Past to present
Young actress Chantal Leptos credits her past with her grandparents for her present day artistic endeavours
It's important to understand Chantal Leptos' beginnings to understand where she is going. An entertainer from an early age, Chantal remembers dancing under the grapevine at her pappou and yiayia's house while her pappou played the guitar singing along to Greek songs for her. She remembers watching Greek films and television with her yiayia, she remembers their house being filled with Greek music, and the arts. Unbeknownst to her grandparents - Andrea Papaioannou and Kosta Dina Papaioannou - they would instil in this developing child an insatiable desire to follow a career in acting.
Chantal's mother was aware of this 'young entertainer' and placed her in drama school from the age of five and watched her daughter flourish through countless productions and lead roles. Leptos remembers at the age of ten taking the lead role of Poseidon, a male dominated mythological figure that would have her, as a young performer delve into the inner sanctum to bring such performance to life. Chantal stayed in drama school till the age of 18 and then went out into the wide world. Whilst working in her 9-5 job in human resources, something snapped. She resigned and immediately booked a ticket to LA, Hollywood bound. Chantal spent the next three months engrossing herself in her acting career with workshops, classes and worked alongside private acting coaches to hone her craft.
"It was amazing, exhilarating and it confirmed I was in the right place doing what I need to do," explains Chantal of her time in LA, "the chance that I took was the right thing to do."
Chantal threw herself in her acting at this time. With no friends in LA and on a study visa, her only option was to engross herself in her craft. A 21-year-old alone in a big scary city like LA, Chantal learnt a lot about being a thespian, but the time also taught her a lot about her chosen industry and also herself.
"The biggest thing I learnt in LA, the most confronting thing I learnt was that in the entertainment industry everybody around you is quite selfish; it's a very dominating industry and it's lots of hard work and lots of perseverance, but it's a very self-centred industry," she says, but adds that her time in LA allowed her to "gain the motivation and dedication [she needs] to progress as an actor".
Upon returning to Australia, Chantal landed a lead role in a Vietnamese movie as a quadriplegic lady who is a karate expert. The wheelchair bound protagonist would use her upper body strength to continue her martial arts. She's also been given presenting roles as the face of mecho.com.au interviewing people like Bob Marley's family, and to her most recent role as the presenter of a Korean based cooking show, exploring Korean cuisine through the art of food.
But it's the memories of her past, her time with her grandparents that is building a strong desire to work in Greek film. Greek film is something that has influenced this actor from an early age and its a path that she wants to explore through her career.
"It's my grandparents," she says without a shadow of a doubt when asked why she wants to pursue a role in Greek film, "I've grown up listening to Greek radio and music, watching Greek television and film, I've grown up in their home surrounded by the Greek culture and I just want to be part of it wholeheartedly.
"I want to be able to stand up and say 'look what I've done!"
As an artist, Chantal's main focus is on her audience. And in a career that is as cut-throat as the entertainment industry, Chantal says with 100 per cent conviction that she has no interest in working on projects that don't give back to the audience in some way.
"I want to provide them with an escape from reality, some happiness, something to laugh at, and something to cry along with, or to educate them," she says.
But in order to give all to her audience she adds: "You need to find an honest truth about yourself, and you need to be able to mould your work around the truth, you need to be able to live by something in order to progress. "You need to keep yourself grounded and keep your direction very clear."
And her direction is clear. Her future is set for a grounded woman whose experience belies her youthful age; a definite star on the rise thanks to her humble beginnings in her grandparents backyard.
For more information on Chantal Leptos visit www.chantalleptos.com
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