice to know that I’ve developed strong relationships with directors, so they keep asking to collaborate.”

David Fairhurst also explains how Giselle keeps a level head during the filming process. “Guarding Aurora was an incredibly chaotic shoot...Giselle took the whole thing in her stride, jumping between fight choreography and emotional dialogue scenes...she held most of the big setpieces on her shoulders.”

Giselle is also a multi-hyphenate, having written, produced and starred in film “The One” with “Deep Water” star Alistair Cooke. Giselle explains that using those skills is a necessary part of being an actor, because it helps create longevity. “Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman - all top actors produce and create their own projects. It gives you greater control over your career trajectory and also means you don’t burn out as an actor-for-hire.”

It’s clear from comments like this that Giselle possesses a strong work ethic, maintaining a physical, emotional and intellectual fitness not unlike a marathon runner. She adds: “filming is sometimes a very quick process, but this industry is also a difficult one that requires tenacity, so it’s important how to keep your pacing in check.”


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